‘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.
No28, 27-29 Nelson St, Newcastle City Centre, NE1 5AN
Tel: 0191 447 5590
St Peter’s station opened in 2002 with the rest of the Sunderland expansion and is pretty close to both Sunderland and Stadium of Light stations. In fact, geographically, St Peters station is actually closer to the football ground than the Stadium of Light metro station – fact fans!
If you’re coming from Sunderland, exit the platform and down the stairs and start walking towards the big Tesco you’ll see in the distance. In about 5 minutes you’re come to a fork in the road which either leads off to the Stadium of Light on the left or a grand looking stone building on the right. Walk towards said architectural behemoth and you’ll fall through the doors of the Wheatsheaf.
This is the ronseal of pubs in that it does exactly what it says on the tin. Its proximity to the stadium means it’s your stereotypical pre match pub and much like The Strawberry next to St James’ Park, the walls are adorned with Sunderland AFC memorabilia. As you walk in there’s a lounge/ bar on the right and a larger area with a pool table, bandit machine and jukebox on the left.
Beer wise it was slim pickens with your standards of Carling, Fosters or Jon Smiths in plentiful supply, and I was ‘lucky’ enough to get the last glass out of a lowly bottle of white wine in the fridge – benefit of which was having a medium glass for the price of a small though so it wasn’t too bad!
It was pretty quiet when we went in at around 3pm on a Saturday afternoon which just a few locals hovering about . I can imagine on a match day however it’s a different story. They seem to have some good match day offers on and mid-week entertainment like open mic nights and karaoke to draw in a wider crowd.
Address: 207 Roker Ave, Sunderland SR6 0BN
Phone: 0191 510 9826
Find out where else we’ve been on our metro pub adventure here
Seaburn station was adapted from the old National Rail line when the Metro expanded to Sunderland in 2002. Some train services still pass through the station, but don’t stop and Seaburn is the second busiest suburban metro station on the Sunderland line (after East Boldon)
If you leave the station form the main entrance and turn left, keep walking along that round for 5 minutes (past Sainsburys) and you’ll come across the Blue Bell on the right.
Apparently this pub has recently undergone a £120K refurbishment and it really shows. It’s often a wonder how local independent pubs mange to stay in business when others have the luxury of being sponsored by a brewery or pub chain to be able to plough money into it, however The Blue Bell does seem to get the balance right between standard corporate pub and cosy friendly local. Simply put, it’s a safe pair of hands.
It’s modernly decorated with a nice mixture of tables for food and more relaxed booths to sit in for drinks. There was a good selection of real ale on offer (something which had so far been lacking on this leg of the tour) – wine is available from as cheap as £9.99 a bottle and although we weren’t eating, the food we did see looked hearty and plentiful. The sharing planks, which are £10.49 for 5 items looked absolutely amazing and who doesn’t love Pint & a Pint for £5.99 (Wednesdays only)?
Yes there are bandits dotted around and large plasma screens on the walls but you know it’s a better class of pub when it’s showing rugby rather than football! To be honest this is probably more of a family friendly gastro pub than it is a session pub with your mates but that’s not necessarily a bad thing, after all I’m sure those sharing planks have good beer soaking up abilities!
Address: Fulwell Rd, Fulwell SR6 9AD
Tel: 0191 549 4020
Find out where else we’ve been on our metro pub tour here
Not only is Park Lane one of Sunderland’s two city centre metro stations but it’s also (officially) the busiest bus station in the UK outside of London. It opened in 2002 as part of the Sunderland metro expansion however was a little after the rest of the Sunderland due to a delay in some wall panels being delivered. And you can’t have a metro station without any walls.
If you walk out of the metro station and turn right through the bus station you will come to Park Lane and the first port of call you come to will be 2 minutes down the road on the right called; Port of Call.
It was Saturday lunchtime when we arrived and just nicely busy, although it quickly filled up as the afternoon wore on. It has a really American bar-cum-restaurant vibe with high ceilings, high wooden tables and route 66 style memorabilia adorning the walls. There are two levels for if the downstairs (where all the cosy booths are) is full and there’s a large beer garden with heated Tipi out the back. They have a good range of craft ale and glasses of wine come in at a very reasonable £4..10 for a large glass. That said £6 for a pint of ale and a pint of lime & soda left us feeling a little salty – it would have been more economical for me to drink wine I think!
