Friday, 27 February 2009

The Free Trade Inn, St Lawrence Road, Newcastle

The Free Trade Inn, St Lawrence Rd., Byker,(Tel:0191 2655764) is one of what is known as the 'Ouseburn Pub Trail'. It consists of 6 old watering holes within easy walking (or in my case hobbling) distance of each other. What a good idea!

With a magnificent view up the Tyne of its Millenium, Tyne, Swing, and High Level bridges. Particularly from the pub's little summer garden.

The Free Trade Inn is over 100 years old and looks it! As does it's furniture and decor, although I've got to admit the beer was OK. The Jarrow Old Cornelius, a fine dark porter I tasted, was spot on.

The old pub is having, or has just had, (depending of course on when, if ever, you read this), its Ist ever beer festival (of 20 or more proper swallies) on the 6th-8th March 2009. Featuring High House Farm, Jarrow Brewery, Wentworth, Mordue, Leeds, Titanic, Wylam etc. etc. etc. Mien got und himmel! I'm salivating at the gob just thinking about it!!

You must do your best and I mine, to attend this auspicious occasion.
See you there!
To visit the website click the link The Free Trade Inn, St Lawrence Road Newcastle upon Tyne NE6 1AP Tel. 0191 265 5764

Friday, 20 February 2009

Gateshead Arms, Low Fell, Gateshead

Didn't fancy this one but it did have one real ale wooden handle so I went in. And sure enough, there it was, the token single pump supplied by the old Theakston cast off; Black Sheep!
Just for the record. I used to drink Theakstons as a session beer years ago before S & N got hold of it and put me off. So, in 1999, I decided to visit Masham, in Eh by gum land, and although S & N was just relinquishing ownership back to the family, Theakstons had been decimated! I couldn't resist a pint of the wonderful Old Peculiar which was, and still is, one of my favourites. But the visitor centre was deserted. What a crying shame.
Every Theakston pub in North Yorkshire had been taken hold of by that enterprising upstart -Black Sheep! So I decided to take snoop.
Black Sheep Brewery's visitor centre, in same town, was a real eye opener. It was stowed off! Packed oot!
Large bar. Restaurant. Gift shop. The lot. Even bought the Tee shirt. Goodnight Theakstons!
Their Black Sheep beer's damn good as well.

Thursday, 19 February 2009

Lambton Arms, Eighton Banks, Gateshead

The Lambton Arms was at one time, probably the most popular eating and drinking establishment in Eighton Banks, but appears to have lost its way.
Why? And what a shame.

Sunday, 15 February 2009

Crows Nest, Percy Street, Newcastle

The Crows Nest, formerly known, 'cobbers', as the 'Oz Bar', is a very popular food orientated establishment at the university end of Percy Street.

It happened to be monday lunchtime when I called and the place was full. It backs on to Newcastle University and the clientelle appeared to be 50% young diners, 40% shoppers in for a meal and the rest drinkers. Not a real prop-up-the-bar type of pub then.

However, the food looks reasonable in both quality and value, hence the full house!
My main purpose for calling of course was the beer.

Three hand pumps were in evidence. Two of which were the strong Abbot Ale and the excellent Wells Bombardier. The third was Greene King IPA(yuk). Something there to, maybe, tickle your tonsils?

Although the bar's not to my liking, I must say the staff were very friendly and business like.

Black Horse, Low Fell, Gateshead

The Black Horse on Kells Lane at Low Fell is a pub
that carries Wylam Brewery Ale. I've known about it for years but have never been in. Strangely enough its my pal's local, which was my reason for the visit.

On a cold winter's night I ventured in to find a superb Wylam Gold Tankard ale on sale. Marvlious.
GOLD Tankard ABV 4.0%
Champion Beer of the CAMRA Tyneside,
and Darwen Lancashire Festivals
Made with all gold ingredients - Pale
Malt, Golden naked oats, First Gold
Hops, with a Willamette hop finish.
Fresh clean flavour with a hint of
grapefruit citrus from the Willamette
late hops

Blow me if it wasn't the pub quiz night! Of course I got roped in to that.A good night was had by all, particularly me with the Gold Tankard, but I was kindly given a lift home by my pal's son's girlfriend. Sounds complicated to me!

