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

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

 

 

 

Pallion

Pallion in Sunderland is another station that was added to the network when the Sunderland extension was built in 2002 and mostly services Pallion high street, sorry Pallion Shopping Terrace, and the Sunderland Royal Hospital.

Sadly, pub wise, it’s thin on the ground. We walked passed 3 social clubs and a dilapidated old Pub before we finally found somewhere suitable, and by suitable, i mean open, on Hylton Road, a good 20 minutes from the Metro station.

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From the station walk up towards Pallion high street, sorry, Shopping Terrace, and follow signs to the Hospital. Once in sight turn left down Hylton Road, keeping the hospital on your right and you’ll eventually find the Willow Pond.

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This oasis in the desert that is Hylton Road was actually a really nice surprise. It was nicely busy for a Saturday afternoon with regulars chatting and watching sport but there was a quieter lounge area where we hung out. The staff and locals were all great, especially as we had the youngest member of the WBM crew joining us today and got loads of help with navigating his buggy around the bar stools.

 

 

The drink options weren’t amazing, it was still pretty much real ale free however three pints of lager and a bottle of Desperados came to around a tenner which didn’t feel like bad value at all. I feel i use the phrase ‘local pub for local people’ a little too often in this guide however i think it’s appropriate in this case and I don’t mean it in a negative way either.

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One of the loveliest things has been meeting loads of local people in areas that you wouldn’t normally find yourself and it’s heartwarming to see the North East’s reputation of being friendly a welcoming alive and well, even for a couple of Geordies drinking in deepest darkest Sunderland.

Contact:

Address: 173 Hylton Road, Sunderland, Tyne & Wear SR4 7YF
Tel: 0191 567 6742
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/pages/The-Willow-Pond/