The ferry from South to North Shields isn’t quite free, but is included in the cost of an all-zones Metro ticket.  So it made no sense to swim across the Tyne to my next pub. And at least you don’t get “Ferry Cross the Mersey” assailing you on the trip.

North Shields.PNG

View to Fish Quay

A fairly functional 5 minute journey doesn’t quite compete with the epic sweep of the Woolwich Ferry, but North Shields itself remains as alluring as any ancient port in England.  The Gravesend of the North, perhaps.

It’s home to the photographic legend that is Electric Pics, as well as this equally legendary pub owned by Sir Humphrey.

Prince of Wales aka Wooden Dolly

A decade ago North Shields had some Beer Guide entries to match Tyneside’s best; Magnesia Bank had the beer range, the Prince of Wales had the OBB and crab sandwiches, and Oddfellows was, er, idiosyncratic. This year we just have the Exchange, a bar/café/performance venue in the Good Book.

There’s some beautiful pubs round here, or ex-pubs in the case of the Crane House.


But the highlight of any visit are the steep steps from Bell St to Tyne St, where I was overtaken by a “Rocky” impersonator in training for his next fight.

25 seconds worth of hell
Rocky at the top

The view was worth the near coronary caused by trying to keep up with him

The Exchange

Reminiscent of the Courtyard in Washington (one of Simon’s GBG gaps), the Exchange was a little quiet on Saturday lunchtime apart from some “Ladies Who Lunch”. Does the whole of Tyneside go on holiday to Seaton Carew in the winter ?

More art

That isn’t great when you’ve got four local beers to turn over.

Choice v quality

The first one (on the left of the bar) was, as I politely put it “on the turn“.  The replacement, offered with grace, was that Thomas Brown on a busy-looking hand pump, and was very good (NBSS 3.5). Most real people won’t bother playing the Cask Ale Lottery.


The sign on the bar advertised chorizo and chick pea soup, which was just the ticket for £3.50 as I warmed up for the next pub. And the service was cheery, with the barman calling me “Buddy” 7 times in 27.5 minutes, a new retiredmartin record.

I still have no idea about the trees.

No idea

Next stop, Draught Bass.





  1. I am Sir, humbled. Great to see a visitor’s impressions of my town which pretty much mirror my own views. Cask beer has had better times – we even had a real ale trail with 11 pubs!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. “And at least you don’t get “Ferry Cross the Mersey” assailing you on the trip.”


    “Rocky at the top”

    A good one to post so soon after Roger Bannister’s death. Apparently he used to sprint up 150ft of steps in Bath where he went to school.


    * – note the lack of ‘heh’ once again. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  3. The Prince is/was a decent Sams, I remember enjoying the Porthole as well last time I trawled round the Metro, but I see it’s gone now.
    The Exchange is the sort of place where presumably quality depends greatly on what is happening there at the time. I’ve always found it a bit surprising how well the Cluny seems to tick over for the number of beers it offers.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Good point; I guess the Cluny is more than a good gig venue; last year it was full of burger munchers (who weren’t gig-goers) while the Cumberland was quiet. The centre of Newcastle moves ever eastward.


      1. At a guess, no. The Steamboat in South went from strength to strength, that Marine I went to was very good, but we lost the Maltings. Magnesia Bank not what it was etc etc. I’d still happily do a pub crawl round the best of them and finish at an Indian on Ocean drive.


  4. The exchange is the venue for Woodfest2018, the Society for Preservation of Beers from the Wood (SPBW) second annual extravaganza showcasing the brewers and coopers art. Some of us already have tickets and rooms booked! I’ve already seen the beer list and it’s impressive (there’s a sneak preview on – plug, plug).

    I hadn’t seen the venue before, although Rob Shacklock the organiser assured me it was decent, as usual he was right. I would really encourage people to attend this event in July. For the doubting Thomas’s amongst you I can assure you that good beers served from the wood have an extra dimension that plastic or aluminium cannot impart to the beer.

    American visitors last year were well impressed and I spent quite a bit of time with the people who came over from Chesapeake Bay SPBW branch.


  5. Russ missed it so I’ll do it…
    “And at least you don’t get “Ferry Cross the Mersey” assailing you on the trip.”

    But you should get ‘Fog on the Tyne’ surely…

    Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s