My Year on the Metro: A Review

Since starting the blog I’ve always been looking for new and interesting things to write about. A lot of the local stuff I’ve done like the Newcastle upon Tyne walking tour and Ouseburn pub crawl have both done consistently well and I enjoy creating content that people find useful.

Back in 2013 someone actually started a metro pub guide called the Tyne and Beer Metro and started off visiting pubs along the top end of the airport line. They hadn’t updated in almost 3 years by the time I got round to thinking it would be something that the people of the north east could really use and enjoy so I contacted them asking if they would mind me taking over the baton.


No one ever responded and in fact the original site doesn’t exist anymore so whilst I never claimed it was my original idea, it was something I was keen to see through to the end and do something that hadn’t been done before.

We live a stone’s throw from Bank Foot metro and are in and out of Newcastle city centre almost on a weekly basis so airport to central station was relatively easy. It was going further afield that was going to be more challenging. However were lucky to have friends who live out at the coast and down Sunderland way who we roped in to help us out. Funnily enough suggesting a pub crawl on a random Saturday afternoon didn’t usually leave us without any willing volunteers of help.


We did our research when and where we could and we tried to visit multiple pubs in one day get best use out of it metro tickets (the most pubs we visited in one day was 9 – fact fans!) And usually limited ourselves to a half in each place. The metro app also came in handy to avoid waiting round on platforms too long.

So how did I find the whole experience? I learnt a lot. I now know all about the Branding Railway, which is what most of the network is built upon. I know what an island platform is and which stations have them. The date 11 August 1980 will be forever etched on my brain as the day the metro started operating. And I learnt that on a whole, the people of the north east are a warm and friendly bunch.


It was never my intention to be overly critical of anywhere we visited. That’s not really the point of the guide, the idea was and will always be to say factually and geographically which pubs are closest to which stations and what type of pub you’re likely to find. I made clear which pubs I loved and which ones I’d not be too jazzed about being in at 10pm on a Saturday night but I can honestly say, hand on heart that I never felt unsafe or unwelcome in any of the 60 pubs we visited.


Publishing week after week has also been an eye opening experience especially half way through when metro themselves got involved and stared sharing my posts. When you have a post reach of over 10k on a weekly basis it’s inevitable that you get a bit if backlash and the critics didn’t hold back whether it was my opinion of a pub, my spelling and grammar or what top I was wearing that day. The trolls really came our from under their bridges when the Chronicle published an article about what we’d done and everyone seemed to have something to say from how long it took to why we went to the Victory instead of The Brandling Villa in South Gosforth.

I’ll be honest I stopped reading the comments pretty quickly. The urge to defend myself was too strong and got tired of reiterating that I also have a full time job and Dave is allergic to dogs (the answers to the two hot topics of criticism). I was never trying to break (or set) any world records, so if there’s anyone who thinks they can do it quicker, or make a more thorough job, they have my full support, this is my story, my journey, my guide.

It’s been a great experience getting out and about and seeing places in the region that we would never normally visit and having the support of such a north eastern institution like the metro has been fantastic. On 28th December 2017, just over a year after we started, we visited our final pub in Hebburn, pub 60 of 60 with the same friends we visited our first pub in South Gosforth with.


So huge thanks to everyone who came along and helped us out:


To everyone online who have shared with us us their suggestions on where to go. And to the Tyne and Wear Metro and Newcastle Chronicle for their support!

Everyone also keeps on asking what’s next and whilst I’m proud that we achieved what we set out to, i’m also quite pleased to see the back of it to be honest, I can do without the constant criticism and nit picking that comes from publishing something that turns out to be quite successful.

I’m looking forward to getting back to the day job, writing articles no one reads about the Backstreet Boys and how much I hate my hair. And my liver is off for a well deserved rest!

You can see the complete guide here

Stay tuned for the Wine & Beer Metro Pub Tour awards coming soon!


