Play Hard

12 new openings in the North East that you’ll want to know about

From a unique retro Indian comfort food experience and a luxurious rooftop bar, to a mega-club, a new theatre and sustainable shops - here are the North East’s newest openings...

Written by Rachael Nichol
Published 25.09.2021


Khai Khai

Bringing a whole new dining concept to Newcastle, this Indian restaurant is said to be the first in the UK to offer a retro Indian comfort food experience. Of course, we all love a bit of comfort food, but mix that with the Indian cuisine and what’s not to love? 

Khai Khai has a unique smoke-and-fire cooking style, where all dishes are prepared using only fire. All their ingredients come from local suppliers and all their recipes are rooted in India’s culinary heritage – giving us that authentic, flavoursome taste that we love. 

Khai Khai, 29 Queen Street, Newcastle, NE1 3UG


Brunch lovers, this café and coffee shop is perfect for you. Nestled inside a historic listed gatehouse in Jesmond, Burds’ all-day brunch menu from renowned local chef Ross Sinclair has been a massive hit with new diners.

With ‘Eggs Benny’, nduja baked eggs with goats’ cheese, fennel and Spanish toast and their best-selling beetroot and goat’s cheese salad all on their locally sourced menu, here you can really level up your brunch game.

Burds, The Gatehouse, Fleming Business Centre, Burdon Terrace, Jesmond, NE2 3AE


It’s safe to say we all love a good Italians here at HLN, and all of our carby cravings will be satisfied with these tasty Italian tapas. Right in the heart of Whitley Bay, this family-run deli and trattoria also offers pasta, pizza and street food in the restaurant, on their alfresco terrace or as a takeaway. 

Tuscan-born owner Pablo brings authentic recipes from Italy and high-quality ingredients from local suppliers to his mouth-watering menu – so you know you’re getting the real deal.

Pranzo, 16 Station Road, Whitley Bay, NE26 2RA


5 Quarter 

Enjoy food and drinks in the grand surroundings of one of the Toon’s most historic. 5 Quarter café bar has opened within The Common Room on Westgate Road, formerly known as the Mining Institute, and it’s seriously impressive.

After a two year refurbishment, this beautiful bar has recently opened its doors, serve us innovative cocktails, classic wines, artisan beers and a range of hot beverages alongside locally sourced food. So sit back and relax in this stylish, warm and welcoming bar and immerse yourself in our local heritage. 

5 Quarter, The Common Room, Neville Hall, Westgate Road, Newcastle, NE1 1SE


They’ve brought us Barluga, Bealim House and Blake’s, now the Vaulkhard Group have launched a new gem – Castro’s. Offering us Latin-inspired drinks, including cocktails and – for you rum lovers – this Cuban bar offers the largest rum selection in the North East.

Not forgetting their Cuban-themed food, including traditional chicken, fish, and rice dishes, as well as some gems from Cuba’s neighbouring Caribbean islands and countries in South America. Get all those Latino vibes right in the heart of Newcastle.

Castro’s, 3-5 Hood Street, Newcastle, NE1 6JQ

Zarabanda Bing Bing

Think sunshine, seafood and sophisticated cocktails. As jetting off to Ibiza looks very unlikely this year, the former As You Like It has been transformed into an exotic, Balearic paradise.

This new bar-restaurant is the perfect antidote to the advancing autumn blues, capturing the mood of 70’s Ibiza with a unique sense of style, kick-back music and Spanish-infused menu – who needs a holiday?

Zarabanda Bing Bing, TWO, Jesmond Three Sixty, Newcastle, NE2 1DB

The Lofts

After more than a year of empty dancefloors, it’s time to get back on them. And this new super club will let us do just that. 

Formerly the Eden and Tiger Tiger site on Newgate Street, the 1,500-capacity club – split into three rooms with a groundbreaking sound system – brings a wealth of nightlife experience from the Balearics and beyond. Good time vibes only! 

The Lofts, Newgate Street, Newcastle, NE1 5RE


It’s the one that we’ve all been waiting for… the £2 million luxurious rooftop bar and restaurant located on the roof of Vermont Hotel is now open. Your breath will be taken away as you take in the stunning 360-degree views of Newcastle city and our iconic Quayside with an espresso martini in your hand.

There’s nothing like it in the Toon. ABOVE is the go-to place for some sophistication, whether that be for a wedding, day drinking spot or a night out, the Gainford Group gives you the feeling of being at a New York skyline rooftop bar.


ABOVE, Vermont Hotel, Dean Street, Newcastle, NE1 1QR

The Crescendo

When we thought one rooftop bar was enough, the Gainford Group has gifted us with another one– and we love the indulgence! The Crescendo is tucked between listed buildings on Newcastle’s Quayside making it an ideal spot to sip your cocktails. 

The three-tier bar has panoramic views taking in Dean Street and the surrounding (gorgeous) historic architecture. So drink in those peaceful vibes sitting with a bird’s eye view of the Toon’s skyline watching the world go by. 

The Crescendo, Side, Newcastle, NE1 3JA


Laurels Theatre 

The Olivier award-winning Theatre N16 has opened new theatre in Whitley Bay. Above buzzy tapas bar Laurels, Laurels Theatre will be the perfect spot to listen to big stories and see upcoming talent before their names are up in lights. 

This exciting new venue offers a chilled out, accessible space to bring live theatre, visual arts and comedy together. Not forgetting the tasty tapas and a brilliant bar downstairs serving us the best interval snacks and beverages. Founded by award-winning theatre producer Jamie Eastlake and writer and filmmaker Stephen Robertson, Laurels aims to provide a hub for artists and tapas lovers alike. 

Laurels Theatre, 212 Whitley Road, Whitley Bay NE26 2TA


Replenished by the Bay

With the mission to promote and protect our local area and encourage others to shop more sustainably, this Whitley Bay store is one to pay a visit to. Replenished by the Bay offers eco-friendly, reduced waste or refillable and locally sourced products. 

They’ve really thought of everything. From pantry essentials and homeware to beauty and hygiene, baby and even pet products, owner Georgie helps protect the environment one household product at a time.  

Replenished by the Bay, 101 Park View, Whitley Bay, NE26 3RJ



Behålla store brings us consciously created goods all under one roof. Offering second-hand clothing and homeware, as well as championing independent makers, they make it easy for us to shop ethically while still making sure we have beautiful items in our lives.

Focusing on timeless and quality goods, here you can revamp your wardrobe and bring something unique into your home that none of your friends have – all of this whilst helping the environment. It’s a winner!

Behålla, 99 Park View, Whitley Bay, NE26 3RJ

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