Newcastle Upon Tyne City Guide
Despite its portrayal as the fake-tanned ‘Geordie Shore’, Newcastle upon Tyne is an extremely diverse city in terms of nightlife. Aside from the regular chart-popping clubs, it plays host to one of the biggest house scenes in the UK. Boasting massive capacity clubs and huge live events featuring major names in the dance and tech world, Newcastle is actually a hub for the dance music enthusiast – almost the North Eastern mecca for the modern house head.
Newcastle’s Best Clubs
With a 1,400 capacity and a multitude of rooms Digital is the biggest and best club in Newcastle. The mammoth club hosts a range of nights playing something to suit everyone; 80s pop, indie tunes, r&b and hip-hop and a serious amount of dance and house. But what makes Digital stand out is its incredible sound system – the Funktion One Dance Stack. Reputedly there’s only a handful in the world and they’ve got four, so it’s something pretty special to hear. Voted DJmag’s Best British Club it has a reputation for excellence, and still sees people travel across the country to visit the so-called “Fabric of the North”. A key factor in its success has been its frequent and incredible live events. This year has already seen Disclosure, Benny Benassi, Bauuer, Eddie Halliwell, Netsky and Two Inch Punch, to name a few. By no means glamourous but by no means bland, Digital is the club of choice for the dance enthusiast.
Recommended night: LOVE Saturdays. One room of commercial house, one room of anything and everything, one hip-hop room and one deep house room.
True to its name, this is probably the most glamorous of Newcastle’s clubs and a regular party hotspot for celebrities such as Drake, Will.I.Am and Cheryl Cole. Open and raring to go every night of the week, the Palace is never short of guests looking for reasonable drinks and good music. The musical focus of the club is generally hip-hop oriented, but commercial house and dubstep play their part too.
Recommended night: Ice Cream Tuesdays. A hip-hop night playing everything from old school Biggie to brand new A$AP.
Take one dirty basement, fill it with people, add cheap drinks into the equation and you have Legends. The kind of club you would never enter sober but always a great night regardless. Its cheap alcohol and good music is becoming ever more popular, particularly with students. On a typical night it’s so busy that some people have nowhere to dance but on tables. In simple terms it’s gritty but great.
Recommended night: Black Light Thursdays. A dangerously cheap house music night.
The strange but fantastic thing about House of Smith is that it manages to combine two things you rarely see: deep house events with serious class. Usually house lovers are banished to dirty basements and dim-lit warehouses, but this club offers a champagne and chandelier style venue for the deep house crowd.
Recommended night: LOOP Wednesdays. A deep house night, often hosting live events with names such as Waze & Odyssey, Burnski and Krystal Klear.
Bars in Newcastle
Once a Victorian brothel, this trendy cocktail bar is massively popular among students and locals alike. The décor is vintage chic, the music is deep house and the staff are friendly. They offer great food at value price and an inventive cocktail menu. A lot of its popularity comes from the way it operates like a local pub, with quizzes and live local bands. By mixing the hospitality and comfort of a local pub with the style and pizzazz of a cocktail bar, Nancy’s Bordello is a rare treasure.
Before we discuss Mimo we must first give a brief introduction to the Trebles bar. Newcastle is home to (and famous for) bars dedicated to serving triple measures at astronomically cheap prices, usually around £5 for 3 trebles. How it is legal to serve 9 measures of vodka for a fiver baffles me, but is an amazing idea. Now, Mimo. These days it is one of the most popular of the trebles bars mainly due to its decoration. Candy skulls and palm trees everywhere and a secret garden style smoking area make it right on point with young trend. It’s a cheap and easy bar on the side streets, just far enough away from the madding crowd, and a perfect pre-drink spot before a big night.
This is a truly unique bar in Newcastle, as instead of following the crowd and specialising in trebles The Empress’ unique aspect is its bomb bar. Their extensive range of over 30 bombs range from awful concoctions of absinthe, milk and tabasco sauce to sweet mixtures of sherbet and apple vodka that are all guaranteed to get you plastered. And if that isn’t enough, you can get a gas chamber to really put you on your backside.
This is another of the more popular trebles bars. It operates more as a small club than a bar – there are very few tables, it’s always heaving with people and the entire space is a dance floor. With its cheap drinks and good atmosphere Bijoux is a trebles bar for the more glamorous of the student pre-drinkers.
So it’s not technically in Newcastle city centre, but it is in Jesmond, which is close enough. It’s also the second most popular area of Newcastle and home of most of the huge student population. It’s another bar-cross-pub serving food, showing live sport and offering cheap drinks deals. When the sun is shining in the North East (which is very rare) you’ll be sure to find Spy’s beer garden full of the toon’s finest.
Eating Out in Newcastle
The sophisticated design of this Asian restaurant sets it apart from its competitors. It is both a bar and a restaurant so it suits all occasions, and the food is excellent (they also make a mean cocktail). As a recommendation, try the Asian Tapas – a selection of bite-sized dishes to satisfy your spice cravings.
This Japanese and Teppan-Yaki restaurant is situated close to Newcastle’ bustling Chinatown. There are eight teppanyaki grill stations where you can sit and watch the chefs. They also offer sushi and sashimi dishes for the more cultured among you. The décor is so-so, but you don’t go to a restaurant to eat the wallpaper, do you?
As You Like It
This is our second Jesmond bar to feature on the list. Voted the ‘7th sexiest restaurant in the world’ by the Observer, As You Like It’s focus on local produce and good homemade food is a winning hit. They serve everything from classic English pub food to Greek, Mexican and even Israeli cuisine, but all made from ingredients found across the North East of England.
And Eating In
One of the best things to grace Newcastle (if not the world) this is exactly what it says on the tin. Perfectly cooked desserts, drinks and American candy delivered to your door as a takeaway service. They sell homemade cheesecakes, brownies, waffles and tarts, served with homemade ice cream and fresh cream. The cherry on top is the price – at around £2.50 including delivery it’s difficult not to get Desserts Delivered every day.
And the rest
All the charms of a classic castle and its grounds, but this castle is unique: it was Hogwarts in the first two Harry Potter films. It was the location of the first Quidditch lesson in Harry Potter and The Philosopher’s Stone and the crash landing of the flying car in Harry Potter and The Chamber of Secrets. So if you want to see the gardens, get a history fix or just nerd out wizard style, this is a good day out for you.
No city centre is complete without a vast range of places to shop. Newcastle certainly complies, with its endless streets of stores and massive Eldon Square shopping centre.
Just on the outskirts of Newcastle in Gateshead, this is the largest shopping centre in the UK. It has five malls, over 50 restaurants, a cinema and a chapel, so there is certainly a lot to fill a day with.