|Four GBG pubs needed on this section of the Metro|
"Are ye doing anything nice this weekend?" says the friendly matronly lady on reception at famed Geordie dosshouse, the Quayside Travelodge, on Friday last week. "I am actually, I've got this big book with 4500 pubs in it and I'm visiting a few of them up here tonight and tomorrow" I reply. The two younger receptionists rolled their eyes and smirked. I didn't care.
"Okay, I'll put you in the quiet part of the hotel, up on the third floor at the end, away from the stag and hens ..... not that we have any in!" she quickly adds. Ironic really then, as I walked along long darkened corridors full of notices saying 'shush, quiet zone', that when I went to slot the card in my door hole, loud noises from the room next door suggested it wasn't the only slotting of holes going on. Typical BRAPA luck!
|Traumatised, and not even got to a pub yet!|
First stop, furthest one out, was Monkseaton, very close to Whitley Bay where I'd ended my previous trip. This station pub looked nicely done .......
Experienced (but not old by any means) fellow pub ticker Duncan Mackay told me that Left Luggage Room, Monkseaton (1739 / 2956) was one of his favourite Micropubs ever, and I'm sure he's visited a lot more than me. Problem is, the circumstances I found myself in were a chaotic 'three deep at the bar / who is actually waiting to get served and who is just loitering?' situation. So I had to imagine how perfect this pub could be on quiet Tuesday morning, and you could appreciate the care gone into renovating the old building in a York Tap / Durham Waiting Room type of way. I had to work hard not to be funnelled into a queue, got my elbows in the gap, and to my surprise, everyone dissolved away very quickly and one of the army of staff (well three) trying to clear the back log of customers served me immediately. I'm pretty sure she should've given up on the Arbor which was obviously reaching the bottom of the barrel, but she was determined to get a full pint of it out, come hell or high water, yanking the pump to the max, despite clocking my concerned expression! Is this why it has taken this oft mentioned pre-emptive so long to actually reach the GBG? As it was, it was an okay pint, no more no less. I just had to figure out where to perch. I went down to the left of the bar, wedged between bar and toilets, a young bearded man on Untappd, a quirky rhino head with sunglasses hovering above, a shiny Newcastle Brown mirror behind, board games in front of me. It was the most microey scene ever! Eventually, I realised most people were standing for no reason, and seats were available towards the back. I commandeered a table of 4, quickly distancing myself from it when a group looked like they might want to sit down. Though they'd just come over for a gossip about Death in Paradise or something. Not a relaxing experience, but I can kind of imagine how it could be!
|Busy Friday evening at the bar|
|View from my wedged corner|
|Finally got a seat!|
To carry on the frenetic start to the night, I went to stand on the wrong platform and missed the next Metro out! So after a long wait and a sly wee behind a bin in a shadowy corner, I managed to successfully catch the next one to Tynemouth, where I had two ticks and new high levels of BRAPA discipline was required to avoid the Tynemouth Lodge Hotel, seriously a candidate for my favourite all time Tyne & Wear pub.
The word 'Tynemouth' was embedded in this one too ......
Always love a good club to mix things up a bit, and the cheerful sense of well-being was in evidence from the moment I stepped inside the Tynemouth Social Club (1740 / 2957) , no need to buzz for entry, show a CAMRA card, Beer Guide or sign a guestbook here, a young barman dressed like the new detective from Death in Paradise greeted me with a kind smile and I ordered the first ale I saw, just grateful to have room to 'breathe'. Such a bright place too, and rowdy, blokes behind me played darts, giving each other bear hugs every time a double was downed, and at the far end, a raft of snooker tables had more balls whizzing about than errrrm Room 94 in Quayside Travelodge. My ale had a very unusual taste, but I'm sure it was deliberate and I grew to enjoy it! After a few minutes perched by a circular posing table (seats were impossible to come by), drinking in the glorious atmosphere (there was a Blind Sooty charity box, as we know, sign of a proper place), I realised my legs were tired and a sign behind me says "Upstairs is open you know, why don't ya come on up?" so I did. Behind some frosted door in front of giant bay windows looking down onto the Tynemouth streets, I said hello to a duo having a deep and meaningful, and a bearded dude appeared from nowhere and said 'alreet', and then asked upstairs barman and friend Nathan "can ya put on some bopping tunes because all I can hear is the radiator!" He had a point, the contrast between here and downstairs was huge, and I felt a bit bad for taking myself out of the throbbing clubbub (hubbub in a club), as comfortable as the bench seating was up here in this classy supremely furbished well appointed club room. But I couldn't linger, time was ticking.
|Wave to sooty, boys and girls|
|Darts gang and green vomiting bucket|
|Chillin' out upstairs|
Handily, the other Tynemouth tick was situated back at the Metro station ........
