As things get colder and darker, there’s not much that’s more lovely than taking refuge with a friend or two in a warm and friendly café or bar for a chat over a coffee or a slice of cake (or a cheeky cocktail).
We’ve gathered together some of Newcastle’s most cosiest and welcoming venues to take refuge in for that much-needed catch-up, so why not get that next mate date in the diary?
Café Mercy, Grey Street
A very new arrival on the Newcastle bar scene, Café Mercy is the latest offshoot of the acclaimed cocktail bar Mother Mercy and occupies a prime location in the middle of Grey Street. The décor is vibrant and sunny and Mediterranean, the cocktails are light and fun and well chosen (as you’d expect from the Mercy team) with an emphasis on spritzes. There’s a small but appealing selection of bar snacks and small plates – from padron peppers to mixed charcuterie - and it’s open till late so you won’t get turfed out if the conversation runs into the night.
Flower Café, Grainger Street
Open a little longer – around a year – but similarly vibrant and welcoming is Flower Café on Grainger Street. There’s a fine cocktail list – again with the essential spritzers, and some alcohol-free options too – as well as beers, wines and plenty of coffee and tea options. They offer a tasty range of breakfast dishes, toasties and pizzas too.
City Tavern, Northumberland Street
City Tavern is an old-school pub with modern sensibilities and is full of cosy corners for you to fetch up and shoot the breeze. There are plenty of food options – from bar snacks to a Sunday roast, they take their food very seriously – and the drinks list is varied and well chosen.
St Vincent, Broad Chare
Part of the acclaimed 21 chain, St Vincent reopened this year and is the same warm and welcoming restaurant-bar it always was. It’s all about fine food and great wine, and the atmosphere is classy and sedate. So you can settle in with friends, order a great bottle of red and some small plates (the charcuterie and the cheese plate both look wonderful) and put the world to rights.
Tiny Tiny, Carliol Square
Formerly known as Flat Caps, Tiny Tiny is in the heart of Carliol Square and takes its coffee very seriously indeed, with a wide range of beans available. Their tea game is strong too, and the food menu has some really appealing options for breakfast and brunch – Turkish eggs, fried honey porridge, huevos rancheros and more. They serve plenty of soft drinks and baked goods too, and it’s a lovely space for a natter.
Societe Café Bar, Grey Street
Another relative newcomer to Grey Street is Societe, a small and charming Italianate café bar that’s open 'til 7:30pm every day. There’s a small but appealing menu of baked goods, sandwiches and pizzas, and a short but on-point cocktail list (including a monthly special). The Grey Street location means watching the world go by is very much part of the appeal.
The Lost Wanderer, Leazes Park Road
This former office conversion is a lovely oasis in the Leazes Park neighbourhood – quirky and friendly and full of little nooks to hang out in quietly. It’s open from 7:30am for coffee and baked goods, and will order in some of Firestone’s fabulous pizzas later in the day. There’s occasionally music upstairs and it serves as a focus for various communities, a testament to its welcoming vibe.
Les Petits Choux, Leazes Crescent
Just around the corner from The Lost Wanderer you’ll find Les Petits Choux, the perfect place for a coffee and a chat over some of the most delicious and indulgent cakes and pastries in town. This family business has been serving up fantastic sweet treats for nearly a decade and the flatbreads and savoury options are pretty great too.
La Gamba, Grainger Market
A fine addition to the Grainger Market is La Gamba, a little slice of the Iberian peninsula in the heart of Newcastle. Open for around a year, La Gamba is both a beautifully stocked Spanish deli and a small but perfectly formed tapas bar, the perfect place for a tortilla and an aperitivo with friends as the market bustles round you.
Tyneside Bar Café, Pilgrim Street
Finally, we have to recommend Tyneside Bar Café. Perhaps a little busier than the other suggestions but once you’re tucked away at the far end with some great coffee and a pastry, you and your companions can properly relax. The drinks menu is good, the food is great (with frequent daily specials to look out for) and there’s a cheap kids menu too.
It doesn’t matter if it’s raining or windy as long as you can duck into somewhere cosy and welcoming for a snack, a coffee, a spritz and a long chat with an old friend. And Newcastle is blessed with a particularly fine selection of cafes and bars where you can do just that, so what are you waiting for?