After a period of decline, it’s undeniable that Whitley Bay is on the up and receiving the recognition it deserves as a jewel in the North East crown!
From recognition in The Guardian newspaper no less for Park View being the greatest shopping street in the world, to the return of the Spanish City Dome to the list of must-see destinations in the area, Whitley Bay is back on the map. Originally opened in 1910, the iconic white dome has had many guises over the years, at various times housing a funfair, theatre, ballroom, laser quest, amusement arcade, gig venue, and even being used as classrooms during a caretakers’ strike at the local high school in the 1980s! Beloved of the band Dire Straits, you will find it mentioned in their song ‘Tunnel of Love’.
Our shop in Whitley Bay is nestled in the heart of the town, a stone’s throw from the other marvellous independent businesses thriving along Park View and Whitley Road, and we must say we are spoilt for choice now when we want a unique venue for a relaxing drink after the hustle and bustle of the day is done and all our lovely customers have found their way homeward. We might only have the energy to visit one establishment at a time, but why not take a tour of them all, next time you visit For the Love of the North?
On leaving our shop, turn right and walk along until Whitley Road becomes Park View. On your right you will find the Dog and Rabbit Micro Brew Pub, a delightfully cosy and no-nonsense haven among the shops, always with a warm welcome and knowledgeable staff to help you select your beverage. Like Paul, Tony and Julie Patton are ex North Tyneside Council employees and this is what they did next. With no piped music and a selection of books to browse or borrow this is a relaxing start to your tour. The regular customers here are a very friendly bunch indeed and even arrange group visits to other pubs and breweries in the area that always look a great deal of fun .
Leaving the D & R , turn left and retrace your steps past For the Love of the North before turning left at the major junction to pass the Jam Jar Cinema, an independent 50-seat cinema with a lounge bar and a Bafta Award winner at the helm no less! Named after the tradition of discounted or free admission being granted on production of a jam jar, due to the value of glass before the 1970s, it was opened in 2013 and is the only cinema in Whitley Bay, a town where once upon a time there were five!
Climb the stairs for a refreshing schooner of lager (when Paul worked there he never quite mastered the art of pulling a pint despite Jam Jar Chairman’s Dan Ellis many attempts to teach him!) before continuing to the corner of York Road and turning right. Here you will find Storm Cellar, a bottle shop and tasting room and the home of Black Storm Brewery. With 10 lines on the bar and a wide range to drink in or take away, you are sure to find something to suit your tastes here.
To continue the tour, return to the corner of York road and cross diagonally to the right, into Roxburgh Terrace. Follow this to the end, turn right along Park View and after 5 minutes’ walk you will spot the welcoming sight of Nord on the opposite side of the road, just across from Coquet Avenue. With a focus on craft beers this is an Aladdin’s cave of exciting breweries and beers you’ve never imagined existed, and there are refillable ‘growler’ bottles available if you want to take beer home waste-free!
The latest addition to the attractions of Park View is Fox and Finch, handily situated just a few doors down from Nord. With a great range of beer and lager on tap, lots of gin varieties and well stocked fridges, it should have something for everyone. It's still in its opening few weeks and attracting a mixed crowd, definitely a popular stop on the new circuit of local watering holes for folk to enjoy on their evenings in Whitley Bay.
For our final stop, we are heading to Spanish City itself, so leave Nord and cross into Coquet Avenue, heading for the sea front. You have the choice to turn left, skirting the field and passing the Playhouse on your left, then turning right into Marine Avenue past the amusements, or continue straight ahead through Whitley Park until you come out on the Promenade. Whichever you choose, walk around to the Northern façade of Spanish City where you will find the Split Chimp micropub just to the right of the main entrance steps. The choice of drinks, beautiful view of the North Sea and newly redeveloped sea front area makes this the perfect place to conclude our tour.