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.
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.
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.
The view was worth the near coronary caused by trying to keep up with him
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 ?
That isn’t great when you’ve got four local beers to turn over.
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.
Next stop, Draught Bass.