While the good selection of drinks was great, the real draw of this place is undoubtedly the food. It’s a hipster paradise with everything coming in a brioche bun with a side of ‘slaw – so very trendy. The choice and the portions are both plentiful however, Dave’s chicken skewer was a sight to behold for sure and at £18 for two mains it didn’t feel over priced for the amount you got. Must just be the lime and soda that costs the earth!
Port of Call is great city centre pub which can be all things to all people – someone for a bite to eat and a few drinks on a Saturday afternoon in between shopping trips, a session pub to watch the football or a cocktail bar to meet your friends in on a Friday or Saturday night. It certainly was a pleasant way to spend a Saturday afternoon in Sunderland
1 Park Lane, Sunderland SR1 3NX
0191 514 5408
Find out where else we’ve been on our metro pub tour here
It’s strange isn’t it that geographically St Peter’s is actually closer to the Stadium of Light Football ground than the Stadium of Light station? Perhaps it’s just one of those anomalies that should never be questioned like crop circles or vegans. Anyway, another fun fact about the Stadium of Light station is that is used to be accessed by the yellow line as well as the green meaning football fans had a direct route from St James Park in Newcastle to the SoL in Sunderland (albeit a convoluted route via the coast). This was scrapped in 2005 however and can now only get there via the green line.
If you come out of the train station and follow signs towards the football ground (it’s well sign posted but also visible from the station so you’d be hard pushed to walk in the wrong direction. The first pub you will come to is the Colliery Tavern, which is right next to the front gates of SoL.
Much like the Strawberry in Newcastle this is a perfect match day pub and I imagine is absolutely shoulder to shoulder when the Black Cats are playing at home. We visited on a quiet Saturday afternoon and there were just a few regularly propping up the bar.
What pubs like these lack in variety or flair they make up for in pricing structure as a round of halves came in at under a fiver – can’t argue with that! The décor is everything you’d expect from an old, established north eastern boozer and is a little worn around the edges. Naturally its proximity to the stadium means SAF memorabilia adorns the walls and the weekly meat raffle is heavily advertised. I suppose the problem with the mixture of cheap beer and football fans is the inevitability of the first Google review commenting on ‘middle aged people fighting’ which does raise eyebrows however we didn’t see any of that when we visited – thankfully!
Address: 12 Southwick Rd, Sunderland SR5 1EQ
Phone: 0191 548 7157
Find out where else we’ve been on our metro pub tour here
One of the things I like about the metro (aside from its proximity to lots of amazing pubs) is that where possible they have kept most of the original structures from when they were first built. Monkseaton station opened in 1915 and other than the actual platforms, which were completely replaced for it’s use as a metro station in 1980, everything else remains largely untouched.
Stations like Monkseaton are the easy ones to review because as far as the WBMT is concerned it pretty much ticks every box. The pub (the quaint Left Luggage Room) could only be closer if the metro doors opened directly into the pub (location, location, location!) and although the outside seating areas is pretty much on the platform, when you’re sitting in it you don’t feel like you’re on a station platform. Plus with the North East Weather being as tumultuous as it is, you can ‘sit outside’ without actually having to sit outside!
The pub inside is a miss match of chince and train related memorabilia (it reminds me a lot of The Cumberland Arms in Ouseburn in that respect – with is one of my favourite pubs ever!). It also has loads of different ales and craft beers on that are on heavy rotation which is great as you get to sample loads of different types however careful if you find something you love, it may well not been available the next time you visit!
The inside is all benches and wooden tables and benches which allows for a really sociable atmosphere and despite it treading dangerously close to hipster territory I think it manages to pull off cosy and quirky without being too pretentious or intimidating. It’s not very big so doesn’t take many people to make it full so I would get there early on if you’re picky about having somewhere to sit. It’s also worth mentioning that it’s dog friendly, there’s free parking at the station, and has a large selection of wines and gins as well as all the ale!
Once our metro guide is finished we’re going to create a WBMT Awards list and I think LLR may well be on track for ‘best bar on the network’ – watch this space!
Norham Road | Unit 6 Monkseaton Train Station, Whitley Bay NE26 3NR, England
Find out where else we’ve been on our Wine & Beer Metro Tour here
‘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.
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!
Groat Market, Newcastle Upon Tyne, NE1 1UQ