Four Lane Ends

Back when we lived in Cramlington, Four Lane Ends was the closest metro to us, so anytime I didn’t feel like sitting on the Arriva 42 bus which seemed to go via Berwick to get into the centre of Newcastle, we would drive down to ride the rail. Like Haymarket and it’s one of the few stations on the network which has been granted ‘interchange’ status, which, from what i can tell basically means there’s also a newsagent and a bus station there.

 

An interchange that boasts almost 900,000 passengers flowing through the vacinity annually you expect there to be a pretty decent watering hole for at least half of those people right? Right!

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If you exit the interchange via the main doors and round the corner onto Front Street, in a couple of seconds you’ll stumble across The Benton Ale House. Now, with a names like that you’d probably be expecting a swanky pretentious hipster Brewdog knock off where you can play a game of ‘spot the man bun’ however, thankfully, the Benton Ale House is none of those things. It’s seemingly naming itself an ale house in the truest sense, a good old fashioned pub that does real ale (and a glass of wine for the ladies) at reasonable prices.

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The one thing that struck me most, was how massive it is inside compared to the size of the bar, which seems to sit slap bang in the middle of the pub with different sections circulating around it; a bar to the left, a lounge to the right, and a larger lounge round the back. There was live music on when we called in around tea time on a Sunday; a really good Beatles acoustic band incidentally, which only added to the atmosphere as from memory, it’s the only pub on the WAB Tour that’s had live music on. And I love a bit of live music.

 

They had a decent selection of real ales and lagers on tap (well, they are an ale house after all) and any regular reader will know that when it comes to my wine, i like it large and cold, of which this was both; i also quite like it when i get a choice of grape too, however I’ve never yet met a glass I didn’t like so this is less important. And for two pints, a large glass of wine and a lime & soda it was under a tenner.

On first glance I found the Benton Ale House a little intimidating; it looked from the outside a little too local for me, kind of ‘the juke box will stop playing as you walk in’ kind of local however, it’s proof you should ever judge a pub by it’s facade. I could have happily stayed all evening listening to the music and discussing the best Beatles song ever*

Contact:

Benton House Front Street, Newcastle upon Tyne NE7 7XE, 
*It’s She’s Leaving Home in case you were wondering
Find out where else we’ve been on our metro pub adventure here

South Hylton

I’m not shy about admitting that anything south of Central Station if pretty much uncharted territory for the Newman clam and South Hylton is pretty much as far down the line as you can get. Still, at least it’s still on the airport line, which is direct from our dwelling in Bank Foot, so thank heavens for small mercies.

South Hylton station opened as part of the Sunderland extension in 2002. It is quite literally the end of the line and *fact fans* boasts the longest platform on the whole network (at 122m long). If you exit on the right, as, lets be honest you’re not going to be coming form the other direction are you? and turn right you’ll see the Jolly Potter on your right.

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It’s a reasonably sized pub which looks inviting enough from the outside, it was reasonably quiet when we visited with friends on a sunny Saturday afternoon however still got a warm welcome and took a seat in the spacious lounge near the pool table. Their website boasts that they were awarded CAMRA Potteries Pub of the Month in May 2016 however sadly, a member of our party was right when they said that they feared this end of the track would be a real ale desert, as the only beer available when we visited was Fosters or Carling.

That said the beer was cheap (£6 for 4 halfs) and the music on the juke box was good so not really a great deal to complain about. It’s not the the kind of place that will blow your socks off but how can you not view fondly a place where ‘Annie’s Jugs’ are only a tenner and you can get a ‘PRONstar Martini’?!

Contact:

Address:  Railway Terrace, City of Sunderland
Tel: 0191 534 4867
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/thejollypotter

Find out where else we’ve been on our metro adventure here

Pick of the Year: 2002

2002

Dad’s ‘Pick of the Year’ tapes were always a firm family favourite where he would make a compilation cassette of his favourite songs form that year. He stopped in 1992 however, when music got a bit too modern for him. It’s something over the years I’ve tried to carry on, and did for a while but, no one listens to CDs anymore and they don’t have the same impact as mp3 playlists. I’ve often thought about restarting it all from 1982 on my blog though just so I have somewhere to put them all for prosperity sake.

