More Bottomless Prosecco at Newcastle’s No28

‘I enjoy a Prosecco. It’s bubbly; it’s fun’ – Danielle Schneider

About 18 months ago one my favourite bars in Newcastle started a Bottomless Prosecco offer and the classy ladies (and gents) of the toon rejoiced! Since then the offer has gone from strength to strength with the bar being jam packed almost every Saturday and Sunday and while other bars have since followed suit with similar offers, No28 remains the original (and the best in my opinion).

When we originally visited back in July 2016 the offer was two hours of free flowing fizz and a choice of thai inspired tapas however since then they have introduced their own in house burger kitchen; Meat: Stack and as such the deal has changed slightly to now involve a burger and beef dripping fries (but still two hours of free flowing fizz – hurrah!)

I was a massive fan of the thai tapas (you can read my original review of that here) because it was the perfect amount of food for a snack to break up a shopping trip so i was initially concerned when I heard they’d swapped that out for burgers which with places like Fat Hippo and Byron right around the corner, there’s a lot of competition. HOWEVER these burgers haven’t been voted the best in Newcastle for nothing. They. Are. Delicious.

 

The menu is small but perfectly formed  meaning you’re not bogged down with loads of choices which are essentially the same thing (I’m looking at you Byron). We went for the West Coast Classic (the original cheeseburger with all the fixings – including their own secret sauce which puts anything Ronald McDonald can produce to shame) with beef dripping fries and our veggie pal had the Southern Fried Paneer and regular fries. In hindsight, these delicious burgers work perfectly with 2 hours of hard drinking and serve as ideal booze soakers – way more than the tapas did.

The ‘rules’ remain unchanged; Due to Newcastle City Council licensing laws the management reserve the right to refuse or withdraw service to anyone they deem too intoxicated, so again as long as you’re not a knob about it, the booze will flow as long as you’re in an appropriate state to accept it.

Bookings are opened up on a 3 month rolling basis and are available on a Saturday and Sunday, however if you’re planning a large party or stag or hen do send them a quick message on Facebook and they’ll probably be able to accommodate! Let’s be honest, you don’t get much for £25 these days and the fizz is as free flowing as you can get – the staff are super attentive and for the whole two hour we were there our glasses were never empty. And everyone know that empty prosecco glasses make the baby Jesus cry.

Contact:

No28, 27-29 Nelson St, Newcastle City Centre, NE1 5AN
Tel: 0191 447 5590
Facebook: www.facebook.com/no28ncl/

 

Holy Crepe! Crepeaffaire is now open in Newcastle!

‘It’s hard to imagine a scenario where someone would say no to pancakes’ – David Levithan

I’m sure there are people in the world who’s only experience of the humble pancake is what they have once a year on shrove Tuesday, or possibly those thick American monstrosities you get in hipster diners, however during my meagre 35 years on this earth I’ve experienced quite a love affair with the Crepe. I grew up in Belgium, meaning Crepes and Pain au Chocolate weren’t just something you had once a year or when you visited Patisserie Valerie. They were something you had every Saturday morning when you went to the local market. So make no mistake, I’ve had some of the best crepes around so when Crepeaffaire invited me and Davy along to their new shop in the swanky Greys Quarter in Eldon Square, you can bet the Mons Monkey I was down to try!

20171118_132536

Crepeaffaire have recently launched their Indulgence menu which means not only can you get the classics like Banana, Nutella and Lemon & Sugar, they’ve upped the ante and added combinations like Banana, Rum & Raisin, Fererro Rocher and Salted Caramel. If all that gooey deliciousness doesn’t float your boat they also do a wide range of savoury crepes which are much more lunchtime appropriate, if I weren’t there purely for the sugar hit I’d be all over the pesto and mozzarella.

Last time we were in Florida we visited Waffle House for breakfast where I had pancakes with chocolate and peanut butter – a perfectly normal choice I thought. However the family at the next table whose waistline and IQ stats where are polar opposite ends of the spectrum loudly expressed their disgust as they tucked into their artery clogging quadruple bacon and maple syrup 15 pancake stack. As such it took the shine off and I didn’t really enjoy my last pancake experience. So with their contempt in mind, and ever the rebel, I confidently ordered the Belgian Chocolate – because revenge is best served 3 years later on a different continent.

