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

Chillingham Road

Chillingham Road Metro Station was opened in 1982 and orginally called Parsons due it it’s closeness to Parsons engineering works. It’s also very close to Brough Park Greyhound racing stadium and Newcastle Diamonds Speedway.

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If you exit the station from Platform 1 and head straight ahead you’ll see a bridge to the right. Across the Bridge and on the other side of the road you’ll see the The Chillingham; which, if you’ever been a student in the city, you’ll be very, very familiar with!

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Yet another Sir John Fitzgerald pub, who are proving to have quite a presence on our guide so far, The Chillingham has undergone a massive refurb in recent years and for what was always classed as a student pub, it’s pretty swanky inside now. As you walk in you can either turn left or right into two large lounge areas; both of which have massively stocked bars. It was lunchtime on a Saturday for us, and a tad early to be going straight on the wine so I went for a Peach Tinnermans which was absolutely lovely. There were also lots of local ales on the handpulls and your standard lager options.

 

The decor is what you’d come to expect from a newly decked out SJF pub, lots of dark wood and tartan and whereas they do have quite a few TVs with sport being shown, it’s large enough that you’d be able to find a quiet corner away from the TVs if you wanted to.

 

The biggest draw for us when we visited was the small but perfectly formed beer garden out the back – it’s rare the big yellow ball in the sky makes an appearance in the north east so we had to make the most of it. Whilst the view of the traffic on Chillingham Road isn’t the most picturesque; the atmosphere when there’s big groups of you outside enjoying the weekend is infectious – it’s also airy enough that if people are smoking around you, it doesn’t really bother you too much.

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I could definitely see The Chillingham as a session pub, particularly with the reviews I’ve seen about the extensive food menu; which SJF pubs always have a good reputation for. Plus students always make for a good vibe!

Contact:

Address: 89 Chillingham Road, Newcastle upon Tyne NE6 5XL
Tel: 01912653992
Website: http://sjf.co.uk/our-pubs/the-chillingham/

See where else we’ve been on our Wine & Beer Metro tour here

 

Ilford Road

Ilford Road is the 3rd station location in the Jesmond area of Newcastle and is served by both yellow and green lines. It’s predominantly residential and has relatively low passenger numbers compared to South Gosforth and West Jesmond which it’s sandwiched between.  It is however, handily located for the top end of Jesmond Dene but as such pub choices are poor.

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In fact, the only place to get a drink that’s remotely within walking distance is Jesmond Dene House. So Jesmond Dene House is where we went.  If you exit platform 1 and walk 350m to the road bridge then turn left and cross the tracks, you’ll be on Albury Road. Turn right here and walk down to Moorfield, which merges onto Jesmond Dene Road as you walk left. Stay on this road for 5 minutes and you’ll see a sign for Jesmond Dene House in a hedgerow. Follow that side street for a couple of minutes and the hotel will appear o your left.

JDH is a grade II listed building which was built in 1822 by John Dobson for Thomas Emerson Headlam who was a physician and Mayor of Newcastle between 1837 and 1845. In the past the building has been used as a college, a civil defence establishment, a seminary and a residential school, before it was fully restored in 2005 and becoming a 40 bedroom boutique, super swanky hotel to the rich and famous.

And rich and famous is what you need to be if you’re stopping by for a drink, well, certainly rich anyway. It is an absolutely beautiful building and the hotel bar, which you’re able to just walk into without being a hotel guest or dining in the restaurant is located immediately on the right as you walk past reception.

It’s small and intimate with low comfy seating and low lighting. It does however very much feel like a hotel bar and the clientele will undoubtedly be guests rather than walk ins like we were. The staff were great, you do feel very looked after despite not being a resident as it offers table service and your drinks are immediately placed on a tab for you (dangerous if you don’t look at the price list).  They also allowed you to sample different wines if you wanted (i didn’t – never found a bottle i didn’t like fnar, fnar) but i noticed others were, and they were generous with their samples, which is a good touch.

So our experience was overall positive and certainly felt a shift in quality and glamour compared to all the other pubs we’ve visited on our travels so far. However it was £12.49 for a bottle or corona and a small glass of wine, so not exactly a session bar. All that being said, for a treat, it was lovely and the chilled out relaxed atmosphere made me wish we were staying over because I could have sat there all night people watching and chatting with other guests.

Contact details:

Address: Jesmond Dene Rd, Newcastle upon Tyne NE2 2EY
Phone: 0191 212 3000

 

Byker

Travelling to Byker is a surprisingly pleasant journey if you’re coming from the centre of town as your travel past Ouseburn and over the Byker Viaduct which offers really pretty views of the Tyne and bridges.

