Saturday, 23 February, 2019.
The rule of bar crawl is to get a drink at every bar on your chosen route in your town.
But Newcastle is the nightlife center of the UK. It has over 200 bars.
Since I can only handle 5 drinks, I decided to visit only the top 5 most iconic and most unusual bars (that I haven’t been to already ) in this sleepless Geordie city.
Since life never goes as planned, my bar crawl wasn’t perfect. And that was perfect.
I got a friend to help me out in this endeavor. We started out at the most iconic bar in town — her apartment.
1. Kotryna’s place.
We’re probably the only people in the world who do pre-drinks before bar-crawling.
My goal here was to stuff myself with nachos and salsa so the 5 drinks wouldn’t get me drunk as fast as they usually do. We also decided not to mix drinks that night and stick to gin and tonic — like the old ladies that we are.
2. As You Like It.
Such a famous bar. Such a disappointment.
There’s nothing iconic or unusual about it.
The Culture Trip says, “As You Like It is a bar and restaurant set across three floors and a garden terrace.” Never saw the second floor or the terrace. The ground floor area was too small, and the first floor was restaurant-only.
“This eclectic bar is one of the quirkiest in the city, with stripped-back walls, odd furniture and random trinkets all over.” No, no and nope.
Since there was nowhere to go and nowhere to sit, we hung out by the bar with our Blue Magic and Bloody Shiraz which cost us absurd £9.95 each ($13). They weren’t special.
And just like real ladies, we made up stories about people who passed us by: a boy followed by three sad girls; two douchebags who saw us going for two seats that had just opened up and still stole our spot.
3. The Holy Hobo.
The queue by the bar to get drinks took unbelievably long and there wasn’t any free space to sit down. But at least I could see where the “iconic” part of the bar was — the industrial water taps in the bathroom were my favorite thing.
The music was good and drinks fairly priced.
This is how Design My Night describes the bar: “With vintage leather sofas, a cosy fire place and bare brick walls, this charming den is as comfortable as your own living room.”
Finally, a description that reflects reality.
4. Pleased To Meet You.
The most famous bar in the city. I hear about it everywhere. For three years and a half I thought I had to get a drink there at least once before I move away.
I was wrong.
It’s a typical Newcastle bar that, at night, turns the music up and calls itself a club.
So we left pretty quickly.
5. Crown Posada.
The winner of my bar crawl. A must-visit.
Very British and warm. Quiet music lets you talk. Not over-crowded. Small and cute. Relatively cheap.
It was exactly as The Culture Trip described it, “Crown Posada is the second oldest pub in Newcastle. Its charming Victorian décor and original stained glass windows complement […] their 1941 record player.”
One feature I particularly liked was the bar’s mostly middle-aged clientele. (Early twenty-year-olds — my peers — think they know how to have fun. They really don’t.)
The people were nice too. One guy bought us a round of drinks after seeing Kotryna spill hers. An Australian manager of another bar (who sounded very Geordie) invited us to sit in the booth — the main attraction of the bar — and be friends with her. She was sweet but since she kept offering to buy more drinks — and we were already 6 in — we had to somehow sneak out unnoticed. (Sorry.) Plus, we were hungry.
So we ended the night by literally running away from a sweet Australian-Geordie, getting fries at a fast-food restaurant, and eating them by the river, looking across at the Gateshead lights.
The night turned out to be perfect by simply being imperfect. It was refreshing. Enlightening.
One thing I learned from my bar crawl, though, is that they’re more fun when you do it spontaneously. On our trip to Dublin in January, we did a spontaneous half-bar crawl: we went from one bar to another, looking for somewhere to sit down, and that’s how we found the real Irish gold.
If a bar crawl is on your bucket list, I highly recommend you don’t plan it. Don’t look up which bars to go to. Just go and drink at those that catch your eye. Ratings don’t mean anything.
How to organize a bar crawl? Gizmodo’s got some great advice on that.
How to make it more unique? Mental Floss has got you covered.