A pleasant enough pub and a good pint. What more could a man ask for.

Saturday, 7 February 2009

The Strawberry, 7/8 Strawberry Place, Newcastle, NE1 4SF. Tel: 0191 2326865


Find St James Park and you've found the Strawberry.

It seems to me that the Strawberry has always been associated with the Toon and its football. It stands at the Gallowgate corner (see photo) where I began my fortnightly pilgramage in the 50s.

Although I've followed United since birth, as my father did before me, the Strawberry was never my pub. It was always packed on match days and until today I had never been inside. A pity because its full of Newcastle United interest. The main beam across the bar has been decorated

with fairly accurate sketches of post-war United stars who entertained a 'young lad' like myself.

'Sir Les ','SuperMac','Wor Jackie','Len White',etc.etc.etc..I won't mention them all, in case, like me, you want to visit the pub and give yourself a little entertainment.

The Strawberry offers a regularly changing quartet of real ales one of which,Moorhouse Pride and Pendle, I, with great satisfaction, quoffed. Closely followed by a second.

The remainder of the interior is unremarkable except for the multitude of stadium, match and team photos adorning the walls. Some years ago an upstairs (see photo) outside sun patio was


Howay the Toon. But do sink some of the Strawberry's good ales before you leave!

The Centurion, Central station, Neville Street, Newcastle upon Tyne NE1 5DG. Tel: 0191 2616611


Formerly part of the station itself, its certainly worth a visit for the architecture and decor alone. Magnificent.

Ideal place to start(or finish)your rail journey, or jump off to the match at St James Park.

A range of good ales on tap. A bit on the pricey side though.

Friday, 6 February 2009

Head of Steam, Neville Street, Newcastle upon Tyne. NE1 5EN. Tel:0191 2304236


The Head of Steam, just opposite and to the right of Central Station, is downstairs for music or upstairs for earnest drinkers with the oblutions at ground floor level. An absolute nightmare for the disabled like yours truly.
The bar upstairs has the not unpleasant feel of a student bar.

A good selection of of real ales, one of which was Allendale Breweries Curlews Return. A good session beer of pleasant taste I thought, as I skipped(?)merrily on to the next venue.

Bridge Hotel, Newcastle upon Tyne

The Bridge Hotel. (Universally known as the 'Budge Hotel ' see the photo opposite).
Another blast from the past for me for its music and bands. A superb old pub with a super range (hic!) of ales.

The rear, which has always had good views of the river, has been enhanced with a patio for fine weather supping. Sampled the Mordues Workie Ticket(seeing as I was there) but there is always a forever changing range to suit all tastes.

Careful though, the toilets are down some stairs.

Monday, 2 February 2009

Duke of Wellington, 18 Bridge Street, Newcastle, NE1 1EW. Tel 0191 2618852

The Duke of Wellington is a lovely old pub in Highbridge. A cobbled street just off the Bigg Market at one end and Grey Street at the other.
Changed its name for a short time to The Duke. God knows why.
A proper drinkers pub with a reasonable selection of real ale to choose from (although I was disappointed that the Spitfire went off just as I was ordering!). I had my namesake Jack. A pint much lighter in colour than my normal sup. It was ok.

Spent an enjoyable afternoon in the Duke of Wellington with my crossword.

Sunday, 1 February 2009

Crown Posada Newcastle

The Crown Posada, 31 The Side, Newcastle NE1 3JE. Tel:0191 2321269.

What a fabulous old pub.

From the old stained glass windows at the front, not forgeting the ancient valve radio there, past the bar with its ancient radiogram and ancient 78's,(which are still in use) to the cosy tables leading to the rear.
All that and the whole place is only about 12 feet wide! I tell a lie, there's a little snug at the front about 12 feet square. All the tables but one were occupied and it was quiet!
It used to be our favourite meeting place before the gang descended on one of the multitude of eateries around the quayside.I don't know how we got a seat.But we did and the beer was always spot on.
Which brings me to the sole reason for my visit at lunchtime--the real ale.
The Posada has six hand pumps of luscious ales to choose from. Hadrian Brewery's Gladiator, a dark but not too powerful beer, went down so well I was forced to have another one. My arm was sore with being twisted. What a chore this survey is turning out to be.
I must say, even the toilets were clean.