Hassrale 30th Anniversary trip to Newcastle-upon-Tyne

October 11th, 2009

Friday 9th October 2009

Hassrale had its inaugural meeting on the 11th October 1979 so it seemed like a good idea to celebrate this by having a trip. I know that the actual club disappeared many years ago but as long as we still have a website we are still alive for me. Our trip was also intended to be a celebration of a trip that we did to the same city in 1988 and perhaps a chance to see how the place had changed. Friday 9th October saw us on the 11:00 am train from Kings Cross to Newcastle. Getting into Newcastle station we were greeted by our old friend Tom Roll and after dumping our bags in the Royal Station Hotel we convened in the Centurion bar at the station. This used to be the first class waiting room but is now a very pleasant bar serving at least four real ales.



We then proceeded up the road to Tilleys Bar which appears to be part of the Head of Steam empire in Newcastle. This was a nice modern looking bar which promised a free film theater with a  reasonable line up for that evening but sadly we couldn’t stay.



Walking only a few yards on we came to the Bodega which has a nice old fashioned interior and yet again a good range of local beers. There were a few TV screens but at this time of day it was fairly quiet.



Walking past some of Newcastle’s old walls we came to Stowell street which is famous for its Chinese restaurants, especially the all you can eat buffets.


Towards the end of Stowell street we popped into Rosies bar but unfortunately they only had one real ale on so we skipped this and moved onto the Newcastle Arms just across the road. The pubs were not getting somewhat noisy and busy but it was Friday night. Again an excellent range of real ale here.


Leaving here we had a bit of a walk to Bacchus which is a large and very busy pub but with a good range of real ale. However by now I was flagging so I left the drinking to Tom and John, I think they went onto the Union Rooms but who knows!

Saturday 10th October 2009

The next morning we had a leisurely breakfast and then bought day rover tickets on the Metro (about £3.60 I think) and headed out to North Shields.


Arriving at North Shields we had some difficuly getting our bearings but eventually we found the Oddfellows, a quiet pub on our visit. I was taken by the free soup sign outside but nobody tried this.


I liked the video screen showing old pictures of the area plus the fact that they had their own pub glasses.



Leaving here we headed to the Magnesia Bank.


Another quiet pub though a wedding party came in while we were there. Seemed to specialize in food though the beer was again in good condition.


We now descended the slope towards the Tyne intending to go to the ferry but before we did that there was time for a drink in the Porthole.


Nice interior with some interesting decorations


We now just had enough time to catch the ferry to South Shields (though we were told that the locals call it just Shields). Luckily our day rover tickets covered us for the ferry as well.


Getting off the ferry it was a short walk to the Allum House


A fairly busy pub but we had no difficulty getting a seat. Can’t actually remember too much about this pub, was the beer getting to me? We then set off for the Steam Boat where I got a friendly welcome from the bar staff who were pleased that they had just received a award from Camra as the joint best pub in the North East of England. I must admit it was a very nice pub, good beer and a interesting interior.



We now headed back to the ferry and over to North Shields where we returned to the Metro station. We then took the Metro back towards central Newcastle getting off at Byker in sight of the famous Byker Wall. We then had a bit of a walk to the Cumberland Arms.


This had a good range of beer but was busy and they seemed to be doing some refurbishment so we sat outside (and made the acquaintance of the pub cat).


We then headed down the hill towards the Cluny.


The Cluny was a large very busy pub with a fairly young but arty type clientele. Good beer but too noisy for us old folks. I have to admit that at this point i gave up drinking and went for a curry but then I’m not as young as I once was.

Sunday 11th October 2009

On our final day we were intending to do a few pubs but in fact ended up spending the lunch hour in the Centurion Bar, the beer was in good condition and they had free food but we did do a little walk along the quayside first to get up a thirst. Here we saw the Cooperage which was the pub in which we finished our trip in 1988, sadly it has now closed but I took a picture for old times sake.


Pub Crawl Round the Strand – 24th June 2009

June 24th, 2009

I currently work in a building just off the Strand but I’m due to move down to Tothill Street near Victoria so it seemed to be a good idea to have a pub crawl round the Strand. Not that I wouldn’t come back in the future but you need an excuse. The Strand is a busy place with lots of tourists especially now during the summer months so it isn’t the best place to drink in London but there are a few reasonable places worth a visit. This was a short crawl and not all the pubs were worth a visit though to be fair they all served real ale in reasonable condition.

The first pub that we went into was the Lyceum which is on the Strand.


This is a Sam Smith’s pub and hence has what must be some of the cheapest beer in Central London. The Old Brewery Bitter is only £1.90 a pint. One thing to remember in Sam Smiths pubs is that they have their own variants of all the major beer types so if you want a stout you will have to drink Sam Smiths stout rather tan Guiness though again at £2.30 a pint its a lot cheaper than stout is normally.

The pub wasn’t that busy when I went in though it started to get busy downstairs. There is a fairly plush bar upstairs where they also serve food but we sat downnstairs which is fairly sparse.


Moving on from the Lyceum we walked a short distance west to The Wellington which was a much busier pub.


This has an extensive drinking area outside but this was very busy so we attempted to find a seat inside and we were lucky enough to do so. This is a Nicholsons InnI think and has a good range of real ales though in truth I can only remember the one that I had which was Taylors Landlord. Another pub which is big in food and tourists plus I think that they get quite a bit of theatre trade as there is a large one just up the road (which wa showing The Lion King).


We now dived off into the back streets, all the pubs looked very busy so in the end we came to The Maple Leaf in Maiden Lane.


This as you might guess is a Canadian themed pub and specialises in Canadian beer and sport so perhaps not a place I would normally drink but they did have Fullers London Pride and Greene King IPA so I can’t complain too much. Very busy so we ended up propping up the bar and watching the somewhat varied sports coverage on the numerous screens scattered about.

We walked on to the end of Maiden Lane and nearly to Charing Cross where we stopped at the Lemon Tree which is a small busy pub but we got lucky and found three empty stools by the window. The pub had several real ales though I can only remember drinking Sharps Doom Bar which was in good condition. This is a very pleasant pub but you would need to be very lucky to get a seat.


We decided to call it an evening at this point though there are several nice pubs nearby (though all very busy).