The first rule of POTY is DON’T TALK ABOUT PICK OF THE YEAR, sorry, that’s the illegal underground fight club i’m part of.

The first rule of POTY is that you can only pick songs that charted in the top 75 in the UK. The second rule of POTY is that you can only pick enough songs that would fit onto an old C120 cassette (between 30-40 tracks). The final rule, one which I’ve imposed myself, is that you must include that year’s Christmas number 1 (highlighted in green)

  1. P Diddy feat. Usher – I Need A Girl
  2. Big Brovaz – Nu Flow
  3. Oakenfold – Starry Eyed Surprise
  4. Oasis – Little By Little
  5. Justin Timberlake – Like I Love You
  6. Madonna – Die Another Day
  7. A1 – Caught in the Middle
  8. Nelly – Hot in Herre
  9. Oasis – Stop Crying Your Heart Out
  10. N Sync – Girlfriend
  11. Kylie Minogue – In Your Eyes
  12. Shakira – Whenever, Wherever
  13. Beverly Knight – Shoulda Woulda Coulda
  14. Matchbox 20 – Disease
  15. Westlife – World of Our Own
  16. Appleton – Fantasy
  17. Nickelback – How You Remind Me
  18. Will Smith – Black Suits Comin
  19. Ashanti – Foolish
  20. Avril Lavigne – Complicated
  21. Bowling for Soup – Girl All the Bad Guys Want
  22. Coldplay – The Scientist
  23. Pink – Just Like a Pill
  24. No Doubt – Hey Baby
  25. The Calling – Wherever You Will Go
  26. Eminem – Lose Yourself
  27. Shakira – Underneath Your Clothes
  28. DB Boulevard – Point of View
  29. Darren Hayes – Insatiable
  30. Girls Aloud – Sound of the Underground
  31. Amy Studt – Just A Little Girl
  32. Liberty X – Just A Little
  33. Missy Elliott – 4 My People
  34. Codplay – In My Place
  35. Christina Aguilera – Dirrty
  36. Britney Spears – Overprotected
  37. Bachelor Girl – I’m Just A Girl
  38. Pink – Get The Party Started
  39. Alanis Morissette – Hands Clean
  40. Eminem – Without Me

Shiremoor

Shiremoor is one of the oldest station on the network having opened in 1980. It holds a special place in my family’s heart, partly because we had our car broken into in the car park in the 1980s and had our game boys and a case of Grolsch stolen out the back but mostly because it serves Shiremoor which is where my Grandma lived and close to where my Auntie Jan, Uncle Dale and cousins Ami and Alex lived. As such we would be round that way almost every Sunday.

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Coming from South Gosforth you exit the platform and turn left. Walk 5 minutes down that road and you’ll come to the Grey Horse, a large traditional white building on the opposite side of the road.

I knew instantly from the ‘live sport, pool and darts’ sign on the outside that this wouldn’t be chick pub, nor would you expect it to be in the suburbs of working class Shiremoor. We were greeted with a warm welcome though and I was really impressed to see a book swap library as soon as we walked in; the first I’ve seen on the tour so far and it instantly gave the pub a  homely, welcoming feel. Same goes for the ‘bar snacks’ incidentally.

 

As you walk in the bar is directly in front of you with the main lounge to the right and a smaller seating area to the left, both housing the ever present plasma TVs and bandit machines that seem par for the course in local north east pubs. The tartan carpet and the lightly painted wood however does give the impression that someone’s given the pub a little TLC and that’s gone someway to restoring it to it’s former glory.

 

Booze wise it was slim pickens. The only thing resembling ale on draft was John Smiths and my glass of white wine was a few degrees off chilled and extremely sweet, which is a shame as while it’s certainly a local pub for local people, it’s not actually a bad pub to spend a few hours in.

