West Monkseaton

West Monkseaton station has been around since 1933 where it was part of the London and North Eastern Railway but was taken over as a metro station in 1980. It has retained a lot of the original fixtures and fittings from the LNER, most notably the platform canopy which also survived the 1999 refurbishment.

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If you leave the stations main entrance, cross over to the other side of the road the turn right, if you walk for about 2-3 minutes you’ll see The Beacon Hotel.

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The Beacon is owned by Ember Inns and has all the markings of your bog standard, run of the mill family pub in the middle of a housing estate. It’s plushly done out inside with loads of large tables for family dining, sport on the TV to encourage groups of friends, pop music on the juke box and real ale. It’s certainly a pub that can be all things to all people depending of what you want.

My best mate Ang was my drinking partner when we visited a few weeks ago and were greeted with a really warm welcome buy the guy behind the bar as we deliberated over what kind of wine we wanted and (perhaps more importantly) what flavour crisps to have.

We weren’t eating on this occasion by the food menu was all the pub classics you’d expect from a chain pub at good prices and what we did see coming out the kitchen looked delicious. They have lots of offers on if you become and Ember Member, possibly most noteworthy a free bottle of prosecco on your birthday, something i’d most definitely take advantage of if it were my local.

I’m normally put off by big chain pubs that are quite family centric, and a hidden gem this wasn’t. However, perhaps it was the warm welcome, the real fireplace or maybe I was just full of salt n vinegar crisps, but Ang and I had a splendid time when we visited and I would have no reservations going back to sample their prosecco, whether it’s my birthday or not!

Contact:

Earsdon Road, Whitley Bay NE25 9PT, England
0191 253 6911
https://www.emberinns.co.uk/nationalsearch/northwest/the-beacon-hotel-whitley-bay

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

Sunderland

Metro extended down to Sunderland in 2002, which is relatively recent considering it feels like it’s part of the line that’s always been there. What makes Sunderland station unique is that the main line and local line services all share the same tracks, which when there’s up to 5 trains an hour serviced by the metro alone, means it’s one of the busiest stations on the line.

City centre stations are always a joy to review because there’s an abundance of pubs and restaurants to choose from. For the purposes of this guide we chose the Tipsy Cow on Bridge Street.  If you leave the station onto Waterloo Place which merges into Union Street, then turn right onto High Street then left onto Bridge Street and the Tipsy Cow will be on the left.

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I absolutely love the decor of pubs like this which are both cosy and trendy; they remind me of (what I imagine) Canadian ski lodges look like with the plaid upholstery and dark wooden furnishings. We had a Groupon voucher luckily when we visited so had some gourmet burgers and sides, all were cooked perfectly, portions were plentiful and prices (even without the voucher) were really reasonable.

Sometimes city centre pubs can go one of two ways; over priced because of a captive audience, or reasonable because of the competition. The Tipsy Cow thankfully is the latter with a good selection of real ales on tap and lots good drinks offers (like bottles of wine for £7 on a Sunday). The staff were also good and food came quickly.

There’s plenty of choice in Sunderland City Centre and it would be easy to fall into old faithfuls like a Wetherspoons (of which there are 3 within walking distance of the metro station) but I think The Tipsy Cow offers something a little different and would be the perfect edition to a Sunderland session.

Contact:

Address: 33 Bridge St, Sunderland SR1 1TA
Phone: 0191 567 1616

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

Meadow Well

When Meadow Well station was built in 1982 it was originally called Smith’s Park but was changed with the name of the developing housing estate for which it now services. The area suffered after the 1991 Meadow Well riots and socially has never really recovered. It is still tarnished with a bad reputation which the development of Wet n Wild and the Royal Quays shopping outlet centre has been unable to remove.

It’s large a residential area so as such the closest pub isn’t all that close to the station. If you exit the station however and head towards signs to Royal Quays (its about 10 minutes along Bridge Road) You’ll end up at the Royal Quays Shopping centre and within that will find the Royal Quays Brewers Fayre.

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Anyone who’s ever been to a Brewers Fayre pub will know that it’s pretty much family pub by numbers all the way down the the massive in door and outdoor play areas where you can throw your little darlings while you queue up for your carvery Sunday dinner.

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Were it not for it’s location within the shopping centre I can’t imagine why anyone would need nor want to visit this place. Sometimes you can rely on a chain to get exactly what you need when you need it and the only saving grace of this place was they had Doombar on tap. Everything else was just the dire side of bland.

Despite being midday on a sunday it was deserted and there’s nothing i hate more than having to line up for your sunday dinner so we went for a burger and fish and chips for our lunch. I asked for ketchup with my chicken burger which I had almost finished by the time the waiter brought it to me and Dave’s fish was so greasy the batter was inedible.

I’d love to say that this a pleasant little place to refresh and rehydrate after some shopping however my advice would be go to Subway instead.

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

 

Whitley Bay

In 1882 the North Eastern Railway (NER) opened a coastal route from Tynemouth to Monkseaton which replaced the inland Blyth and Tyne route, and a new station (simply called ‘Whitley’). The ‘bay’ was added in 1899 and was popular with people in the surrounding area for travelling into Newcastle. Back then of course Whitley Bay was quite a popular holiday destination believe it or not so a railway station was essential. Historian Nikolaus Pevsner later said of the station building (which is now Grade II listed) that it ‘lends some distinction to an undistinguished neighbourhood’. Charming Nick, charming.

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Stations like Whitley Bay are a dream in terms of the Wine and Beer Metro. Not only is the pub right in the station but it’s also a really, really good one. So it makes my job really easy!