Dave, being the healthier and more sensible of the two of us ordered a salmon and cream cheese crepe, which let’s be honest is pretty standard and hard to get horribly wrong. His crepe had the a right balance of both ingredients and a hearty sprinkling of Dill in top for good measure. My Belgian chocolate was exquisite and made with real Belgian chocolate not sugary, watery sauce you get in some places.

20171118_131008

We also had two fruit smoothies each, which were pretty yummy, if a little heavy on juice rather than actual pureed fruit. There were plenty of drink options to choose from though; all hot drinks come with free refills all day every day and you can even get a beer or a glass of prosecco if you fancy (which in itself id pretty fancy!)

We were both pleasantly full after our lunch which isn’t something that can always be said with crepes. I like how they have savoury options which are more healthy than the sweet ones if you don’t want to fill yourself with carb and sugar or want to have a lunch top in between shopping.

Prices start from a fiver and as it’s Crepeaffaire Newcastle’s 1st Birthday week the store will be randomly handing out 10 free crepe vouchers a day to purchasing customers. On 23rd November 2017, all customers purchasing a crepe after 5pm will receive a glass of Prosecco on the house!

Find out more at www.crepeaffaire.com

*we received complimentary food and drink in return for an honest review

Partners in Wine do Karaoke at Cosy Joes

‘I love karaoke and totally hog the mic when I go out and do it with my friends’ – Charli XCX

Being an army brat and travelling around a lot when I was younger means it’s never been particularly difficult for me to make friends and I’m lucky that I’ve picked up friends and kept them from every job I’ve had in my adult life. There’s something intrinsically special though, when you get together with your school friends. They’re the one’s who’ve known you the longest, who talked you out of bright red parachute pants and were the first on the phone when you got dumped by your high school boyfriend over MSN messenger group chat.

DSCN3378

Me and my 3 best friends from school Ang, Janine and Steph don’t see each other nearly as often as we’d like but when we d get together, I think we laugh consistently from start to finish. We were looking for something a little bit different for our most recent catch up and since every time we go on road trips together we end up belting out hits of the 80s in the car. Karaoke seemed the obvious solution!

Other than in a few chinese restauarnts in China Town the place to do karaoke in Newcastle is Cosy Joes slap bang in the middle of the bigg market. Despite what I like to think, Beyonce I ain’t so although you can do old fashioned karaoke in front of a baying crowd of drunk geordies, the safe option (for me and everyone else’s ears) is their private party pods which can be booked from between 4 to 20 people and they are. so. much. fun!

At a weekend it costs you £5 each for your first hour and £2.50 for each subsequent hour; we went for two hours as one didn’t feel like enough to really get warmed up and it was the perfect amount of time. The pods are dimly lit so have a really cool nightclub type vibe which really adds to the night out feel you’re looking for when you’re out with your mates. They have large plasma screens where the words are displayed, a small unit mounted on the wall where you pick your songs, large sofa to relax on while your mates are taking centre stage and two microphones (i’m sure the larger pods probably have more). There’s also a call button on the wall to press and a member of staff will come to your pod to take your drinks order  – that’s service!

The computer you pick your songs from is really easy to use; you can search my artist or song title, or alternatively everything is listed alphabetically if you just want to scroll through and see what takes your fancy. You can play songs immediately or add them to a playlist so can line them up and create your very own setlist. You’ll also be hard pushed to want to sing a song that’s not available, in our two hour wailfest we sang everything from Bowling for Soup, Backstreet Boys and Alanis Morissette to Pantera and Megadeth.

If you were looking to push the boat out a little ore they offer different pre paid packages included drinks, mixers and food if there’s a big gang of you. We absolutely loved our night at Cosy Joes and will definitely be going back to get a fix before Christmas. It’s the perfect way to hang out and be silly with your mates will singing all your favourite songs from your angsty teen years or would be the ideal venue for your work Christmas party!

Contact:

Groat Market, Newcastle Upon Tyne, NE1 1UQ
Tel: info@cosyjoes.co.uk
Web: www.cosyjoes.co.uk

 

Charge! At the Discovery Museum

‘A museum should not just be a place for fancy paintings but should be a place where we can communicate our lives through our everyday objects’ – Orhan Pamuk

If you’d have asked me what my ideal way of spending a Saturday afternoon I’d be talking for a very long time before the word ‘museum’ ever passed my lips. However that’s exactly where I found myself last Saturday as I went along to the first day of the Discovery Museum’s newest permanent exhibition ‘Charge!’*

Of course it’s not probably something I would have ordinarily gone to had it not been the fact that dad works there and had a hand it putting the whole thing together. As such we were treated to a personal tour from the man himself, and whilst I may scoff at how middleclass I’ve sudden become, and I definitely did stress too much over what one wears to a museum on a Saturday afternoon, I ended up having a brilliant time (and I’m not just saying that because my dad will be reading this – I promise!)

