Play Hard

26 reasons to visit Heaton, Newcastle

From breakfast to late-night cocktails, this hip nook of Newcastle has everything.

Written by Becky Hardy
Published 09.05.2023

For too long now, the suburb of Heaton, Newcastle upon Tyne, has lived in the shadows of its more ostentatious counterparts: Jesmond and the Ouseburn Valley.

But listen up, guys: Heaton is cool.

With investment being ploughed into the area and the community retaining its strong sense of inimitable identity, Heaton is becoming the place to visit if you’re wanting a relaxed, innovative, bloody good time.

 

BREAKFAST AND BRUNCH

Fork in the Rose

63 Heaton Road, Heaton, Newcastle upon Tyne NE6 5HE

A firm HLN fave, this breakfast café-cum-florist is child-friendly, dog-friendly, and an all-round blooming welcoming place.

Their locally grown flowers, which seem to pop up out of every surface, can’t help but put a smile on your face, while their substantial breakfasts (including honey-baked feta avocado and pea smash, eggs Benedict and, of course, a full English) will keep you grinning all day long.

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Neighbourhood Heaton

214 Chillingham Road, Heaton, Newcastle upon Tyne NE6 5LP

We’ve been beyond excited for Neighbourhood Heaton – the first sit-in café from local coffee connoisseurs North Shore Coffee Co. – to finally open its doors, and now it has.

These renowned roasters have been popping up everywhere in their mobile van for the last 10 years, bringing with them their belter blends (both hot and cold) that provide us with everything we need to set the world to rights. And now their café empire begins…

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Butterfly Cabinet

200 Heaton Road, Heaton, Newcastle upon Tyne NE6 5HP

Whether you’ve lived in Newcastle all your life or you’ve only visited for a weekend, there’s a high chance you’ll have heard of the Butterfly Cabinet – and with good reason.

This quirky, all-day breakfast spot tends to have queues out of the door and around the corner over the weekends, such is the prestige of their pancakes. The boho, art-filled (and very Instagrammable) vibe and weekly live music sessions don’t hurt, either.

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The Whale’s Head

413 Chillingham Road, Heaton, Newcastle upon Tyne NE6 5QU

If you’re a coffee connoisseur looking for your next favourite blend, then look no further than The Whale’s Head.

A hotspot with Heaton locals, speciality lattes are the name of the game at this coffeehouse and bakery, with every kind of flavour imaginable and latte art that’s guaranteed to put a smile on your face (and likes on your Insta).

Plus, The Whale’s Head sell speciality coffee by the bag, if you’re wanting to recreate the ultimate caffeine hit at home.

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Smoke and Sear

182 Heaton Road, Heaton, Newcastle upon Tyne NE6 5HP

This dog-friendly, barbecue-grill kitchen is a hotspot for Heaton’s early risers, with sophisticated breakfast, brunch and lunch dishes that are as hearty as they are delicious.

Famous for their live fire cooking, Smoke and Sear are known to rustle everything up from steak and chip butties (which are a work of art) and your classic full English with added panache, to truffle mac ‘n’ cheese bombs and Terry’s chocolate orangoffle (a sinfully sweet waffle concoction). But their hash browns alone are worth the trip.

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Bubbl Tea Bar

195 Chillingham Road, Heaton, Newcastle upon Tyne NE6 5LH

If you’re more of a bubble tea babe than a coffee connoisseur, then Bubbl Tea Bar is your vibe.

You can find every flavour of this Taiwanese recipe (tea, milk, fruit and tasty tapioca pearls) imaginable at this Chillingham Road joint, from creamy milk blends to refreshing fruit teas and unique yoghurt bursts.

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Zee’s

132 Heaton Park Road, Heaton, Newcastle upon Tyne NE6 5NR

Popular coffee shop Zee’s have been going for just over a year, but they’ve made one heck of an impact on Heaton’s hospitality scene.

You’ll also find the Zee’s team at local markets, serving up their brews and iced coffee to the masses, but we’ve got a soft spot for their Heaton Park Road base – in which you’ll find a cracking collection of homemade pastries, cake, toasties (you can build your own), sweet treats (including the best cinnamon buns ever) and coffee, coffee, coffee.

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Estate Tea Company

84 Heaton Road, Heaton, Newcastle upon Tyne NE6 5HL

If you’re tasteful about your tea, then you need to pop by the Estate Tea Company.

They take the nation’s favourite brew to whole new levels, priding themselves, as independent tea merchants, on finding the finest and rarest single estate, small batch loose-leaf teas the world has to offer. Book brunch while you’re there – their menu is inspired by dishes from all the countries their teas are sourced from.