Contact details:

Address: Bertran Place, Shiremoor, Newcastle upon Tyne NE27 0HL
See where else we’ve been on our metro pub adventure here

Regent Centre

When you live out in Bank Foot there’s nothing more frustrating than getting to a metro station and seeing the fatal words ‘next train terminates at Regent Centre’ ugh, so close yet so far. However more than once have we hopped on the train anyway and paid a visit to some of the great pubs that Gosforth High Street has to offer.

Despite Regent Centre interchange mainly servicing the small business park there, if you come out the metro station and turn right, you’ll find the first pub about 5 minutes down the road; The Gosforth Hotel.

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We visited on a rain soaked Saturday afternoon (is there any other kind in Newcastle) and due to it being a massive sports day; 2 rugby matches and a Newcastle game, it was absolutely heaving. It’s what my dad describes as a ‘proper Newcastle boozer’ and I think that sums it up perfectly. Yes it was packed to the rafters with rugby fans, but you’re in Newcastle remember and the atmosphere was brilliant.

There are actually two bars. The main bar straight ahead of you as you walk in an a kind of ‘overflow bar’ out the back, which I presume they only open when they have enough staff as it was shut when we went, despite it being so busy the windows had steamed up. Lovely.

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Down the the drinks. They always have an excellent selection of ales on, which changes regularly and there’s always a local brewery on offer such as Wylam or Mordue. The wine isnt going to win them any DWWA awards but it’s cold and less than a tenner a bottle. The decor is worn and traditional with dark wood and high tables with stools. There are a few lower tables and chairs round to the right as you walk in and more out the back if the second bar is open. They also serve basic pub grub daily and pretty reasonable prices.

It’s the kind of pub you can visit at 9pm on a saturday night or 3pm on a Tuesday afternoon and there will always be a nice atmosphere and there will always be someone in. I know, I know I always say I hate pubs that show non stop sport but hey, I’m a woman, I’m an enigma and I have exceptions to the rules. When you walk into a pub at 3pm on a Saturday afternoon and everyone is enjoying the beer, the sport and the banter, it’s impossible not to get swept away with the atmosphere.

The Gosforth Hotel is our favourite ‘start and end’ pub as we walk from and to the metro station for a night out on Gosforth High Street. Other pubs worth checking out along that Street is the Brandling, The Job Bullman (which is a Wetherspoons, but a good Wetherspoons) and The County down the far end.

Contact:

High Street, Newcastle upon Tyne NE3 1HQ
Tel: 0191 285 6617
Website: http://www.greatukpubs.co.uk/gosforthhotelnewcastle

You can find out where else we’ve been on our adventure here

Gateshead Stadium

The only time I’ve ever been to Gateshead Stadium metro is the twice I’ve seen Bon Jovi there (don’t judge, it was the 90’s) and since the Stadium of Light down the road in Sunderland started hosting big shows, Gateshead has been demoted to the red headed step child of concert venues in the north east these days.

There’s no pub in sight immediately as you step off the metro, it’s all very residential and ‘urban’ (read into that what you will) however if you’re willing to put in the leg work, there is a really, really good pub about 15/20 minutes away from the station. Don’t let google maps fool you either, it will tell you the Schooner is only 0.5miles away from the metro, it’s not. Instead of type out all the route details below, here’s a screen shot of what I sent to Janine and Ang, who were meeting Steph and I there after work one Friday night (‘blur’ is supposed to say ‘blue’ attention to detail isn’t my strongest skill especially when I have a glass of wine in front of me)

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Once you eventually arrive at the Schooner you’ll be met with a warm welcome. It’s not often that pubs manage to get the balance right by being able to be an all things to all people kind of place but the Schooner ticks all the boxes for me. We were only there for drinks (two large glasses of wine was about £6 ish, which is reasonable, tick one!) They have a good food menu which is prominently mexican food, which happens to be my favourite cuisine (tick two) and there are no visible TVs showing sports or bandit machines (ticks three and four).

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All joking aside before we walked in i was worried it would be a local pub for local people and the music would stop as we swung the saloon doors open. That wasn’t the case at all though, there was a great ‘friday after work’ kind of atmosphere and there was a great mix of locals, friends having drinks  and couples enjoying some food.

