Play Hard

6 new openings in Newcastle

We’ve got a right mixed bag for you this month. As well as the hottest new food and drinks spots, we’ve discovered an intimate wellbeing studio, a relocated bookshop (complete with library ladders), and a revolutionary new way to shop for specs…

Written by Becky Hardy
Published 16.08.2023


233 Chillingham Road, Heaton, Newcastle upon Tyne NE6 5LJ

We’ve been excited about this one.

Talk about a concept. This new pop-up bar (from the owners of Heaton hard-hitters NEST and FLIGHT), will be themed around six cities for four weeks at a time.

Having started “in” Mexico City – with a suitably inspired drinks menu that includes plenty of cocktails based around tequila – Layover is set to jet off to New York, Tokyo, Havana and Rome all before the end of the year, each bringing their own signature serves to the Toon.

Layover is actually operating at the front of a renovation site, where the team are currently working on bringing new bistro HIDE to life behind the scenes.

On New Year’s Eve, there’s a huge party in the works that will mark the end of Layover’s tenure; then, come 2024, HIDE will officially open on the same site.

Image credit: Lauwri


19 East Parade, Whitley Bay NE26 1AP

Whitley Bay’s newest opening is nestled along the newly renovated East Esplanade promenade, promising an idyllic spot from which to drink in the scenic stretch of sea and sand in these parts.

Serving an intimate menu of grazing plates all day – including breakfasts and bottomless brunch deals – stop by this dog-friendly, coastal retreat and enjoy views of St Mary’s Lighthouse from anywhere in their two-floor restaurant.

Or, if it’s something a little livelier you’re after, their outside terrace hosts monthly DJs and regular BBQ special events, for more of a beach party kinda vibe.

You can even just pop by for a coffee – their brews promise to be among the best in the Bay, courtesy of Cullercoats Coffee.

Thursday – Saturday: 8.30am – 9pm

Sunday: 8.30am – 7pm



27 Ashburton Road, Gosforth, Newcastle upon Tyne NE3 4XD

Ok, so this one isn’t officially open just yet, but FAB Bakery have been giving us sneak previews of what we can expect from their new Gosforth bakery by hosting regular pop-ups in the property, and they have delivered.

Just like their Fenham outpost, here you can expect fresh, handmade artisan bread and bakes, and that ultimate feeling of cosiness when you step inside.

Keep your eyes peeled on their socials for a designated opening date – we’re expecting one imminently.

Wednesday – Thursday: 8.30am – 4pm

Friday: 9am – 5pm

Saturday: 9am – 3pm 



93–97 Park View, Whitley Bay NE26 3RJ

This is less of a new opening rather than a new relocation.

Keel Row Books is already the longest established antiquarian and second-hand bookshop in the North East. They travel countrywide to buy and sell rare, first-edition and second-hand books, as well as maps, photographs and ephemera.

But just last week they finalised their move from their former North Shields base to their new home on Whitley Bay’s famous Park View – and it’s every book worm’s dream.

They’ve relocated a cool 40,000 books into the new space, which contains evocative period features and library ladders (you know the ones). Better still, the new premises is entirely carbon neutral.

Monday – Saturday: 10am – 5pm



Eldon Square, Newcastle upon Tyne NE1 7JB

These fashion glasses retailer are hoping to revolutionise the way we buy specs here in the North East, having already established outposts across the country that focus on competitive pricing, speedy delivery and a high level of customer service.

The beauty with Pop Specs is you can literally pop in and get your specs sorted. Because they use high-tech, cutting-edge machinery on site to make and cut lenses to fit individual prescriptions there and then, your glasses can be collected just 20 minutes after you’ve ordered them.

New designs and styles arrive every six weeks, so you can always be ahead of the fashion curve. And better again, anti-glare and scratch resistant coated lenses come as part of the frames’ standard price.

Monday – Saturday: 9am – 7pm

Sunday: 11am – 5pm



6 Percy Park Road, Tynemouth NE30 4LY

This intimate wellbeing studio has opened in the heart of Tynemouth.

With wellbeing at the heart of everything they do, Karma Coast Collective – founded by Karma Coast – is a place to move, breathe, rest, feel, reflect, grow, create, connect and share. The spaces inside are offered to trusted practitioners who run a weekly timetable of group and private wellbeing services: from yoga to movement, and breathwork to meditation classes.

The 1-to-1 space inside is occupied by holistic therapists specialising in counselling and psychotherapy, as well as reiki, somatic experience and mindfulness.

And, every month, Karma Coast Collective host workshops and events aimed at bringing the local community together, including screenings, educational talks and live music.

Monday – Friday: 6.30am – 8.30pm

Saturday – Sunday: 9am – 5pm  

Other stories by Becky Hardy

6 indie coffee shops Newcastle wide to get your autumn brews

Becky Hardy
Fenwick Santa on the Roof Registration 2023

Register for Fenwick’s Santa on the Roof 2023 tickets now

Becky Hardy
Sunderland Restaurant Week 2023

9 restaurants we’re visiting this Sunderland Restaurant Week 2023

Becky Hardy

8 alternative things to do in Durham for couples

Becky Hardy

12 new coffee shops, restaurants and bars in Newcastle, Sunderland and Durham

Becky Hardy

What’s on in the North East this September

Becky Hardy