So, I was in an incredible grump today that was proving hard to shift. Luckily when I emailed my friend M to see if she was willing to meet up and shake me out of my mood, she agreed. We went for dinner at the newly revamped Carluccios, but not before a wander around the Christmas market and a couple of drinks at festive pop up Miracle on Grey Street. The bar was a bit rammed, though the atmosphere was friendly, and they do an inventive array of cocktails alongside mulled wine and cider. I plumped for the vodka and prosecco Tinsel Toon while M had a rum-based baubles for all and a good time was had…
Belated birthday night out last night for my lovely friend S. Reconnecting with him since moving back – after so many years out of touch – has been a real joy, and it doesn’t hurt that he always has great recs for restaurants (Kiln was also his idea).
Last night we went to Stack for a quick drink before dinner. I’ve been, as you know, in the summer, but was interested to see how it fared in winter. I was slightly disappointed to see the covered gin bar replaced with a beer tent – it looked slightly dark, fusty and unfinished inside so we decided to brave the outdoor tables instead. These are certainly well-heated – the table heaters were so hot I couldn’t keep my coat on – and I can imagine nearer Christmas the whole fairy lights vibe will feel very festive.
Next up, Dabbawal, on High Bridge Street, which is becoming my local. I’d actually been here years ago with L of Raven in a Graveyard – she’d suggested it on one of my previous visits back from London, I think – so I had vague memories of liking it. And, mmmmmm, was I right.
The food – which is comprehensively labelled for allergies and diets, which always gives a nice sense of comfort – is Indian street food, and the choice is enormous, with a ton of vegetarian dishes. S and I plumped to share, and ordered a selection of sides and starters, all of which were delicious, though my eyes turned out to be too big for my belly, and that, combined with still feeling a tad ropey from the other week’s cold, meant I had to call it a night quite early – which, disappointingly, meant I didn’t get to try their advertised Espresso Martinis!
But the service was friendly, the food lovely, the vibe nice and low key – and, best of all, I discovered they sell their own notebooks. I’m definitely going back!
On the Quayside we stopped off for a quick drink at a place I think is called Signori – by this stage my feet were hurting and I needed a drink – a prosecco bar attached to an Italian restaurant. It wasn’t quite what I hoped – the decor was fancy but it felt slightly like a place that hadn’t established its identity yet – but as it was a match day and the town was heaving I was just relieved to find somewhere we could get a seat…
We only popped briefly into Ernest in Ouseburn yesterday, but it’s a venue I have earmarked to return to: a laid back vibe and a bit of a Star Wars theme are certainly an enticement to another visit…
Lola Jeans is a bar / restaurant tucked just off Grey Street (on Market Street) and when I heard it did a mean line in cocktails, I had to check it out. Unfortunately, I didn’t actually get round to having a cocktail – it was early evening, and I was in the mood more for wine – but it’s definitely a place with promise. Because I met my friend around 5 the place was still too quiet to gauge its atmosphere or buzz, but I liked the decor – heavy on the brocade sofas – and the staff were friendly.
The Botanist is one of the most striking bars in Newcastle – its glass dome part of the city skyscape, moments away from Grey’s Monument – it’s one of the loveliest buildings in the city.
The bar itself has never quite lived up to its potential for me. The first time I went my friends and I accidentally sat in the restaurant bit, and the staff were slightly snotty about what was an honest mistake, which made me less than well inclined to the place.
Tonight was much better – the staff were friendly, though it was busy (I still can’t get used to the fact that after-work drinks in Newcastle start at 5). But it remains a hard place to warm to for me – striking and stylish, but without the buzz or atmosphere I want in my pubs. That said, it is stunning, so worth a visit…
As I said in my previous post, I made my first trip to see a film at the Tyneside last night. It really is a delight of a cinema, and boasts not just one but several great cafe / bars, one of which hosts free movie screenings. Expect more posts, as I joined their membership scheme!
They also stock some beers that I feel my friend Linda over at Raven in A Graveyard might approve of.