So reminiscent of the Left Luggage Room, but with a slightly cheaper feel, I can only assume Platform 2 Craft Ale Bar, Tynemouth (1741 / 2958) is the brainchild of the same people or there could be a plagiarism case to answer! Joking of course, no quirky rhino head in here, just an ostrich one. And you don't have to be a detective on Death in Paradise to realise these are two very different beasts. The staff mumbled a bit, but seemed canny, and I got this Toasted Coconut Stout because it was called 'Shy Bairns' and I like Falkirk F.C. and what a triumph of an beer it was, though not very easy to down when you can hear a train approaching! I swivelled on my heels to see the perfect corner seat, but just at that second, a bloke just appeared from nowhere and swooped. I hate him for eternity. It might sound harsh but was I ever going to get a decent seat on pub arrival tonight? I had to resort to a perching stool in the centre of the room. Not ideal, but great for people watching and a woman who looked like my Mum was with a bloke who looked like Nigel Adkins, whilst Geordie Kyle from Neighbours put his airpods in and rested his eyes. Two old blokes, a sort of ageing Ant and Dec sat opposite me with the words "You've got company whether you like it or not" so I pulled out the GBG to invite conversation but they were too busy prepping Saturday Night takeaway and quashing drink driving convictions to care (Ant was on the left facing me, those are the rules).
|Great ale, great mouth shape|
|The irrational loathing was real ..... THAT WAS MY SEAT! :(|
|Ostrich, board games, NOTHING like Left Luggage Room!|
I made sure I'd timed the Metro much better on this occasion, even having time for a bag of Pickled Onion Monster Munch (gotta have a break from Mini Cheddars occasionally) as the air became icier as we hurtled on past 10pm and I just hoped Wetherspoons last orders policy wasn't too harsh ......
Once in Wallsend, now approaching 10:30pm and I nearly ended up going in the wrong pub .....
|Manhattans ... was so close to going in here instead!|
But then I saw a courtyard, a couple of bouncers, a huge "WE'RE IN THE 2020 GBG" banner, and knew I was in the right place ......
The two bouncers were too engrossed in conversation to open the door for me at Ritz. Wallsend (1742 / 2959) and wish me a pleasant evening (I should've said "don't you know who I am?") but a third bouncer lurking inside the doorway seemed like he wanted me to stop and chat, so I said "alreet pet, aye" and scurried off to the bar like a rat that's had three pints. I went for the Raspberry Porter cos it was Maxim, then a guy got the same, and then the pumpclip was immediately turned around so yet another bottom of the barrel one. Again, it tasted decent though. Something about former Cinema 'Spoons which just seem that bit more rewarding than the others. I'm thinking things like the Art Picture House in Bury and the Coronet in Holloway, but definitely not the Ritz in Lincoln. Blyth last week was decent too. A lone bloke near me ordered an 11th hour fish n chips and forced an insipid smile .... no sign of 'last orders' being called here though the hours listed 11pm and we were marching on towards quarter to. Wondering if I've ever been in a 'Spoons at last orders? Perhaps they never close. If you've had an experience, please comment below and tell me what it was like. But there's always time for me to make a tit of myself. As we know, finding the bogs in 'Spoons is often notoriously difficult, and the longest walk that most of their customers get all week. I circled the pub twice, before finding it buried at the front of the pub down a dark corridor near a strange glass beer viewing window! And if I'd wondered why I'd received so many amused glances, I'd had my flies undone the entire time. Brilliant(!) I could've died of embarrassment, but at least it'd have been a great place to go out in ..... I guess you could've described that as 'death in paradise'.
|Still lively for 10:45pm|
I managed to get back to Manors and my Travelodge without further incident, and all was now quiet mercifully in the room next door, so after a nice cuppa and sandwich, I got myself straight to sleep as I had some more tricky pubs on the agenda the following morning. Oh, and we're on the verge of a landmark GBG moment for the year!
|Walking back to the hotel!|
Join me tomorrow or Friday for that, thanks for reading, enjoy your days!