Play Hard

Walk-in wins 2.0: the inside edit

‘In’ is the new ‘out’ – so here are 29 bars in Newcastle you don’t need to book ahead...

Written by Becky Hardy
Published 19.05.2021

Look, we know by now that you don’t want any great pre-amble to an article like this, you just want the facts – so let’s get to it.

Starting things off with a little corner of Newcastle that Team HLN are visiting verrrry soon, (it may or may not be for a bottomless brunch, guess you’ll never know), Revolucion de Cuba gives us all our very own slice of Havana’s heyday and, while booking is recommended, reservations aren’t necessary.

We’ve said it before and we’ve said it again – we’re never going to not want a bev at Alvino’s. Luckily, we’ll never not have to… they’re accepting walk-ins only. And with new food on offer, as well as a brand new cocktail menu, you’re probably going to want to check out this quirky urban bar stat. While you’re in the area, why not scurry round the corner to Horticulture for anything from coffees to crafties and cocktails? We promise you won’t regret it – and if you get peckish, their small plates hit the spot every time.

Walk-in wanderers are welcomed with open (but still socially-distanced) arms at Hibou Blanc, where we could sit and channel those 1920s French vibes aaaaaall day. If you do fancy moving on, they’ll be slinging pizzas and raising glasses indoors like it’s the old times over at Market Shaker – and reservations aren’t necessary to join in the party. Or, if you’re after something a little more sophisticated, there are always a few tables kept on Yolo Townhouse’s rooftop terrace for walk-ups. And while this is still technically ‘outdoor seating’, it’s so cosy you honestly won’t feel the chill.

Mean-Eyed Cat has always been a cracking spot to sit and sup, and thankfully you won’t need to book ahead for the privilege – nor will you at cracking Quayside hangout, Head of Steam.

You can really live the vida Jakey by just rocking up to Wylam Brewery for a little indoor imbibing and brilliant burger biting. Or, about as far in the other direction, it’s walk-ins only at ‘Ouseburn original’ The Tyne Bar.

Two minutes up the road, we’ve got a lotta love for Brinkburn Street Brewery, which has only increased since we found out we don’t need to book ahead before we next stop by, (psst – don’t forget The Big Pub Quiz returns tonight, too). And everyone’s favourite indie music venue, The Cluny, have three rooms of socially-distanced seating ready and waiting for walk-in warriors as well as pre-bookers – and the long wait for the grand return of gigs will finally be over from Bank Holiday Saturday (29th May).

Head down to the Scene and you’ll find its walk-ins only at Blonde Barrel, The Bank Bar and The Yard & Heavens Above, while over at Switch there’s no booking needed from Sundays–Thursdays but over the weekend they’re only accepting bookings. We’re also excited to check out the new bar on the rainbow block, Oscar’s, which is just above The Yard and is offering a more ‘relaxed flamboyant atmosphere’ – and opens this Friday from 5pm.

A little further out of the city centre, popular Jesmond haunts Spy Bar, The Blue Bell and Bar Blanc are all accepting walk-ins as well as bookings, as are Gosforth heroes (and some of HLN’s locals) The Gosforth Hotel, The County and art bar Barca.


Speaking of Barca, there’s no need to pre-book over at their Tynemouth outpost either, or at nearby neighbour, Head of Steam. Sticking to the seaside, swanky cocktail bar How Do You Do is another prime spot for a casual, coastal catch-up, as is The Ship’s Cat – little sister outpost of Newcastle’s Mean-Eyed Cat – while The Quay Tap House is just waiting to give you your summertime fix of tapas and sangria as though we were already in August, (but inside, just in case it rains. Obvs).

Black Storm Tap House’s Whitley Bay lodgings have finally reopened indoors – hurrah! – and will be serving up their craft beers, cider and gin to walk-ins here as well as over at their Royal Quays set up. And in between the two, Fox and Finch has a drinks selection extensive enough to satisfy even the pickiest of pallets, alongside a tapas menu with a modern twist. So there’s really no excuse not to visit.

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