Saturday, 5 October 2013

The new Bridge Tavern rises from the dust of the old Newcastle Arms

Once a spot more looked at and mourned from a distance, avoided as you would a dead much beloved relative, the old Newcastle Arms, nestled between the protective arms of the Tyne Bridge is now the Bridge Tavern. Boasting it's own micro brewery and staff who tend it, the Bridge Tavern also has all to itself a chef who used to work not so long ago at the Broad Chare. This combination alone is enough to make you want to come and visit, but if you wanted more reasons, you'd get them in spades as soon as you walked in past the front door.

Keith Crombie

Before Tony Renwick's food gets you the decor will, several original green Bauhaus lamps hang from the ceiling lighting a central table that invites your guests to sit down and wait while you get the drinks in. If however you're more of a corner person, the entire ground flour is wrapped in a collection of cosy large soft seats that will easily host up to 8 people at a time. The walls are partially lined with books leading to Keith's corner, a magnificent area complete with large tables and the books of recently passed Newcastle Jazz legend Keith Crombie. Willed to the place, not for sale,  but for reading, The Bridge wants you to have a browse through Keith's legacy.

Keith's corner

Nestled in the back you'll find a number of brewing vats lined against the wall and producing any number of fab local brews on any given day. I had the pleasure of drinking 10 10 28 named after the date the Tyne Bridge opened. A lovely feast on the tongue and the nose designed to engage the pallet rather than get you shitfaced in three easy steps, and that of course is the point of the Bridge Tavern. Like other fine drinking establishments in Newcastle, the friendly bar staff will be happy to walk you through a galaxy of unassuming local tipple designed to keep you coming back for something different every time or to drink that special something you can't get in the 50p a shot boozers or stuck in the same limited list places that seem to litter Dean Street.

One of the brewers
Local art upstairs
Off to the right of Keith's corner you'll find the ground floor outside terrace or up the stairs, the Tiki bar like lounge complete with standing lamps that heat and light the guests under the canopy, for those nights you want to take in the big city atmosphere I used to take for granted in Montreal and New York.

Unlike the Brew Dog which is a raucous place for live rock and punk music ( also with fine ales, do try it) , The Bridge provides through it's sound system a musical atmosphere that is more relaxing and friendly. The sort of place you'd go to if you were after an intimate conversation or just a bit of craic with your 5 or 6 best mates.

Which brings me to the food and the Chef.  Tony Renwick brings his reputation and deft hand to a
menu which I'm promised  by owner Dave Stone will be seasonal and change often. Prices too will be something you'll find easy on the eye. From the Bar bait to the  sharing planks, the cost is not going to put your budget into shock. Inclusive prices Dave called it, I call it "please come again" prices.

On opening night we were treated to a wide array of bar bait loveliness in batter with dipping sauces. Lamb, oysters, pork , mushrooms and prawns in an assortment of marinades and spicing that makes love to your tongue without a drop of that ubiquitous Newcastle hot sauce. Speaking of things missing... not a chip in sight (well hardly any). Who needs chips when you have food that good? This menu is the sort of thing you will look forward to if you consider yourself a foodie. Not for the lager lout, the menu of the Bridge Tavern joins the select eateries not trying burn your face off but educating the pallet and reminding your taste buds there is more to life than bland or hot.

The Bridge Tavern is a treat for the eyes, the ears and the tongue. Bring your apetite and your camera. Soak in the history, the food and the fine micro brewed on site product. Located right under the Tyne Bridge, you can't miss it. 

Opening hours 
Monday - Thursday 12pm to midnight 
Friday and Saturday 12pm to 1am 
Sundays - 12pm to 11pm 

Fairly well behaved Children and extremely well behaved dogs welcome until 7pm

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Didn't realise these were Keith's books when I went down there. As a regular at the Jazz Caff and a friend of Keith's (he'll always be sorely missed) this is a very nice tribute. Hats off to Dave Stone! Yes, The Bridge Tavern is great and will thrive. Nice to have another proper pub on the Quayside.