Had we done our research properly or put anything thought whatsoever into the order of which we were going to review all the pubs on the metro line, we probably might have decided to end in Newcastle City Centre or at the Coast to create some kind of celebratory atmosphere. We have no such organisational skills however therefore the very last pub; pub 60 of 60 if you will, ended up being Hebburn.

Hebburn was originally on the green line before the Sunderland expansion where it swapped over to yellow and is built on the site of an old 1872 British Rail station which had been out of use for some time.

If you exit the station (crossing the track if you’re coming from South Shields and walk down Station Road towards Aloysius Church. Keep the church on you right then turn left down Albert Street. Keep on walking until you see Wardles Bar on the left.


Much as we didn’t plan on having our ceremonial last drink of the whole tour in Hebburn, in a way it did feel like we’d come full circle and the fact that the last pub on the was a perfect representation of everything that this guide has come to be about. One of the things I have found most reassuring through this whole experience is that although there are many areas of the north east that I have never visited before (and probably have no desire to ever visit again) never once have we encountered any problems, hostility or felt uncomfortable in any way.

Wardles is a stereotypical north east boozer. It’s dark and still smells a little bit like smoke even though the smoking ban came into effect over ten years ago. It’s full of locals who are on first name terms with the barmaid. There’s not a pint of real ale in sight, you can get 2 bottles of blue wicked for less than the price of a coffee in Starbucks and the wine is always slightly on the warm side. HOWEVER, at only £6.99 per bottle, quite frankly I’d drink my wine out of an old boot for that price so our cosy booth by the bar was the perfect place to toast our success.


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


Ever notice that the North East seems to have lots of places that are similarly named simply just to cause confusion? I was quite excited when I knew there was a Simonside on the metro line. I’d been wanting to climb up that big hill for ages. Imagine my disappointment when we alighted the train only to find a massive housing estate? Not for the first time I’ve fallen fowl of my basic grasp on geography!

Simonside station is relatively new having only opened in 2008, much to the disgust of many local residents who worried it would raise crime and thoroughfare in the area. None the less I’m sure Simonside residents are appeased with the fact that with great power comes great responsibility and where there’s a metro station, there’s a pub within walking distance.


If you come out of the  station onto Wenlock Road (if you’ve come from Tyne Dock then you’ll have to cross the tracks and turn left towards the roundabout. When you get to the bottom of the road turn right and you’ll see very soon Florence Bar & Bistro (formerly the Simonside Arms). And what a pleasant surprise this is.

We were there in the late afternoon of the Thursday between Christmas and New Year and it was relatively quiet,which could be down to the fact it was a Thursday or down to the fact it was between xmas and NY and most people were still eating their selection boxes in their pyjamas. It’s clearly a fairly new establishment and on first arrival we were unsure as to whether it was a restaurant, or a bar, or neither, or both.



Turns out it’s a bit of everything. Walk through the main doors and turn right to go to the restaurant or left for the bar. We weren’t eating on this occasion so took a seat in the bar, which is massive. The contemporary décor is set off nicely with lots of light wood, high tables and chairs (my mum would hate that) but also a few cosy sofas dotted around too (my mum would love that).

The drinks menu is contemporary too and offers on cocktails along with an impressive gin selection. Beer wise they have standard lagers as well as a few craft ales for the hipster bunch. Despite appearances and worries that prices would also be ‘contemporary’ we got 4 drinks for about £12 which doesn’t feel too shabby.


Because the pub is new it’s hard to tell what kind of shelf life it can offer but considering the only other option in the vicinity is the Cinder Path which is a Brewers-Fayre-by-numbers (and these kind of pubs makes my soul die a little inside each time I visit one) I hope Florence is able to stay afloat. The good people of Simonside have only just gotten over the metro station being built, they don’t this added to their woes too!

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

Brockley Whins

I’ll make no secret of the fact the Brockley Whins may as well be on the moon as far as I’m concerned and has always been one of those stations that I’m always just passing through on my way to somewhere else so I was fully prepared for there not to be anywhere to grab a drink in this urban wilderness.

