Some things in life are very hard. Trying to understand how “Carry On…” films should be viewed in our modern society, for example, is very tricky. Just like trying to learn how to tie your laces. Our lives are filled, from cradle to tomb, with some very difficult problems. So any small help, in whatever form, can be eagerly anticipated.
I suppose this is one of the reasons that this very good website was created, to help you lot find the very best places to eat without having a massive meltdown in the middle of Northumberland Street. But what helps us help you is when we turn up to places, not sure what to expect, and we’re given great food, in great surroundings, with a minimum of fuss and effort. And this is precisely where Tyneside Bar Café stands out.
Not only is it situated in plain sight on Pilgrim Street (and as close as it possibly can be to Tyneside Cinema) but it also serves amazing food; food that is so good that we were willing to have run the risk of overeating and almost immediately reordering what we’d just had because it was that tasty. Head Chef Tom Adlam has done quite the job with the basic menu, as well as the specials boards which change daily, boasting exotic curries from around the world, and delicate fish dishes, amongst others.
You know when you have those few meals in your life that you feel genuinely sad about having to eventually finish so you eat it that little bit slower, and stretch out every little morsel because you know that when you do finish it, your life will go back to being that little bit more dull than it was before? Well, Tyneside Bar Café is full of those meals.
From the salt beef bagels (£6.95) to the Royale with cheese and fries (£8.95), every mouthful was an experience. Mustard sauce on the salt beef slopped everywhere, which added to the appeal, oddly. Messy food is, somehow, more attractive and better to eat. Greasy pizza, garlic mayonnaise on a kebab, melted chocolate off kebab laden pizza; when food drips down your fingers it adds to the appeal.
Maybe it taps into a primal instinct that everyone has hidden away that reminds them of biting into a massive slab of bison while sitting outside of their cave. Or maybe it’s just more fun. Who knows? Who cares? Who wants another salt beef bagel? Us, that’s who.
You can’t be expected to eat food in a hovel though, no matter what the hoi-polloi of trendy foodies says. People like to eat nice things in nice places, and Tyneside Bar Café, on the surface, is a very nice place. But when you delve deeper into it, and start looking closer at ordinary things, you see a more nuanced place, a place that honours its historic place in Newcastle’s social life.
Built right into the regional institution that is the Tyneside Cinema, there are a host of little tweaks and large, stand-out features that remind you that this is a building that is still incredibly proud of its heritage and association with one of Newcastle’s longest standing cinemas. The cinema tried for years to secure the space (previously a series of banks) in order to create the Tyneside Bar Café, and the pride that they eventually managed to is palpable.
On the back wall is a large projected screen that shows films regularly through the week (when we went Chicago was going to be played the day after, and I was very tempted to turn up, sequin hotpants and top hat on ready to high kick my way through a burger), and there are events almost every single night of the week to entertain you – from a quiz to the enigmatically titled Funky Butt Club, there is something there for everyone.
But it’s not just as obvious as that. On the side wall, there is a grandiose ‘dialogue’ mural that is made up of dialogue from actual films. We tried to check whether Goldeneye was in there, but we didn’t want to climb through someone’s soup to find out. Lighting is made up from art deco (a nod to the cinema’s past) and modern metal doohickery, and even the exclusive beers sold there are a nod to cinematic history (DCP and 35mm, which I was usefully told were a pretty big deal).
Tyneside Bar Café is a fun little place that serves great food, and is close enough to the brilliant Tyneside Cinema that you can waddle around and book tickets to Paddington because isn’t that what everyone wants to see these days?
If food isn’t your thing and you’re after a couple of quick pints after work, or before work, or during work, or if that is your work, you can even have some alcoholic beverages here (and exclusive beer aside) with a pretty extensive range of beers, wines and liquors to give a whirl.
Imagine how great you’d look when you suggest going here to your colleagues and friends and they talk about that great night they had waiting for the projector to flick back to the beyond groovy picture of the 60’s girl group just so they can Instagram themselves with it for years. That’ll be entirely your doing. And we won’t tell a soul. It’ll be our little secret.
Tyneside Bar Café can be found on Pilgrim Street, Newcastle upon Tyne, NE1 6QG. Check out their website for details of the standard menu and events in the venue. Robin was given a complimentary meal for the purpose of this review, however all views are true to experience.