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As you arrive at the station and exit through the main doors turn left towards Shields Road and you’ll see the pub that’s geographically the closest pub to the station which is The Raby.

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For reasons unknown to me, as we didn’t go in, but various people warned us off going there, so we turn left onto Shields Road and walked 5 minutes to The High Main, which is a rather large, bright and airy Wetherspoons pub.

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It’s a long thin pub with the bar on the right and, well if you’ve been in one Wetherspoons you’ve been in the all so you know the drill. They had a lot of ales on offer when we visited; not just your standard offering of Shipyard or Blonde Star that you often find in the North East, Dave had a pint of the Mosaic which was recommended by a woman at the bar and thought it was the best pint he’d had in a while. Me and Ruth were starting of gently with a half of cider which cost a mere pound – and there’s not much you can get for a pound these days!

Love them or hate them you can’t deny that Wetherspoons have a good knack of picking interesting buildings for their pubs and The High Main is no exception. It’s a very spacious with high ceilings and loads of natural light and the arches over the bar – apparently the building used to be an old Woolworths store so guessing the steel arches were once a warehouse or stockroom type affair.

The massive floor to ceiling windows were welcome when we visited as it was a glorious sunny Saturday, I only wish I’d noticed the beer garden at the back sooner – you have to make the post of any outside space in the North East whenever you can!

There are a couple of other pubs in the vicinity of Byker metro as well at The Raby; The Heaton Hotel and The Butchers are also along Shields Road should you fancy your own little Byker pub crawl however can’t comment on their facilities or indeed suitability!

Contact:

Address: 63 Shields Rd, Newcastle upon Tyne NE6 1DL

Phone: 0191 228 4900

Website: https://www.jdwetherspoon.com/pubs/all-pubs/england/tyne-and-wear/the-high-main-newcastle-upon-tyne

You can see where else we’ve been on our metro adventure here

 

Fawdon

Fawdon station opened in 1981 and is one of the many residential stations on the network work servicing the Redhouse Farm/Fawdon/Coxlodge area of Newcastle. Platform 1 was once called Coxlodge station, which was in use between 1905 and 1929 as part of the Ponteland Railway.

If you exit the station and walk down Fawdon Lane towards the Redhouse Farm housing estate for about 10 minutes you’ll eventually stumble across the Northumbrian Piper. I say stumble across, you have to know it’s there to find it. It calls it’s self ‘Gosforth’s hidden gem’ and it certainly is pretty well hidden in this leafy suburb about 3 miles outside of the city centre.

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We visited on a wet, grey miserable Saturday afternoon (perfect pub visiting weather in my opinion) and it was pretty quiet inside. That didn’t mean we didn’t receive a warm welcome though. The sizable pub is split into two areas, the bar and the restaurant. The bar is worn and traditional with dark wood and fraying upholstery but is not without a certain charm. The ale selection was poor sadly with only craft ale Shipyard on offer along with the standard ‘extra cold’ lagers. The do change their ales regularly though I’m reliably informed! The house wine (pinot grigio) however was ice cold (how I prefer it) and served in nice big glasses (also how I like it).

It was a big sport day when we visited; there were 2 rugby matches and Newcastle playing Wolves away, all of which were being shown on the large TVs that were dotted around the bar and despite me usually having big reservations about pubs showing sport all day, it actually gave the bar some atmosphere on this occasion. I think it would have been too quiet otherwise so I’ll let them off this once.

I’d say we probably picked the wrong time to visit and I think it has potential in abundance. The guy behind the bar (landlord perhaps?) seemed like a lovely chap and almost offered my mum a job when she started collecting the empty glasses and taking them back to the bar as we left. I never underestimate the importance of great banter in a pub! Had it been walking distance to her house I think she may have taken him up on the offer!

The restaurant side seems a little more polished and offer a wide menu of reasonably priced pub favourites and have a large car park, lots of outside seating and a kids playground so no doubt is a firm family favourite when the weather gets a bit nicer.

Contact:
Fawdon House,1 Fawdon Close
Newcastle Upon Tyne
Tyne and Wear NE3 2AH

Tel: 0191 2856793
Facebook: Northumbrian Piper
Twitter: @NorthumbPiper

See where else we’ve visited on out little metro adventure here

 

Central Station

Central Station is one of the more unique station on our guide and by that I mean that it is a perfect example of what the guide stands for, it has a pub practically inside the metro station. The station has entrances both inside and outside the station so it’s easily accessible to people transferring from National Rail services or people who are using the metro to get to where they need to be. Interestingly it’s the least busy of the city centre stations but is the third busiest of the network overall.

