Tynemouth & Whitley Bay
After that review from Jay Rayner we thought it was high time we had a look at Riley's Fish Shack in King Edward's Bay in Tynemouth (spoiler alert - this was our third attempt at going as the queues can be incredibly long). However once you manage to be patient enough to wait in the queue Riley's Fish Shack certainly lives up to its reputation. We finally visited on a February afternoon when the sun caught the white tops of gentle waves. As we waited at the counter to place our order we watched empanadas and wraps being made before baking in a wood fired oven. As the smell of roasted fish tantalised us turning to sea we were blessed with wonderful views of King Edwards Bay and the Priory. A superb setting for great food, good beer and fine wine.
Whilst visiting the Fish Shack one can't fail to notice Tynemouth Priory and Castle which overlooks majestically, as it has done for centuries, the mouth of the River Tyne. One of the most photographed landmarks of the North East coastline, it is very much worth a visit through it's imposing arch. The English Heritage owned site takes you instantly back in time to it's days as an Anglican Monastery, Royal Castle and much later it's important role as a valuable coastal defence during both World Wars. The views all around of the coastline and river are breathtaking at any time of the year.
Just a short hop, skip and a jump from Tynemouth is the often overlooked Whitley Bay. Often remembered for the long since gone days of stag and hen parties that flocked to this once famous North East resort, resulting in a slightly tarnished image for the town. As a result, people can be surprisingly dismissive of this coastal town. However with it's gorgeous beaches, fabulous community cinema and growing real ale scene we think it's worth another look.
Whilst Whitley Bay residents all know and love the slightly hidden away Rockcliffe pub it's fair to say they may have struggled in the past when looking for that real ale alternative. Not anymore. Within the last year two very different drinking establishments have opened and placed themselves firmly at the heart of Whitley Bay. And it has to be said they're both a bit of a gift for locals and visitors alike. The Dog and Rabbit was the first new pub to open its doors in 2016.
Opened in the summer of 2016 by ex local authority employee Tony Patton and his wife Tracy the pub really offers something to the town centre drinking experience. The venue has developed over the past year and is really forging a sense of identity with the introduction of the pubs very own micro brewery. The walls are adorned with work from local artists and photographers and are able to be purchased. It makes a welcome retreat of an afternoon to take your time over one or indeed two of the ever changing real ales or to spend a cosy and convivial evening with friends.
.Just outside the town centre and in the wonderfully unique surroundings of Monkseaton Metro Station is the Left Luggage Room. As the name suggests it is indeed located in the railway stations former left luggage facility. The fabulously rustic nature of the building only adds to the vibe and charm of the place. Created by two chums named Andy and "Spanish" Steve, the pub is clearly the ultimate labour of love and quickly established itself as a must go to venue. An excellent range of ales, wines and spirits are to be enjoyed and a most welcome sight is the quality bar grub on offer, the pork and apple pies are an absolute delight.
Lets hope this upward trend in the Whitley Bay pub scene continues and there is plenty of choice for the discerning beer lover.