The original station was part of the Brandling Junction Railway and only had one platform (incidentally on the way to Newcastle – how did people ever get back?!) Turns out you had to cross the line to a different track for return journeys. This health and safety nightmare resulted in 5 deaths in 1870 so they built a second platform. These days it’s purely a commuter station for people travelling to Newcastle or Sunderland respectively and although some coal freight trains pass through the station, they don’t stop.


If you’re coming from Newcastle you need to cross the track and walk the length of Brisbane Avenue you until you bear round to the left onto Australia Grove. Turn right onto Perth Avenue (I am LOVING this naming convention!) then right again on to Tasmania Road and you will see The Jester at the end of the road on the left.

I’ll also make no secret of the fact that from the outside it didn’t look overly inviting; in fact we were unsure as to whether it was even open. We laughed in the face of any potential danger though and hauled ass inside. Having done some research (a quick Google search) turns out the Jester has recently been taken over and given a new lease of life from its previous incarnation which saw regular visits from the local boys (and girls) in blue and had a rowdy reputation with locals.

There was certainly no indication of any rowdiness when we visited during that lovely Crimbo Limbo period where you don’t know what day it is, whether you’re full or starving and wonder whether the grapes in Prosecco can count as your 5 a day. In fact it’s was really, really quiet with just a few locals propping up the bar chatting and listening to music.

We were greeted to a warm welcome as we tucked into our IPA (on tap) and glass of wine wine (which comes in its own miniature bottles so it’s a large glass or nothing – how terrible). It’s a really large, spacious pub with the bar in the middle; bar area and pool table to the right and large cosy tables and booths to the left for food. The bar area was tidy and modern and had plenty of drinks on offer to choose from.

They started a carvery on a Sunday which was so popular they’ve started offering it 7 days a week and even do home deliveries – how cool is that?!

Like many places we’ve found on our WBMT adventures it just goes to show you should never judge a pub by it’s outer shell. It looks like the new owner has really worked hard to restore the Jester to a family friendly establishment and here’s hoping their success continues.

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


The metro station in Jarrow was originally on the network’s green line before the South Shields and Sunderland lines were swapped over and first opened in 1984. Like many stations on the network it is home to some local art and a statue dedicated to the famous Jarrow March is displayed inside the station.

Town centre stations are a dream in terms of the WBMT as you don’t have to stumble far to find your first pub. If you’re coming from platform 2 you need to cross the tracks towards the taxi office. Turn left onto Sheldon Street then right onto Station Street. When you get to the end of the road turn left onto Ellison Street and you’ll see the Ben Lomond pub right in front of you.


On first impression walking through the doors you would be forgiven for thinking it was a Wetherspoons and anyone who knows me will know that that’s not a criticism in the slightest. There’s a big bar in the middle and seating areas circling around so I get the impression whatever time of day you visit you’ll rarely struggle for somewhere to sit.

We got a warm welcome from the barmaid who, when we ordered two glasses of wine, informed us it would be more economical to just buy the bottle. There’s not much more impresses me than a woman who understands the importance of good wine economics. Was it the best tasting wine in the world? No. Was it only £8 a bottle? Hell yes! And that’s the important thing to remember here.


We were there at around tea time mid-week between xmas and new year and it was busy enough to assume it was a Friday or Saturday late afternoon. Other than the barmaid, wor Ang and I were probably the only lasses in there and the lads watching the sport were getting on the rowdy side but were no bother really. What I guess I’m trying to say is if you’re out for a night with the lasses and want to be sitting prosecco and cocktails, this probably isn’t the place to do it.

However if you want a pint and a cheap bottle of wine  whilst painting the town red in Jarra then there are worse places you can end up!