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The bar is well decorated with quirky pop art adorning the walls but manages not to fall into annoying hispter joint territory, it still feels very much like a local boozer. They have a great selection of local beers and a bottle of house white is only £11. They have an amazing jukebox selection and local bands play there regularly which i’m sure creates a fantastic atmosphere.

If you really don’t fancy the walk back up to Gateshead Stadium metro (no matter how spectacular the views of Asda and McDonalds are) and have some time on your hands it’s located right on the riverside and if you continue along the path for about 20 minutes you’ll end up back at the Millennium Bridge in Newcastle. That said, if you do make the walk, it’s totally worth it!

Contact:

South Shore Road Gateshead NE8 3AF
Tel: 0191 477 7404
Website: http://theschooner.co.uk/

If you want to find out about more of the pubs we’ve visited on our travels you can do so here

Pick of the Year: 1999

‘They say two thousand zero zero party over, Oops out of time, So tonight I’m gonna party like it’s 1999’ – Prince

1999

Dad’s ‘Pick of the Year’ tapes were always a firm family favourite where he would make a compilation cassette of his favourite songs form that year. He stopped in 1992 however, when music got a bit too modern for him. It’s something over the years I’ve tried to carry on, and did for a while but, no one listens to CDs anymore and they don’t have the same impact as mp3 playlists. I’ve often thought about restarting it all from 1982 on my blog though just so I have somewhere to put them all for prosperity sake.

The first rule of POTY is DON’T TALK ABOUT PICK OF THE YEAR, sorry, that’s the illegal underground fight club i’m part of.

The first rule of POTY is that you can only pick songs that charted in the top 75 in the UK. The second rule of POTY is that you can only pick enough songs that would fit onto an old C120 cassette (between 30-40 tracks). The final rule, one which I’ve imposed myself, is that you must include that year’s Christmas number 1 (highlighted in green)

  1. Fatboy Slim – Right Here Right Now
  2. Jordan Knight – Give it to You
  3. TLC – No Scrubs
  4. Vengaboys – We Like to Party
  5. Ricky Martin – Livin La Vida Loca
  6. Lou Bega – Mambo No. 5
  7. Enrique Eglesias – Bailamos
  8. Backstreet Boys – Larger than Life
  9. S Club 7 – S Club Party
  10. Will Smith – Wild, Wild, West
  11. Terrorvision – Tequila
  12. Madonna – Beautiful Stranger
  13. B*Witched – Blame it on the Weatherman
  14. Wandue Project – King of My Castle
  15. Robbie Williams – Strong
  16. Baz Luhrman – Everybody’s Free (to wear sunscreen)
  17. 5ive – Keep on Movin
  18. Geri Halliwell – Mi Chico Latino
  19. Cardigans – Erase/Rewind
  20. Moloko – Sing it Back
  21. ATB – 9pm (til i come)
  22. Eiffel 65 – Blue
  23. Bran Van 3000 – Drinking in LA
  24. Ann Lee – 2 Times
  25. Will Smith – Will2K
  26. Jennifer Lopez – If You Had My Love
  27. Eminem – My Name Is
  28. Semisonic – Secret Smile
  29. A+ – Enjoy Yourself
  30. Fierce – Dayz Like That
  31. Britney Spears – Baby One More Time
  32. Christina Aguilera – Genie in a Bottle
  33. Shaft – Mucho Mambo
  34. Beverley Knight – Greatest Day
  35. 5ive – If Ya Gettin Down
  36. Britney Spears – (You Drive Me) Crazy
  37. Sixpence None the Richer – Kiss Me
  38. New Radicals – You Get What You Give
  39. Backstreet Boys – I Want It That Way
  40. Westlife – I Have a Dream/Seasons in the Sun
  41. Bloodhound Gang – The Bad Touch
  42. Len – Steal My Sunshine
  43. Dr Dre – Still DRE
  44. REM – The Great Beyond