Although actually in Gateshead, this superb restoration of a Victorian pub is well worth crossing the Tyne for. Tucked behind the monolithic Hilton Hotel, it's a peculiar wedge-shaped building that was originally built in 1856. Not so long ago it was a decrepit wreck but thanks to the efforts of the Head of Steam company plus a generous grant - it's back on song. There's a beautifully restored buffet and snug and even a roof terrace on which to quaff 14 ales. Oh, and Sting's been in.
If you can't face legions of beered-up teenagers swaying around the Bigg Market or Quayside then head along the Tyne to where the Ouse flows into the river. It's little more than a stream but, starting at the Free Trade pub up on the bank and following the path towards Armstrong Bridge, you can take in a handful of unspoilt boozers including The Tyne bar, The Ship, The Cluny and finally - and most fantastically - the Cumberland.
You can get a special bus from Central Station or take the Metro to Byker and walk.
This is a cracking real ale pub at the top of the slope leading down to the South Shields ferry. Excellent beers are always on offer and you can often get a quick taster to help you make your mind up. It's friendly, cosy and inviting and you can't beat grabbing a berth in one of the pub's two bay windows for unsurpassed views across the Tyne to North Shields.
River Drive, South Shields, Tyne and Wear, NE33 1JR. Nearest Metro station: South Shields (or you can pile off the Shields ferry and head up the bank)
Newcastle is unashamedly a fashion-led city and while that’s no bad thing (the Toon is vibrant and buzzing etc) the inevitability is that many of the bars are quite formulaic. The Trent House pub defiantly goes against the grain – not in so much as a two fingers up to it’s identikit rivals but more in a ‘we know how it’s done and we don’t follow trends’ kind of way. They know their music but they’re laid back with it (no pretension). Plentiful array of beers, great jukebox, pool table, decent food – all the basics are well covered. Sister venue, World Headquarters puts on some of Newcastle’s top club nights and pulls in the more cutting edge acts to the region.
1-2 Leazes Lane
Near Haymarket Metro Station
This fantastic old pub is on The Side but should be central to any trip to Newcastle. Top tap - stic real ales, kept properly, a gramophone and stained glass windows in a tiny pub split into a snug that really is and a long thin bar. Just do not wander in to take a photo and then leave as some tightwads have been observed doing!
The Crown Posada
Newcastle upon Tyne
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