Roughly 200 years ago, everyone was drunk all day every day.
You’d wake up and have a bowl of beer soup (google it). You’d go to work and take a few swigs of beer at lunch. You’d come home, down a mug of beer, then pour yourself a cup of wine to wash it down. If people brushed their teeth back then, they’d have done it with beer.
Essentially, life was just one big bender for our ancestors. But their motivation for putting away beers like David Boon on a flight to Heathrow wasn’t because they were hellbent on staving on the mother of all hangovers.
No, the real reason was that water back then was too polluted to drink, so people drank beer instead and did so with the same fervor many health-conscious humans guzzle Mount Franklin today.
That is until coffee arrived.
Suddenly this mysterious, caffeinated beverage was all the rage. And as it quickly replaced beer as the pleb’s drink of choice, more and more coffee houses opened up, global intoxication levels plunged and something called the Enlightenment kicked off.
People who spent yesterday cartwheeling headfirst into roadside shrubberies began to engage in meaningful conversation, sharing their ideas and thoughts over a cup of rich Ethiopian Arabica.
Luckily for us though, people didn’t go full cold turkey on the grog. And thanks to some of the following pubs and bars in Newcastle, you’ll be able to relive the glory days of alcohol, when rolling into work with a liver full of liquor was a sign of good health and everyone’s breath smelt like a soggy bar mat.
So without further adieu and no more references to Australian cricket, I give you Rad’s Guide to The Best Pubs and Bars in Newcastle.
The Grain Store is a beautifully renovated microbrewery situated in the heart of Newcastle. And all though you can’t actually purchase oats or corn over the counter as the name suggests, you can sample over 21 different beers.
From refreshing pilseners to full-flavoured IPAs, dark stouts and everything in between, there’s a beer for all tastes buds on tap at The Grain Store, all of which are brewed by 100% independently owned Australian breweries.
This means you’re lending a hand to Aussie businesses with every sip of Grain Store beer you take, so drink up fellow countrymen and woman and raise a glass to the Land Down Under.
Location: 64 – 66 Scott St, Newcastle East
Opening Times: Tues – Thurs 11am till 10pm. Fri & Sat 11am till late. Sunday 11am till 9.30pm
Lean against the wrong (or in this case, right) door in Hunter Street and you might just find yourself stumbling into a sexy, surreptitious bar aptly named The Koutetsu.
Featuring a hip modern interior with steel mesh, antique lighting draped from the roof and an industrial meets art deco atmosphere, you’d be excused for thinking you’re in Nicola Tesla’s private watering hole.
Come here for the classic cocktails, cider, boutique beers and a great selection of top shelf wine. Stay for the reason that finding the door out is incredibly difficult after a few drinks in this dimly lit speakeasy.
Location: 555 Hunter St, Newcastle West NSW 2300
For those who love to feel the sun on their face and the sea breeze on their skin while enjoying a frosty beverage, The Beach Hotel will be right up your alley.
Located at the southern end of the famous Merewether beach, The Beach Hotel is a classic Australian pub that serves up a great selection of beer, wine, cocktails, entertainment and hearty meals for the hungry masses.
It’s main drawcard, however, is its outdoor patio, which offers expansive and unobstructed views over the ocean, making it perfect for when you want to keep one eye on the surf and one hand wrapped firmly around a freshly poured schooner.
Location: 99 Frederick St, Merewether NSW 2291
MoneyPenny is a trendy harbourside bar defined by its relaxed setting and simple but highly appetising fare.
It’s also known for dishing up some of the most refreshing cocktails in Newcastle using only three to four high-quality ingredients, alongside a great range of finger food such as buffalo wings, dumplings and not to be missed pizzas.
Make it your go-to rendezvous and you’ll be treated to a food and drink menu that’s constantly evolving, ensuring you can visit on the regular and always find something to pique your curiosity.
Location: 1 Honeysuckle Dr, Newcastle NSW 2300
Opening Times: Wednesday – Sunday from midday – late
Named the Best Regional Bar in Australia in 2016, Coal & Cedar is a hidden speakeasy that’d make a prohibition-era gangster feel right at home.
Complete with taxidermy-covered walls, moody lighting and an intimate ambiance, this is the bar you go to when you want good conversation, plenty of atmosphere and a stiff drink.
Their collection of whiskeys is a feature, but they’ll also happily serve you a sweet, sour, light, dark, fruity or spicy cocktail to suit any taste. And while entry isn’t as easy as stepping through the threshold, parched souls looking for a good time will be rewarded for going the extra mile to find it.
Location: 380/382 Hunter St, Newcastle NSW 2300
Opening Times: Open 7 Days a week from 4pm
Incredible tapas, good vibes and a formidable range of drinks to choose from – these are the things that make Basement on Market Street a must-visit establishment the next time you’re in Newcastle.
Try their green tea infused gin, vodka with popping candy, their pomegranate Negroni or all three at the same time. The choice is yours.
It’s smart and sophisticated and ideal for couples, first dates or a night out with the gals. Really, anytime you want to put your best foot forward and impress friends or a partner with your superior taste in food and drinks.
Location: 2/2 Market Street, Newcastle NSW 2300
Opening Times: Open Tues – Sat 12pm – Late. Sunday 12pm – 10pm. Closed Monday
The iconic Queens Wharf Hotel is another harbourside establishment with views befitting of royalty, not to mention a comprehensive wine and beer menu that’d make Her Majesty throw in Buckingham for Broadmeadows.
It boasts an elegant modern design plus a chic and spacious upstairs called the Skiff Bar, where patrons can take in the water views and watch the ships as they cruise into port.
Where the Queens Wharf Hotel really shines, however, is in its ability to complement its drinks menu and extravagant views with great food and regular entertainment, ensuring there’s always something for everyone.
Location: 150 Wharf Rd, Newcastle NSW 2300
Bar Petite is a cocktail lounge and tapas bar that’s designed to inspire a feeling of joie de vivre in everyone who walks through its doors.
With a French-boutique style setting and some of the best music, food, wine and drinks in Newcastle, it’s a great place to get cosy with a loved one or just sit back and enjoy the finer things in life.
Just don’t expect to watch the Knights on the big screen here, since TVs don’t get a look in. Instead, you’ll be able to pass the time by sampling their quirky selection of cocktail whilst soaking in its decidedly European ambiance. Trés chic, mate.
Location: 5 King St, Newcastle NSW 2300
Feature image credit: visitnewcastle.com.au
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