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LUNCH

Redheads Mac ‘n’ Cheese

206 Chillingham Road, Heaton, Newcastle upon Tyne NE6 5LN

A street-food stalwart in the North East, we’re delighted to see Redheads have decided to open a dedicated mac ‘n’ cheese joint that provides all that gooey goodness seven days a week.

Expect only the most inventive iterations of this carby classic – with everything from chicken tikka to Philly cheese steak flavours on the menu.

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The Big Banh

280 Chillingham Road, Heaton, Newcastle upon Tyne NE6 5LQ

When it comes to authentic, Vietnamese scran, there are few better eateries in the North East than The Big Banh.

Connoisseurs of the light, airy baguettes known as banh mi, filled with all manner of savoury concoctions (such as pork belly simmered in soy stock and sticky glaze – a personal fave), and Vietnamese coffee to wash it all down with, they know how to do lunchtimes right.

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Burger Drop

33 Heaton Road, Heaton, Newcastle upon Tyne NE4 9BL

Imagine travelling hundreds of miles for ‘that’ burger… waiting all week just to taste ‘that’ burger… telling all your family and friends about ‘that’ burger…

Well, Burger Drop have made it their mission to be the ones delivering that burger.

Another smart addition to Heaton’s burgeoning foodie scene, Burger Drop’s craft burgers will have you falling in love at first bite.

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Dot Bagels

250 Chillingham Road, Heaton, Newcastle upon Tyne NE6 5LQ

If you’ve been hiding under a rock for the last couple of years, then one thing you need to know about Dot Bagels is that they are not your average bagel.

Taking inspiration from the iconic New York bagel and reinventing what it means for their North East customers, these dexterous dough-makers hand-make real good bagels with proper good fillings – we’re talking everything from Parmos and reubens to onion bhajis.

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AFTERNOON SNACKING

Lily Tree Bakery

61 Heaton Road, Heaton, Newcastle upon Tyne NE6 5HE

Heaton Road’s Lily Tree Bakery is your ultimate destination for good, honest comfort food.

Be it corned beef pie and cheese scones or slices of carrot cake and caramel-filled muffins, this neighbourhood bakery has you sorted. Better still, they’re a proud gluten-free, nut-free and soya-free bakery, so everyone can indulge here.

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Heaton Perk

103–105 Heaton Park Road, Heaton, Newcastle upon Tyne NE6 5NR

The perfect place to catch up with friends, this cosy coffee shop is a much-loved stalwart of the Heaton foodie scene.

Ideal for a mid-playtime pitstop if you’ve been up to Heaton Park, you (and your pups) will find Heaton Park to be a handy base in which to refuel – either wrapped up with a warming brew in the winter or with an iced coffee on the terrace when the sun shines, (and enjoying plenty of slices of everything nice whatever the weather).

Serving sweets, savouries, hot drinks, cold drinks and with seats aplenty both indoors and out, it’s the kinda café that’ll always be there for you.

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DINNER

Nest

258–260 Chillingham Road, Heaton, Newcastle upon Tyne NE6 5LQ

Nest made quite a name for itself when it first opened in 2021 – namely because it proved so popular, you couldn’t book a table for months.

But while the hysteria surrounding this fine dining restaurant has certainly settled down, admiration for Nest hasn’t diminished. The team here recognised that everyone should be able to enjoy a superb dining experience, so you don’t have to break the bank to tuck into their eight-course tasting menu, (with optional wine flight).

If you just fancy snacking, visit through the day; and don’t miss their now-famous Sunday lunches.

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Boquerones Tapas and Cocktails

194A Heaton Road, Heaton, Newcastle upon Tyne NE6 5HP

Bringing the best of traditional and modern Spanish tapas to Newcastle, Boquerones is a must-visit if your idea of heaven involves a banging picky tea.

You’ve got all your Spanish staples on the menu here – Manchego cheese, Serrano ham, Padron peppers, patatas bravas, croquetas, tortilla Espanola – including sangria and wine from Spain’s finest vineyards, plus a cocktail menu that grows by the week.

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Flint

218A Chillingham Road, Heaton, Newcastle upon Tyne NE6 5LP

Neapolitan pizza and natural wine bar Flint has become a real hit with Heaton locals since it opened back in 2019, and it’s easy to see why.

It epitomises everything this bohemian neighbourhood is all about: bringing people together in relaxed vibes by reimagining the simple stuff and doing it really, really well.

Head down any day of the week and the joint will be buzzing with customers hungry for some of the most inventive pizza topping combos out there.

