The Most Festive Bars in Newcastle This Christmas
‘Go on then it’s Christmas’ can now officially be used as an excuse – for anything. Drinking midweek (not that it stopped me before), helping yourself to an extra mince pie or swiftly giving up on your Christmas shopping in favour of the nearest bar. Most places have launched their Christmas drinks menus now, so I thought I’d round up the most festive bars in Newcastle for over the coming weeks. Mulled wine, espresso martinis with a twist, even beer sleighs, whatever your chosen tipple is over the coming weeks they’re all available. Or if you’re just looking for the cosiest corner with twinkly lights and an open fire pit to enjoy it by, there’s plenty options for that too.
Apres Ski Bar at Monument
The newest addition to the Newcastle Christmas market offering, and while I’m not a huge fan of the market on Northumberland Street I do really like this bar.
Here you can get your typical mulled wine or cider in paper cups, Baileys hot chocolates and coffees with an extra kick, all in the environment of a winter ski bar. I think it’s done out pretty good and I think it’s the most thought out part of the market.
There is actually plenty of seating, although it is a struggle to get one at peak times, but there are barrels to stand around, mini chalets, little huts, indoor tables and even private pods available for hire for 90 mins at a time that have a minimum spend of £25. That’s easily spent though at £5 per mulled wine/cider and £3.50 for a hot chocolate with cream and a flake.
Hadrian’s Tipi & Stack
Gaining in popularity every year since it first arrived in Newcastle, there’s no denying Hadrian’s Tipi is a big hit. Multiple fires to huddle around if you can get near and a fully stocked bar including mulled cider makes it a good spot for a late afternoon visit.
If anything it can get a bit too warm in there, so you find the heat a bit too much when you’re all wrapped up in your faux fur, hat and gloves then Stack itself has its usual fire pits and outdoor heaters to gather round. It’s pretty festive.
Dine by the Tyne Christmas Pods
These started last week and having previously been on the Gateshead side of the river by the Baltic, they’re now on the Newcastle quayside just next to Pitcher and Piano. It’s where the Quayside Seaside usually is in summer.
This year they’re much better quality, when I went with the girls last year they were basically zip up plastic things, but this year the 6 or so pods are glass with proper frames, seating up to 10 and have heaters and Bluetooth speakers inside.
Before your seating for dinner you can get drinks at the pop up bar to enjoy in the tipi, or there’s outdoor fire pits and heaters to stand around too. I went on Sunday with Kieran’s family and the food was really nice, three courses of soup, turkey dinner or a vegetarian option, and profiteroles, again much nicer quality than last year.
We had a right laugh, and it’s a good option for a bigger group if you want to do something a bit different to a normal night out. If you’re going in the evening though then wrap up warm because it is absolutely freezing walking along by the river.
All Bar One
I’m a big fan of All Bar One since it took over from Browns on Grey Street, it’s much more modern inside and has good options for both drinking or dining. There’s smaller tables, big booths that can be reserved for groups, and private dining areas too. I’ve reserved a booth for a girls day out nearer to Christmas.
They have a whole menu dedicated to Christmas cocktails, with options like Cherry Creme Cracker, Winter Espresso Martini, Christmas Gintonica or Spiced Pornstar Martini. I’ve tried the Winter Espresso Martini which I loved, but I was really pleasantly surprised by the Spiced Pornstar Martini. It wasn’t as sweet as a normal one, and was like Christmas in a glass – would definitely recommend even if you don’t usually like them.
Ranging from £8.25 to £9.50 they aren’t cheap, but they are generous in size much more so than most bars. Big fan of this bar.
The Botanist & their Seasonal Showstoppers
With a bit of a reputation for novelty cocktails that take a lifetime to make I actually think the Botanist is getting much better on this front, and it’s such a gorgeous setting all of the time but especially at Christmas.
I’ve previously wrote about their rooftop terrace for winter drinks here – including mulled wine under a cosy blanket with fabulous views down Grey Street – but there are some new additions to the menu this year.
Created for groups the beer sleighs, Botanist advent calendar or Moose Boost tree trunks are all on the menu, alongside their seasonal showstoppers. These include Hazelnut espresso martinis, Butterbeer, Winter Punch and Black Forest Mojito. If you want something non alcoholic they also have pumpkin spice latte, and a number of hot chocolates.
Personally I love the Botanist and the cocktails are always worth the wait even in busy times. In past years my friends and I have booked the private room for food and cocktails, as table service means your Christmas cocktails are brought straight to you.
Cake Stories, Jesmond
They may be a cafe but I really love how they stay open late in winter, perfect for a cosy cuppa and catch up. They’ve added mulled wine, whiskies and even a ‘Baby Cheesus in a Manger’ cheese board served with port to the menu too.
It’s the perfect place if you’re into the whole ‘hygge’ vibe.
Another new addition to Grey Street, this one has a really nice atmosphere to it, in that it’s smaller and I found it to be a bit quieter than other places.
The restaurant section is serving up a festive afternoon tea at the moment, and the bar has a mouth watering selection of chocolate liqueur hot chocolates. The perfect winter warmer.
I know it’s got an older crowd and can be a bit radge at a weekend, but I do actually like Harry’s at Christmas with all the lights and decorations. They do good gin globes and very generous pornstar martinis too.
Keep your eyes peeled for Alan Shearer over the festive period too. Known for being his favourite bar in town I’ve seen him in there two Christmas’ running, and what real Geordie wouldn’t want a festive pint with wor Alan?
If gin is your drink and you have a taste for it that extends beyond Bombay Sapphire or Hendricks then this is the bar for you. A huge range of gins and tonics, a long gin cocktail list, very knowledgeable bar staff and tiny tapas served with every one you can’t go wrong.
Over Christmas try the spicy Death’s Door gin with star anise and orange zest. Full details on their Instagram, just click the image below.
Livello nights are always heaving over Christmas, but I actually prefer to go late afternoon as part of a day drinking session, to sit outside under their outdoor heaters. They have a very impressive list of Christmas cocktails this year including:
Gingerbread Martini, Sugar Plum Fairy and Naughty But Nice, and even a full gin globe tree. I’m a marketers dream because I’d want to try every single one of those. These photos weren’t taken by me and are kindly provided by Livello.
Pleased To Meet You
Another of my favourite bars, mainly for the fabulous outdoor space they have out the back. At the end of November it transformed into a winter garden, serving festive favourites and their ‘Who Needs Raffles?” blood orange cocktail.
I’ve heard good things about the food here too but I’ve never actually ate here myself. I really need to. They have a Christmas menu including festive afternoon tea and cakes available through December.
And finally I have a few old favourites that I really love at this time of year that are worth a mention. When it comes to festive bars in Newcastle, The Old George, while it may not be the most glamorous pub (at all), always feels so Christmassy at this time of year. I was there when it snowed a couple of years ago and loved the little courtyard covered in it. I’m also a big fan of the hearty meals at the Bridge Tavern and Broad Chare, and partial to the best espresso martini in Newcastle at Alvino’s too.
One thing is for sure, whatever sort of drinking hole you prefer – whether that’s an old pub, pop up bars, cocktail or gin bars or the Christmas market, there’s plenty of choice on offer to fill your boots with this Christmas. Just for God’s sake stay safe, don’t drink and drive, eat plenty before you go out and if you’re hungover and going for a Maccy D’s bring me a double cheeseburger as chances are I will be too.
Other posts you might like:
Christmas in Newcastle – this post is from last year but most of it still applies