We couldn't wait to pop back over opening weekend to take a look at the stunning transformation.
Far from being 'just another chain' I adore how much the hotel has integrated itself into North East community from the locally sourced food on offer in Hawthorns (Robson's of Craster Smoked Salmon, Turnbull's of Alnwick Gourmet burger and Toon Ale Battered Cod all featuring on the menu) to Wylam Brewery beer and Ouseburn Coffee stocking the bar. The bar menu even features a sketch of Newcastle's famous Grey Street. Supporting local is a big thing for me and this interest in sourcing local really sets the Crowne Plaza apart from other city centre hotels in Newcastle.
The Gin Bar
The Gin Bar is open to residents and non residents from 9am until late. Located on Forth Street, just a 3-4 minute walk away from Central Station it is an ideal location for commuters to meet for after work drinks and the environment is perfectly designed for an informal business lunch (I can certainly see myself arranging to meet clients here).
In the evening, I'm sure the substantial cocktail and beer list will draw in the crowd who prefer a quality drink and good conversation over 2 for 1 cocktails and dancing. The GIN bar isn't far from Newcastle's Metro Radio Arena and is going to be my new go-to meeting place for pre-concert cocktails.
Engineer Your Martini
The GIN bar prides itself on it's Martini's and there are over 27,000 varieties. No typos! That's 27,000! The highly skilled bartenders will help you engineer your own signature Martini. With so much choice, the Martini menu has been cleverly created to help you design your own drink - simply choose a liquour, garnish ( I want to try thyme and rocksalt), vermouth and serving style. Martini's cost from just £6.50. We tried the classic 'GIN bar' Martini and I have to say I was really impressed. I'm not a Martini girl but this one was 1000 times more drinkable than the ones hubby makes me at home!
We also tried a couple of Gin based cocktails which were all delightful. I loved them all and don't think I could pick a favourite!
Raspberry and Thyme Smash - £7.20
Sloe Royale - £8.90
Sloe Gin and Cucumber Sour
What if I don't like Gin?
I am super excited to see an English Sparkling Wine on the menu - there aren't many places that stock English Sparkling Wine and it is my absolute favourite. Better than Champagne in my opinion! A bottle of Nyetimber Classic Cuvee will set you back £58 but if you are celebrating it is worth every penny.
You will also find a good selection of beers and a very good selection of soft drinks - if you are pregnant, driving or abstaining from alcohol you will be spoilt for choice with Fentimans Ginger Beer, Belvoir Raspberry Lemonade and Bottlegreen Elderflower and Pomegranate all featuring. Lovers of Ouseburn Coffee will also be delighted to OCC Tea and Coffee behind the bar.
There are a selection of cocktails that don't feature Gin but are equally as good including the OCC Espresso Martini (of boilershop steamer fame) and the spiced mai-tai which is recommended.
Bar Food and Snacks
There is a small but pleasing bar food menu available in the GIN bar offering a selection of small plates (hot butchers sausage, king prawns and salt and pepper squid are all highly recommended), sandwiches, desserts and sharing platters. When I visit with Steve I just know his eyes will head straight to the Farmer's Platter - Turnbull's pork pie, pulled ham & Doreen's black pudding press, mortadella, nettle cheese, Yorkshire blue, glazed butchers sausage, pease pudding, onion jam and Geordie Bakers bread - £18 for two people.
The GIN bar impressed with their bar snacks and cocktails and it was such a lovely environment to catch up with the girls. What really made the difference though were the staff. Every single team member was passionate about providing first class service, welcoming us, taking the time to chat and they were really very knowledgable about the drinks available. It really makes the difference when staff welcome you like this. They truly are the best of the best.
If you are looking for somewhere new to try in Newcastle City Centre, give The GIN bar a visit and you won't be disappointed.
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