Lifestyle & Culture

Hunting speakeasy bars of Newcastle

Michaela Wagland takes a glance into the nightlife Newcastle has to offer.

Within our glorious city of Newcastle, the potential for a great night out is extremely high. Our watering holes are endless; Novacastrians have a large spectrum of bars catering to all desires. We really do have everything from sweaty hot boxes (nightclubs) and pubs to an array of various bars.

As a student, I am no stranger to the Wednesday night/Thursday morning regrets and attending the same venue almost every week (please don’t judge) with a great group of people can be a fabulous time.

But I felt like having a little adventure. A little Alice meets Narnia type of night, but with cocktails.

Before I begin to tell my tale, I wonder if you have ever heard of ‘speakeasy’ bars. Allow me to educate you if you have not. During the prohibition era within the Unites States throughout the 1920s till 1933, small establishments that sold alcohol began appearing. Totally scandalous as the distribution of alcohol was prohibited, these places were illegal. Despite their illicit nature however, their popularity flourished.

It seems this excitement has transcended throughout time. So I must wonder yet again, were you aware these bars existed within Newcastle? I certainly didn’t, until I stumbled into one the other night… I actually was taken there but the latter is a much better beginning.

Let me paint you a picture of Coal and Cedar.

The entrance… it was part of the wall a moment ago. Tremendous black drapes prevented any natural light from emerging through the window. What light there was came from subtleness of candle light and the dim backdrop of light from behind the shelves of liquor.

I felt like I wasn’t in Newcastle anymore. I wasn’t sure where I was but I expected to see the black silhouette of Coco Chanel sitting at the back of the bar. The atmosphere was intoxicating, intimate conversations added a touch of sexiness amidst the darkness. It was the epitome of sophistication and style.

I had this intense desire to pick up my phone and tell everyone about this place, but I felt slightly guilty. I felt obligated to keep it a secret. The mere fact I was holding my phone felt slightly wrong as well. So I ordered a cocktail… Or three.

It wasn’t my fault, the bartenders were charming and extremely skilled in making cocktails… It would have been rude of me to go to a cocktail bar and not have a cocktail.

After I finished my last cocktail and munched away on complimentary Sicillian olives, I realised that I needed to broaden my horizons. Yes university work does comes first but I am first and foremost a university student, and we all encompass a great ability to find time to go out. So why not change it up a little bit?

Through the whisper of a rumour, it was also brought to my attention a bar entitled Koutetsu. When I asked for the address my reply was, ‘It is a secret’. Although a quick Google search could quite possibly answer my question, I was immediately intrigued. Fascinated by the secrecy. This will be my next adventure.

Although we may settle for what we know and where we feel comfortable, why not go on a hunt for something uniquely different? After all, Newcastle is like the perfect partner. You can feel extremely comfortable in a bar you love but it also has the ability to surprise and impress you beyond all expectations. Why not discover the secrets Newcastle has to offer?

I only mention two bars here because it is all about the adventure, the hunt of finding something incredible. I’m not going to disclose the destination of Coal and Cedar (for those who don’t already know it), and whilst you could easily look it up, I urge you not to.

I’ll leave you with a clue. If you happen to walk past a barber shop on Hunter Street, take a closer look. But only between the hours of 4 to 12pm of course.

Happy hunting.



Image: l.blasco, Flickr, no changes made.


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