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


One thing I never realised is how many metro stations there are in Jarrow, which aren’t serviced by the Jarrow metro station, what do they think they are Jesmond or something?!  Fellgate is a relatively new station in terms of the Metro Network and was opened in 2002 along with the rest of the Sunderland extension. The metro came along at the right time really as there were already plans brewing to create a rail network connecting the good people of Fellgate to Newcastle and Sunderland (a la Chester-le-Street). And I don’t know about you but I’d always much rather hop on the metro rather than a network rail service any day of the week!20171228_153616

Fellgate is pretty residential and has a rather imposing metro station, which I’ll be amazed if it isn’t visible from space. Good news is though, with a structure this imposing can only mean one thing, a pub cannot be far away. And far away it isn’t. Coming from Newcastle exit the platform and towards Wark Crescent. Follow the crescent around until you come to Calf Close Lane. Turn left here and walk towards the large roundabout ahead. Come to the end of the road and you should see the Prince of Wales pub over the road on the right.


The Prince of Wales is everything you’d expect from a chain pub (Flaming Grill being the chain du jour on this occasion) so in many ways you know you’re in safe hands. How bad could it possibly be? Hold that thought.

Inside is large, bright, warm and cosy so you know you’re probably not going to run into too much bother having the backing of a large chain behind them and it’s certainly a place than can be described as all things to all people. I can imagine whether you’re a family, a group of lads watching the sport on one of the (many) TVs or sharing a bottle of wine with friends there’s a place for you at the Price of Wales.

It was a freezing cold Thursday afternoon between Christmas and New Year when we visited and it was pleasantly busy.  Our friends were meeting us there and got there before us, sadly it took them a lifetime to get served (locals being served way before other customers) and when they were finally acknowledged the ale they wanted (and was being heavily advertised) was off. Pub rules 101, if a beer is off, turn the label round on the pump.

I don’t want to sound too harsh of course this could have been a one off, there were certainly plenty of people there to contradict my opinion that this place is mediocre at best. On the positive note they do serve real ales which isn’t something that can be said for a lot of pubs on this section of the network, there always seems to be some sort of drink, or food or drink & food offer on at any given time; their ‘Fizz Weekends’ where you get a bottle of Prosecco for £9.99 would certainly make me less salty about hubby not being able to get his ale of choice.

All in all, it was a ‘fine’ visit but not somewhere I’d be rushing back to. In terms of the WBMT though if it were part of a pub crawl, we’ve definitely seen worse. I’ll let you judge for yourself which ones those were though…

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


We wondered if this day would ever come. We’ve been metro pubbing for the best part of a year and have been to some really lovely places, some places we never thought we’d venture and some places we’d happily never venture again but we’ve always managed to find somewhere to have a drink.


Bede is one of the few stations that’s in Jarrow, but not Jarrow of course and it services a large industrial estate with multiple factories and outlets and probably where learner drivers go to practice their 3 point turns, as that’s what most North Eastern Industrial estates seem to be used for.

It gets it’s name from a monk named Venerable Bede who kicked around in a monastery  nearby (St Paul’s) in the 7th century. The metro wasn’t around back then, obviously but old Venerable was obviously kind of a big deal so the name stuck.

The Last Chapter

The station was opened along with the rest of the South Shields line in 1984, a couple of months after Venerable’s death and is one of the least used stations on the whole network with only around 155K passengers in the last year.

All of this filler is quite clearly leading me to the fact that I was worried we has failed you, loyal WBMT fans. As a little glimpse behind the scenes of the WBMT, i feel it appropriate to tell you I try and do my research when visiting uncharted territory, of which Bede is to me. I put a call out on Twitter and Facebook for recommendations and asked people I know who live round that way and no one came out with a decide watering hole. Bede was to be a station where we sat out a round to re hydrate (re hydration is key afterall).


However, it’s since been brought to my attention via the good people of South Shields via Twitter that in fact, you can get a very good pint or Moretti (thanks Brian!) at South Shields AFC (Also known as The New Mariners Club). If you exit Bede station walk south on Monksway towards Shaftsbury Avenue then turn right and the football club will be there on the right.

The bar is open Thursdays, Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays and anytime SSFC are playing at home!

So there you go, Bede isn’t quite the pubbing dessert that I was led to believe. Lesson learnt to do my research a bit more thoroughly in future!

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