Temperatures have definitely dropped in the toon the past fortnight, and even down in London where I’ve been twice in two weeks the second visit was noticeably cooler. Last weekend was international BORING football weekend, so we took the opportunity for a Saturday fun day out in Newcastle. I’m all about day drinking now I’m 30. Plus I wanted to try out my new wintery fur coat (faux-fur for those that just had mild rage reading that). Rumour had it that The Botanist recently transformed their roof terrace into a winter grotto too…
We had seen on Instagram that the Botanist have released their Christmas drinks menu, spiced cider and mulled wine. YUM! Before you judge me I know some people hate Instagram, and think it’s fake. If that’s the case I’m probably your worst nightmare. I love it, I do see stuff on there and want to go out and buy it or book holidays to beautiful places. I’m basically a marketers dream. I’m also a firm believer that if you don’t like Instagram because it makes you hate your life or yourself then you’re using it wrong. Follow accounts you’re interested in and unfollow those that make you feel that way.
So anywayyyyy, after seeing this beautifully crafted winter drinks post by the Botanist I wanted to try them out. We got into Newcastle at about 4:15pm and there was no queue to get in. The main bar was quite busy, there were large groups of women all ordering cocktails so we went up the wrought iron stairs to the roof terrace.
Most of the time when I’m going to the Botanist I book a table and go for food too. It’s so popular and the cocktails can sometimes slow the bar down so it’s easier to just get table service. The steak pie is seriously good as well so you know – any excuse. We were too late booking for food on this occasion but I was determined to try the winter creations so the rooftop would have to do.
When we got up there and stepped out into the crisp chilly air I was momentarily lost for words. I think the last time I was up there was in the summer and it was a pretty English garden, but it looked completely different.
The garden huts now resembled cosy little winter grotto’s, with twinkling fairy lights everywhere! Fake snow dripped from the rooftops, but honestly I had to double check it was fake because it wasn’t the cotton wool kind it did look very real. There were ski posters pinned to the walls wooden skis propped up next to them, and subtle Christmas decorations filling the gaps everywhere else.
I honestly forgot where I was, it was completely different to the summer sun trap, it was a Botanist winter grotto of festiveness! I’ve only been to Austria once and that’s where it cast my mind back to. Twinkly lights, cold air, cosy cabins and nobody cared it was wet.
It was initially quite busy up there as well, more groups of women laden with bags and needing a drink after a days shopping, quite a lot of date night couples and one stag group who left pretty quickly after checking the prices. Prices are really not that bad, no more expensive than anywhere else similar.
Anyway they left a big space at the bar so I jumped in and ordered two mulled wines. My only criticism of the upstairs bar is there’s never enough staff. But we were served pretty quickly so can’t complain and even found a seat in one of the grottos.
By now I was in full Christmas spirit, it’s impossible not to be up there in the warm shelter just feet from the cold night air, surrounded by glimmering fairy lights and looking down on one of the prettiest streets in England.
If you don’t manage to get a seat in one of the grottos there are some little garden tables, picnic benches and seats on the terrace too, with heaters if it gets cold and baskets of warm blankets to borrow. I think people might be put off my it being outside but after seeing it I’d rather be up there amongst the winter grotto atmosphere.
We ended up staying for a good five hours. The drinks were delicious and I love people watching out the window. It was a good time to go as we all know how busy bars can get on Saturday afternoons, but once the shoppers cleared at about six there was a calm hour or so before the evening crowds came in. It was a really cosy festive afternoon.
We are going to York for our annual family festive drinking day the weekend before Christmas, and I’ve recently seen that they’ve opened up a Botanist too. I hope they have the same drinks menu, I’m already imagining a mulled cider with a scotch egg bar snack mid afternoon.
What with Fenwicks window launching two weeks ago, the coca cola advert finally back on our TV screens and my first Christmas presents bought I’m really starting to let myself get in the festive spirit. I’ve tried not to get too carried away yet though, but when the odd glimpse of Christmas has reared it’s festive head I admit I have got excited. The winter grotto at the Botanist was one of those moments!