Olives at the Station is part cafe, part bistro part pub. The last two times i’ve visited there has been private parties on (Saturday afternoons) however were still welcome to pull up a seat at the bar and have a few drinks (two large glasses of white wine comes in at just over a tenner). It’s really bright and spacious inside with minimalistic wooden tables and a large beer garden out the back.

Ordinarily I’d be wary of a pub that has it’s beer garden extending out into the metro station, after all, it could be the nicest metro station in the world but you’re still having a drink in a metro station after all. However they large bamboo style fencing around the outside area means other than the gentle hum of the trains going past every ten minutes, you wouldn’t know you were in a train station at all. If you’re really lucky there might be some live music on as well to add to the atmosphere.

Olives is relatively new in terms of pubs along the metro line and I really hope they stick around because they’re a brilliant addition to the coastal route – apparently their eggs benedict are pretty legendary too!

Contact:

Whitley Bay Metro Station Station Square, Whitley Bay NE26 2QT
0191 447 1313
https://olivesatthestation.com/

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

 

 

University

University Metro station was opened in 2002 along with the Sunderland extension and was one of the main reasons for Nexus expanding down to Sunderland in the first place. It is also classed as a city centre station (along with Park Lane and Sunderland) despite it predominately servicing the university’s city campus.

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It would be sheer madness to have a metro station so close to a university that wasn’t equal distance to a good student pub. And if we’re talking about good student pubs then look no further than The Stumble Inn. Exit the metro station from the campus side of the station and double back on yourself onto Chester Road, turn left and you’ll see The Stumble Inn across the other side of the street. Incidentally, being pub 5 on a metro pub crawl that day, stumble in is pretty much exactly what we did.

Naturally with it being about 5pm on a Saturday night and i’m sure all the local students were still in bed sleeping off last nights hangovers, it was relatively quite and we seemed to be the youngest people in there however were greeted with a warm welcome and there was plenty of comfy places to sit. As you walk in the main doors the bar is directly in front of you with some booths to sit at to the left and a larger more spacious dining room style area to the right.

Drinks wise, remember it’s a student bar so there are loads of ‘2 jagerbombs for a fiver’ type offers and the only beer they had was John Smiths (although had more crafty stuff in bottles) couldn’t fault the wine though which was reasonably priced but tasted more high end (it was nice and cold too!). We weren’t eating on this occasion but the food menu did look lovely and from the food we saw come out the portions were decent. Overall it reminded me a lot of The Longsdale in West Jesmond (which I highly rated). I’m sure if this was my local we’d be down most weekends to check out the life music.

Contact:

Address: 88 Chester RoadSunderland SR2 7PR
Tel: 0191 567 5292

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

 

 

 

Millfield

Millfield, like most stops on this end of the green line was built with the rest of the extension to Sunderland in 2002 and services the town of, you guessed it, Millfield. There’s a couple of pubs you can go to nearby (unlike Pallion next door which is a pub desert!). If you come out of the station from South Hylton and double back on yourself then turn left onto Hylton Road you’ll see the Mountain Daisy almost instantly.

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All signs were positive from the outside, the grand building almost looked like it could be a Wetherspoons and honestly what we’d experienced this end of the line, a Wetherspoons would have been most welcome!

We went gingerly inside and were pleased to see there were a good handful of people inside, including some kids. Surely anywhere there’s kids is safe right? So far so good. Until I ordered a glass of white wine and was told by the barmaid ‘We’ve only got pink’. two and a half pints of fosters and a glass of pink wine it was.

The bar is at the front of the pub. To the right is a large room with pool table and dart board. To the left is the Buffet bar , which apparently merits inclusion in the Camra Real Heritage Pub Guide however there was no real ale on offer when we went.

 

Went went round the back and hung out and played pool. One thing that is concerning about this place is it has had about 4 different owners in as many years and there seems to be public opinion seems to be no one is able to restore it to it’s former glory.  I hope it does get saved because it is a lovely building and with a bit more love and attention to the wine list it could be a half decent place.

Contact:

Address: 150 Hylton Rd, Sunderland SR4 7NX
Phone: 0191 510 8377

See where else we’ve been on our metro adventure here

Heworth

Heworth station was one of the first on the original metro line to open in 1981. In 1984, the line extended eastwards to South Shields. It also serves as an overland rail station with services to Middlesbrough, Sunderland and Hartlepool.

When we were visiting we were on our way back from Sunderland, as you come out the main doors of the interchange you will see the nearest pub directly in front of you (a sure point scorer according to WBM rules). Which in this case is The Swan.

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This reminded me both outside and inside of The Railway in Walkergate. An old style dark building with your traditional bar on one side, lounge on the other with the bar running between both.

There seemed to be a big bike rally happening when we visited early evening on a Saturday which provided a good lively atmosphere. The offerings at the bar were pretty much what you’d expect from a put of this style, no real ale however some good offers on bottles where we got two bottles of Becks for a fiver. From someone who’s local is the Twin Farms in Bank Foot, I know there’s not much you can get for a fiver in most pubs these days! I mean let’s be honest, its a northern pub which shows the football and has bandits so it’s not exactly falling into hidden gem category but as far as a what you see is what you get pub, it’s certainly not the worse we’ve been to.

One thing that struck me (maybe all the bikers that were in at the time) was that it felt like a really local pub but a lot more relaxed, friendly and welcoming than some of the others I’ve described as local in the past. In most pubs we visit for the tour we have one drink then head on the net however I would have happily stayed for another more at The Swan!

Contact:

Address: Sunderland Road, Gateshead NE10 0NT
See where else we’ve been on our metro adventure here