I grew up in an Army family, living in Holland and Belgium for the majority of my childhood so I have always been a fan of anything Army related. Charge! Is the Story of England’s Northern Cavalry bringing together collections of The Light Dragoons and the Northumberland Hussars since becoming the Command & Support squadron of the Queen’s Own Yeomanry. Both regiments, which are formally affiliated to each other, are the only cavalry divisions today which exclusively recruit from the North of England.

Rather than following a traditional chronological format the exhibition is laid out in categories instead, which I find much easier to follow as you can see side by side the contrast between traditional and modern incarnations of the regiments. Despite the exhibition room being relatively small, there’s loads to see and read about. I also love how interactive it is (so definitely somewhere you can keep the kids interested for an hour or two). A real highlight for me where genuine copies of letters that had been sent home to family members from World War II (which were also available to listen to audibly).

There’s replicas of some of the regiments uniform to dress up in which displays perfectly the evolution of military fashion (if fashion is the right word!) and examples of different ration packs and that are taken into the field – something which brings back memories for Dave who took many a ration pack with him on his bike trip round the word in 2009 courtesy of the British Army – the fruit biscuits are amazing apparently!

The balance between interest for young and old is just perfect in my opinion, there are games for the children to play throughout, explaining about different animals who were kicking about during that time – the story of Peter the cat is my particular favourite. And ever wondered what a soldier smells like after 2 months in the field? Wonder no more as there are smelling pods which have recreated different scents of battle. Believe me when I say it’s not for the faint hearted – and I’ve smelt the inside of a cricketers dirty kit bag!

If you’re not particularly pushed for time, half an hour in the cinema room would be time well spent which has multiple short films on display featuring real soldiers and their families talking about their experiences – good and bad. Some of the films are difficult to watch but extremely well put together and really brings home what soldiers go through.

20171021_150707

Much as my dad’s my biggest fan, likewise, I’m his and it’s lovely to see him able to work on something he’s so passionate about (he himself was a member of The Queen Own Yeomary before he retired a few years ago) and the team at the Discovery Museum have put on an excellent display.

* Don’t worry, we went to the pub afterwards!

The Split Chimp opens new Rum Bar!

‘Wine is crying juice. Rum is worse’ – Retta

When you think back to about 5 years ago and all the empty units that seemed to be dotted around Newcastle City Centre it would be safe to say that there’s been somewhat of a rebirth pubwise recently. For my personal taste there has been a few too many Harry’s type places springing up but one place I have always rated and has gone from strength to strength over the last 18 months has been the Split Chimp on Westgate Road (next door to the Herb Garden).

20170929_211602

The Chimp micro pub started out life round the other side of the railway arches opposite The Telegraph. They moved round to the lighter side in 2016 to a larger unit all the while keeping their micropub feel and I don’t think there has been a time I’ve walked passed where there hasn’t been a good handful of people inside.

Despite other micropubs starting to pop up, The Split Chimp still remains my favourite with it’s perfect mix of real ale (including their own Clever Chimp – a great session ale) and £15 bottles of prosecco – which is what drew me there in the first place. So the question really is – how do you improve in perfection?

 

You install a rum bar, that’s how! Owner Mark Hall, a former paramedic, decided that there was a market in a city awash with swanky gin bars that he would offer something different for the pirates among us so opened up the Top Chimp. Renovating the upstairs area with a rum bar open on Fridays and Saturdays and adding some comfy sofas and softer lighting for a more cosy atmosphere. Not only do they have a vast selection of rums with names I can’t even pronounce, Mark has painstakingly produced his own Rum Cocktails (rum mixed with flavoured ciders and ales) which are pretty amazing! Needless to say if it’s just Bacardi you’re after you might want to try somewhere else..