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rebel

150 Heaton Park Road, Heaton, Newcastle upon Tyne NE6 5NR 

When it comes to going against the grain, rebel are pros.

These guys have forged a path in the local fine dining scene whilst remaining committed to using small business suppliers and only the most seasonal and sustainably sourced produce.

The first restaurant for head chef Lindsay Rushton – formerly of Newcastle’s Michelin-starred House of Tides and Jesmond Dene House – tuck into a seven-course tasting menu at rebel (with optional natural wine pairing) and savour the very best North East flavours.

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Sobremesa

207A Chillingham Road, Heaton, Newcastle upon Tyne NE6 5LJ

If it’s a laidback night out with friends you’re after, neighbourhood wine bar Sobremesa is a great shout.

Specialising in some of the most innovative and highest quality Spanish wines on the market, as well as authentic Pintxos and sharing boards, you can spend your evening here supping, snacking and socialising to your heart’s content.

Heck, you can even take a Spanish class while you’re at it.

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DRINKS

flight

188C Heaton Road, Heaton, Newcastle upon Tyne NE6 5HP

From the team behind quality dining joint (and neighbour) Nest comes Flight: the stylish cocktail bar Heaton had been missing until this year.

Offering a range of beer, quality wines, spirits and (of course) cocktails in elegant surroundings, Flight is a date-night dream: with cosy vibes, ambient lighting, lavish seating (hello peacock chairs) and a forever-lively buzz to the place.

Open seven days a week, there’s at least 28 different cocktails to try – so you best get started.

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Elder Beer Café

290 Chillingham Road, Heaton, Newcastle upon Tyne NE6 5LQ

One of Heaton’s quirkier and most beloved establishments, Elder Beer Café is a hip bar and beer shop that regularly hosts live events, (we’re talking everything from poetry nights to record shop pop-ups and gigs) and boasts one of the cutest beer gardens around.

Head down any day of the week and mingle with some of the neighbourhoods more artistic types while you sample some of the coolest new brews on the craft beer market.

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Tipsy Toad

76 Heaton Road, Heaton, Newcastle upon Tyne NE6 5HL

You’ll find all manner of quality craft ales and spirits, both local and international, in this quirky micro-pub, right in the heart of Heaton.

A popular one with locals (and their pups), what marks the Tipsy Toad out from the crowd are their live events, with everything from poker nights and pub quizzes to their Busker’s Corner every Thursday, which shines a spotlight on promising live music acts from around the North East.

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Block & Bottle

188 Heaton Road, Heaton, Newcastle upon Tyne NE6 5HP

The UK’s first dedicated free-range butcher and craft beer bottle shop, Block & Bottle have developed something akin to a cult following in the North East since opening in 2017 – and the hype isn’t cooling off anytime soon.

After all, there really are few shops you can visit that are brimming with locally sourced meat in every cut imaginable (their hand-crafted charcuterie selection is particularly divine), alongside a kaleidoscopic selection of natural wines and craft beers spotlighting North East and UK breweries.

And there are far fewer who also let you plonk yourself down and sup while you browse. Belter.

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HIDE

237–239 Chillingham Road, Heaton, Newcastle upon Tyne NE6 5LJ

Set to open in July, HIDE will be the Nest team’s third Heaton hotspot (and counting).

Promising to be a stylish new bistro when it opens on the former Brownie Bar site on Chillingham Road, visitors to HIDE can expect “good food at an affordable price”, with a menu made up of seasonal dishes.

And from the photos we’ve seen of the project so far – which show cosy, nest-inspired interiors, a timelessly-styled bar and private dining room – we’re already imagining HIDE to fast become our new favourite after-work dinner spot.

Storehouse NCL

84 Heaton Road, Heaton, Newcastle upon Tyne NE6 5HL

Come sundown, Estate Tea Co. transforms from a tea-drinkers heaven to a hip neighbourhood café-bar serving, you guessed it, speciality tea-infused cocktails.

Not that they’re all you’ll find on the drinks list here, mind you. The Japanese beers and selected sake you’ll find here mark this cosy bolthole out from the crowd, while lovers of a cheeky glass of vino (or two) will find a natural wine list to rival the best.

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The Heaton Tap

41A Warton Terrace, Heaton, Newcastle upon Tyne NE6 5LS

This micro-pub and bottle shop is a beer lover’s paradise, with an ever-changing selection of craft beers and real ales that has seen the Tap make it into the CAMRA Good Beer Guide again for 2023.

A real community hub, pop in any night and you’ll likely find some kind of event on, with everything from pub quiz nights to home brew clubs and book groups.

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