As you’ll know, all the best bits of Newcastle are actually in Seaton Sluice. But Gateshead has its attractions too, including some of the darkest, scariest roads outside of Harare (but better pub windows).
I was too early to make the BALTIC cutting-edge Christmas ceramics workshop, so had to make do with a couple of new GBG ticks that pretty much sum-up the ‘Heed.
Schooners Bar is a joyous 25 minute walk from the International Stadium metro through industrial estates down to the river. It reminded me of Sunderland’s Deptford pubs, if they were, for their sins, relocated to Dagenham docks.
Grief it was dark round there, but inside was warm and cheery, as buskers nights always are. A room of mostly middle-aged blokes (says he) with those gorgeous Geordie accents doing a pretty fair tribute to Loudon Wainwright Jnr, John Prine and the Sons of Bill.
Proper pub seating, chatty staff, and local beers. I loved it, though the Wylam Tankard (NBSS 3) wasn’t quite a match for the standard at the Boathouse.
I wasn’t looking forward to the trudge back into town via South Shore Road. I didn’t pass another soul for 20 minutes, and nearly trod on this thing. Two points for telling me what it is (or keep it to yourself).
The posh hotels around the Baltic belong to a different world, and for a minute all is middle-class loveliness as you pass the Sage.
Then there’s another few minutes of darkness and dead-ends before you see this wondrous sight;
The Central is a beautiful wedge-shaped pub, and another credit to Head of Steam. I couldn’t be bothered to ask to see the National Inventory features in the locked Buffet room; the atmosphere in the bar was too good to leave. I’m not sure what the Black Sheep Baa Baa Pale had in it, but it was gorgeous. As was the acoustic music; you’d pay £10 to hear music this good in that London.
Still slim pickings in central Gateshead to be honest, but high quality pickings nonetheless. I have some fond recollections of Draught Bass in the Borough, but you can investigate the fate of that one for yourselves.