It’s so lovely being able to see your favourite pub go from strength to strength without having to adopt any fancy marketing plans or corporate brewery chain input creating an oasis in a city jam packed with pretentious ginnery’s (is that a word – it is now!). I love the big leather arms chairs that have replaced the skittle alley and wooden benches, especially with the darker nights drawing in, even more reason to snuggle in for an evening with friends. If only I can now convince Mark to open on Sundays…

Contact:

Address: Arch 7, Westgate Road, Newcastle upon Tyne NE1 1SA
Website: http://www.splitchimp.pub
Twitter: @SplitChimp
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/splitchimp
Instagram: @thesplitchimp

Benton

Did you know that there used to me a red line on the metro? Well there was, and Benton was the original terminal on it. Now it just acts as one of those annoying stations that despite being names after a place, is nowhere near anywhere you’d need to visit within the locality.

20170430_164959

If you leave the station coming from the coast and turn right down Station Approach and then on to Station Road, turn right again when you hit Whitley Road (which becomes Front Street) and you’ll find The Ship Inn about 5 minutes away.

We visited t around 4pm on a bank holiday Sunday and it was pleasantly busy without being overcrowded. They get excellent reviews for their Sunday Lunches and although we weren’t eating, they certainly seemed to be a lot of satisfied tummies around, the portions looked good and the prices were reasonable.

It’s a large building with a bar to the left as you walk through the main doors and a lounge to the right with a bar that snakes through the both rooms. It has traditional pub decor, which I keep on hearing is in decline in the north east now however I feel I type the phrase ‘traditional pub decor’ on a weekly basis in this guide.

There were a couple of ales on offer in the shape of Bishops Finger (at only £2.20 a pint – which feels like a steal these days) and a glass of my usual (a medium sauvignon blanc) was served just how I like it (ice cold in a large glass). And the staff were particularly good and patient when we all argued for about 10 minutes over which flavour of crisps we wanted.

Despite the presence of TVs showing sport and a couple of bandits (I know, I know, give the public what they want) they were also advertising live music, which I am a huge fan of so would definitely something worth checking out in the future.

I don’t think the Shipp Inn is going to blow anyone’s socks off however it would be a more than decent local if it was walking distance from where you live.

Contact:

Front Street, BentonNewcastle upon Tyne NE12 8AE
Tel: 191 270 9699
Find out where else we’ve been on our metro adventure here

Wansbeck Road

Wansbeck Road is a primarily residential station found between the more built up areas of Gosforth and Kingston Park. This section of the metro line once formed the Ponteland Railway where Wansbeck Road could be found between Coxlodge and West Gosforth stations. If you exit the metro station south onto Wansbeck Road (towards Asda) then turn right onto Jubilee Road you’ll see local pub The Jubilee straight in front of you.

20170422_141700

The Jubilee looks modern, inviting and friendly from the outside, which is understandable since it only just reopened at the end of April 2017 after it was completely ravished from the inside out by an arson attack.  The bar was over 50% smoke damaged and as such had remained closed for the best part of 4 months.

Of course, having never visited it’s previous incarnation, we have nothing to base our review on however, no matter how pleased I am that The Jubilee has been able to rebuild itself (literally) from the ashes after such a horrible attack, the Jubilee, for me, was all just a little bit blah.

 

 

Being in such a residential area it relies heavily on business of locals and families of which there were lots when we arrived mid afternoon on a Saturday. To the right of the bar is a large lounge area which seemed to be mostly people having meals and to the left a more traditional bar area with two large pool tables.

We sat in the middle section opposite the bar which is flanked by large TV screens on either side of the room showing sky sports news, so seemingly no matter where you sit, you’re in someone’s eyeline for a TV.  As if that wasn’t enough there were also TVs above the bar showing horse racing and gymnastics – perfect if you want to go and completely ignore your drinking partner.

Drinks wise  there’s plenty to choose from, they do a small but concise cocktail list which is extremely well priced at £3.50 and have their own ale, which Dave tried and was pretty positive about. My wine ( a medium glass of Sauvignon Blanc – or ‘The Helen’ as it’s known locally) was ok, on the warm side if i were to be super picky. All in all it was all just ok. The beer was ok, the wine was ok, the ambiance was ok.

20170422_143506

Still, any pub is better than no pub at all and there’s no doubt in my mind that if the Jubilee were our local pub we’re probably be there every Friday night (like we are the Twin Farms). However unless you’re going for a good old plate of pub grub with your brood, it’s not the greatest session pub sadly.

Contact details:

Address: Jubilee Rd, Gosforth, Newcastle upon Tyne NE3 3PN
Phone: 0191 285 1143
Website: jubileegosforth.co.uk

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