A new, hip hang-out in leafy Jesmond – moments away from As You Like It. The personality-packed bar-meets-restaurant has only been open a few months, but already it’s attracting crowds upon crowds of cocktail-lovers every week – and it only gets busier as the weekend draws nearer. Stop by for cool cocktails, good tunes and brilliant bites – perfect for sharing. The young, good-vibes-only atmosphere is infectious. Visit on a Friday evening, we say, and toast to the weekend, or on a Saturday night to kick-start the party celebrations.
Don’t let the dark, moody interiors fool you – this is a fun and uplifting place to be. Having said that, we did enjoy slinking off to our private booth for a little bit of cocktail fun and a lot of feasting. After-dark, the lights dim, but the neon signage shines bright – and there’s a real ‘underground club’ vibe. Lots of red velvet and exposed brickwork, a bit of pool table action in one corner and a very Instagram-worthy wall. Search the hashtag #TheHolyHobo and you’ll understand. A few cocktails down the hatch and you’ll be propping yourself against it all night long.
You come here for craft beer and cocktails. Their bar’s premium lager (stored in bespoke tanks) comes all the way from Budweis in Czech Republic one a week. It’s ‘live’ and unpasteurised, meaning that no nasties are added – just fresh, full-bodied beer for you to enjoy. Craft beers, from the likes of Wylam Brewery and BrewDog, are also on offer, as are ‘craft cans’ – perfect for washing down a juicy burger or two. Cocktail-wise, it’s a real mix. Open up the ‘drinks bible’ to discover sweet-as-can-be concoctions that taste like Toblerone, Dib-Dabs, raspberry ripple, bubblegum and Twister lollies, ‘tuck shop’-style shots, inspired by old-school pick-n-mix flavours (we’re talking pear drops, sherbert and rhubarb and custard), fruity twists on the Martini and Mojitos made with world-famous desserts in mind. Go for white chocolate raspberry bakewell or lemon meringue pie if you think you can stomach it! There’s also alcoholic slush, gin paired with marmalade (try it), ‘posh’ shandy and rum from all over the globe. Really fun stuff.
Bar bites with attitude, loaded carbs, sensational stuffed sourdough, good-for-you kebabs, burgers and more. And meat-eaters, veggies and vegans are welcome. Grab some mates and get stuck in – it’s that kind of place. Ingredients are sourced locally where possible. For the weight-watchers among you, there are a few knock-out salads to enjoy (try the Buddha bowl or the curried cauliflower cous cous salad), but the real joy here comes from ordering big-time, indulgent mains – go on, it’s the weekend!
What we ate
We brought a few chums along for the foodie ride. Naughty nibbles on the night included dainty Lincolnshire chipolatas (£3.95), glazed in a sticky-sweet maple dressing, which were cooked perfectly and quite wonderful when dunked into chip shop-style curry sauce, a generous helping of crisp and oozy halloumi fries (6.95), served with a scattering of pomegranate seeds, a squeeze of lime and coriander sour cream for dipping, and Italian-style beef and pork meatballs (£5.95), bathing in a nicely-thick, rich tomato sauce. An odd mix, sure, but it went down a treat. For mains, we shared a little more, this time opting for the chicken kebab (£9.95 – and very popular), the Great Balls of Fire burger (£10.95) for some spice and the Green Eyed Monster sandwich (£8.95) for, well, some green goodness? All three ticked our boxes. The kebabs here are miles away from the kind served at your local takeaway. The chicken we had, marinated in tandoori spices, was juicy and tender, wrapped up in a pillowy naan, stuffed with cauliflower cous cous, cucumber, fresh avo, spring onions and peanut and beetroot hummus. Drizzled in ‘fat ass’ sauce (try it for yourself – smoky, slightly sweet and delicious), it was a real triumph. As for the Great Balls of Fire action, we’ve eaten better burgers in our time, but loved the addition of yet more beefy meatballs, salty nachos for some crunch, jalapeños for a touch of fire and plenty of Monterey Jack cheese – all melty and gorgeous. The posh cheese toasty was a total winner. Huge hunks of toasted sourdough, filled with spinach, crispy kale, sun-dried tomatoes and tangy pesto, all smushed with stringy, creamy mozzarella. Teamed up with fries, we couldn’t fault it. You get a lot of carbs for your money! The kitchen team hadn’t quite delved into desserts at the time of our visit (this may have changed now), which was just as well as we were fit to burst by the time the bill came. Next time, though!