Play Hard

The 72 bars and restaurants reopening in and around Newcastle this week that we can’t wait to visit

We have A LOT of catching up to do

Written by High Life North
Published 10.04.2021

By Becky Hardy


So, as you’d expect, we’ll start things off in the city centre. Bar Luga on Grey Street is a HLN fave, (although we’re partial to their Gosforth and Morpeth haunts too), and we’ll be sure to pop further down the road to Leila Lily’s specially-designed outdoor terrace to check out their new food and cocktail menu. Oh, and don’t think we won’t be hitting up Neapolitan pizza parlour Central Oven & Shaker on Neville Street either – their crazy cocktails are out of this world.

We’ve missed Alvino’s, which has one of the warmest beer gardens going, so will most likely mosey on down there to see how they’ve revamped their cocktail menu since we last saw them, and then will likely skip round to Horticulture on Market Lane for anything from coffees to crafties and cocktails. The small plates here are unreal too, FYI.

Down the Scene, Blonde Barrel promises even more of a good time than normal, as they temporarily take over neighbouring Rusty’s beer garden to expand their outdoor seating area until the latter reopens in June, while over the road, Switch and The Yard will be doing their upmost to turn time back to the party days of old.

More than a little buzz is sure to congregate around the Bigg Market. If we aren’t digging into Kafeneons Greek cuisine and cocktails, then we’ll be revelling in the 1920s-inspired, classical French atmosphere of Hibou Blanc’s outdoor terrace. That’s all before we head either right up to Passing Clouds or left down to the Cloth Market, where we already know Revolucion de Cuba and Market Shaker will be getting the party started. Just round the corner, on High Bridge, we’ll be more than a little chuffed to be reintroduced to gin palace Pleased To Meet You. While in the opposite direction, Green House Disco Gardens on Groat Market promises a Parisian pavement pop up partay to remember.

Special mention here should go to Wylam Brewery, who we cannot wait to frequent again as in the happy days of old. Their expansive garden terrace (which, let’s face it, spills out into the whole of Exhibition Park) will be the first place we head to on its slightly later opening date of Thursday 22nd April.


Along the Quayside, The Redhouse is your go-to for pies, Head of Steam is where it’s at for pints, while just over the water, By The River Brew Co. will be shining like a beacon welcoming us home. The city’s most recognisable and, arguably, most picturesque beer garden will have guest foodies on the terrace (first up is Fat Hippo), as well as the reopening of street food market HWKRMRKT from Friday, so there’ll be plenty of scranning options available as well as the bevs on offer.

We’ve been itching to get back to Ouseburn’s watering holes, so we’ll definitely be visiting the delightful beer gardens of The Tyne Bar (cream of the Insta-worthy crop), as well as Brinkburn Street Brewery, The Cumberland Arms, Kiln, Ernest and The Ship Inn. We’re also beyond excited to return to Cook House, where we can dine out in style on Michelin Plate food while overlooking the Ouseburn river.



Further inland, everyone’s favourite urban seaside, Jesmond Beach Box, is the big talking point – think deckchairs, pool tables, street food and even sand, as well as plenty of bar areas on site. Dabbawal’s Jesmond branch will also be reopening, which is cracking because it’s been way too long since we sampled their Indian street food delights, (their terrace is hella cool too).

All your usual Osbourne Road suspects will have their beer gardens out in full force, including big hitters Osbournes, 97 & Social, Bar Blanc and Spy Bar. While you’re in the area, if you fancy casual coffeehouse vibes, LOCAL have just opened and are looking slick. You’ll find they serve artisan bread baked by Pure Knead as well as Big Fat Donuts, which are two big ticks in our book.

Down the road in Gosforth, we’ll be frequenting some of the High Street’s most famous stalwarts, including The Brandling Arms, The Gosforth Hotel, the Queen Vic and The County. Art bar Barca has even created their brand new Beer Garden By The Park so as not to miss out on the reopening bantz, and tapas bar and restaurant Fortuna are setting the bar high with themed nights (we see you, Motown Thursdays) and live music. Further up Great North Road, we’re keen to scout out the Three Mile’s sexy summer terrace, too.


Out towards the coast, we’ll be heading straight to Riley’s Fish Shack to get our seafood fix while sitting on one of their famous deckchairs looking out over King Edwards Bay. Still in Tynemouth, Cubana Coffee House will give you all those longed-for summertime Havannah vibes with their tantalising tapas and famous Cuban Cubonas sandwiches, or you can get your quirky art fix from the cute terrace area of Barca, sister venue to the Gosforth branch.

Just round the corner, Head of Steams coastal outpost will be back to its old ways, The Salutation up the road will also be business (almost) as usual, and Davanti should be your go-to for pizza, pasta and everything in between. Meanwhile, the unrivalled views from The Gibraltar Rocks beer garden are worth the trip alone (although their cracking bev and scran combos do help), and the cocktails at Allard’s Lounge never disappoint. Their North Shields venue, Allard’s On The Quay, will also be open for business.

Heading over to North Shields then, The Ship’s Cat – little sister outpost of Newcastle’s Mean-Eyed Cat (which won’t open until May) – is a cracking spot to sit, sup and smile, as is How Do You Do. The most exciting new addition to the area is Black Storm Brewery, whose craft beers, cider and gin will be available at their brand new Tap House in Royal Quays Outlet Centre (their Whitley Bay outpost remains shut until May). Over the river, The Harbour Lights will be pulling pints once more in South Shields, while Zeera will be serving up some tasty treats from their Thali menu.

Whitley Bay has plenty re-openings of its own to look forward to, and Fox & Finch is one of them. We could snack on their tapas aaaall day – quite literally, as they serve everything from breakfast and brunch options to evening meals – and their vast selection of drinks go down a little too easily. Elsewhere, local legend The Beehive has a new Spring Garden Menu we can’t wait to try and Buddha Lounge will also be back, bringing with them all their trademark Asian delicacies we’ve missed. We’ll be allowed to take a pew in Kith and Kins garden once more as we get a hearty breakfast down our necks, before nestling ourselves into the outdoor terrace and covered pergola of Elder and Wolf to indulge in some cocktails, kebabs, tacos and pizza by their fire.





We loved The Holystone Bar’s colourful pods last summer, so will definitely be stopping by for a G&T or two again. Up in Cramlington, the Blagdon Arms also have super-cosy huts you can snuggle into with your household or group of six, while The Plough opposite has plenty of space to spread out and socialise (distantly, of course).

To the west, we’ll be sure to pop into The Blackbird in Ponteland, which not only has a new menu but also an extended outdoor area (complete with three tipis) for its grand reopening. Round the corner, Yolo will be giving us our swanky cocktail fix, we’ll find ‘proper pub’ vibes at the Diamond Inn and will finally be able to check out the revamped outdoor space of The Seven Stars, while sipping one of their award-winning real ales.

On the next sunny day, we’ll be jumping on the popular westwards train route out along the Tyne to stop off at The Angel in Corbridge, popular Wylam haunts The Boathouse and The Ship Inn, and pub, lodge and micro-brewery The Keelman in Newburn. Over the river, Blaydon’s The Huntsman has cute wooden pods that’ll keep any beer garden chills at bay, and the Rose & Crown Winlaton is a proper traditional boozer that still keeps things magical with a smattering of fairy lights. Delightful.

Where will you be heading to first this week? Share your snaps and stories with us over @high_life_north

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