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Ok so Centurian isn’t inside the metro station, but it is inside the train station, which the metro station is also inside of, make sense? To access the pub you can either turn left and exit via Neville Street and the exterior door will be immediately on the right, or continue up the second set of escalators  into the train station and the interior entrance will be immediately on the left (a handy option if it’s raining or you need to use a cash machine!)

The building is absolutely stunning. It was built in 1893 when it was used as the first class lounge for the train station. It’s tiles are estimated to be worth a cool £3mil and is the only Grade 1 listed building on the tour so far.

You’ll see the bar either on the left or the right depending on which entrance you use and it’s a chameleon kind of pub that has varying degrees of business depending on what’s going on. At 10pm on a Friday nights it’s a swanky ‘night out’ bar with blaring pop music and bouncers on the door. On a match day Saturday afternoon the giant projector screen comes down and you’re shoulder to shoulder with the black & white army. Call in on a Thursday evening and it’s a calm, low key, dimly lit snug of a place which is perfect for catching up with friends, or a cheeky one while you wait for your train. They also serve food, and their Sunday lunches are pretty good from what I hear, which again is handy if you have a train to catch and some time to kill.

I had it in my mind that they used to have a departures board on one of the screens, which i couldn’t see when we visited on a Saturday night in January. If they’ve done away with that it’s a real shame. Personally when we visited I could have done without the Smash Hits TV on the plasma screens; just playing music would have done, it’s distracting when you’re trying to enjoy a glass of wine with Little Mix gyrating in leotards all over the place.

Booze wise it’s your standard fayre and they didn’t have anything that blew our socks off, wine was fine, beer was fine, selections of ales, whiskey and gin were all fine. But it’s only fine, not outstanding. A round of a pint and a glass of grape juice was about £8.

I just think it tries to be all things to all people and it’s pot luck as to whether it will be the type of bar you prefer when you happen to visit. With The Head of Steam and Union Rooms across the road and the Split Chimp micro brewery round the corner to the right, they have a lot of competition.

You can see some of the other pubs we’ve visited on our adventure here

Jesmond

Jesmond station as we know it now has, believe it or not, been knocking around since 1864 as part of the Blyth and Tyne railway which rain from New Bridge Street in Newcastle to to Blyth in Northumberland. That ceased operation in 1978 but the station remained and two years later was used by the newly created Tyne & Wear Metro system.

Come out of the stations main doors and down the stairs through the underpass on the left and the first pub you come to will be The Carriage. This has been the 10th pub we’ve visited on our tour and (so far) has been my favourite. Since Jesmond station was once such an integral part of North Eastern railway history, what better way to utilise the old station house by turning it into a pub?

We visited at tea time on a Saturday night in January where it was on a the quiet side however the many ales on offer, the large glass of wine for the price of a small and the roaring open fire was more than was needed to make us feel at home. It’s a shame really that we had dinner reservations that nigh because i would have happily tucked my feet under myself and settled down for the night, and with Tom Petty, Bruce Springsteen and New Order pumping gently through the sound systems, well all the needed to do was serve some marmite and cheese toasties and i’d have moved in there and then!

Walk in the main doors and the bar is directly in front of you with different rooms offshooting in either direction. It’s extremely old fashioned in it’s decor (or ‘vintage’ as i would call it’) and some of the tables and the upholstery on some of the chains could do with an upgrade, however it’s not messy or dirty and I’m sure there’s next hipster pubs less than a mile away that pay a fortune for that kind of nouveau traditional vibe. Some of the old station paraphernalia like the original ticket booth are quirky touches that gives it even more atmosphere.

While there were bandits and TVs present (grumble, grumble) the bandit wasn’t in the main bar, it was in a corridor on the way to the loo, and the TV was switched off so I was a happy bunny. Useful to know though that they quite possibly do have sport on show on a weekend.

Drinks wise they have loads of local ales on offer, as well as your standard wines of all three colours (prosecco was absent from what I could see but it’s not really that sort of pub), a generous whiskey collection and (randomly) offers on Jaeger Bombs, so quite literally, something to cater for all tastes.

It’s easy to walk past this place, which lets me honest isn’t much to look at from the outside and head for the more all singing, all dancing, polished, sparkly As You Like it further down the road, but since they tried to pass off 5.5% wine as the ‘house white’ I’ve gone right off them. The Carriage is the perfect session pub and if marmite and cheese toasties suddenly appear on their menu you have me to thank!

Find out more about our pub adventures here