Hadrian’s Tipi review
When in Rome!
Tonight we attended the launch party for Hadrian’s Tipi, the canvas structure which has taken residence outside of central station. I’ve only seen these tipis in the grounds of gorgeous country houses when I’ve attended friends weddings, but with its sparkly lights it didn’t look out of place in the urban setting.
Before getting to the doors we passed a wooden hut where they were cooking up sausages on an open fire. The smell was divine and we were hoping that we’d get to taste some of what was on offer once we were inside. Stopping to collect a cup of mulled wine on the way, which was garnished with fresh oranges and cinnamon, we headed inside.
Once through the doors of the tipis we were greeted with fairy lights in every direction. Like a grown up grotto, the inside of the tipi was warm and very cosy.2016 is the year of Hygge, a Danish tradition that basically means creating a warm atmosphere and enjoying the good things in life. Well if Hadrian’s Tipi were aiming for Hygge they have got it in spades. The low lighting, flickering from the fire and furry blankets draped over benches all made for a very welcoming atmosphere.
Hadrian’s Tipi is spread over two connecting tipis. The bar is in the first tipi, and when we had first come in was pretty crowded with people queuing for drinks and others milling around. Not holding out much hope for a seat, we were pleasantly surprised that on walking into the second tipi where the fire pit is the focal point, we managed to get a wooden bench to ourselves. There weren’t any cushions to sit on, but they were covered with a blanket, so they weren’t uncomfortable.
Having throughly enjoyed the welcome drink of Glühwein (a German Mulled Wine) I could have quite happily put away a couple more, or a few mulled ciders, craft ales or wines on offer. But having remembered that I’m was both the parent to an early rising baby, and due to start work the following day at 7:30am I had driven the car into town, and therefore perused the soft drinks on offer. Keen to keep up the warm and festive feeling I went for a hot chocolate, which at £3 came with a mountain of whipped cream on top. My friend was also in the market for a posh soft drink, and wasn’t disappointed with the choice of Franklin and Sons drinks which were available as well as the usual, coke, sprite and fanta.
Next on offer was the food. We tasted two versions of the sausages which were available. Both were served in soft white buns and I’m happy to report tasted as good as they had smelled outside. First up was a traditional sausage, served with ketchup, mustard and onions on top. It has a lovely chargrilled taste to it, and went down a treat. With our appetite well and truly whetted we were very happy when we saw the next offerings coming our way. This one was a curry wurst, something that I think i’ve turned my nose up at when I’ve seen it on menus before. Well what a fool I was, turns out curry sauce and sausage are a match made in heaven, someone could have told me! It was another winner, and one i’ll definitely order again.
The entertainment for the evening was provided by a band playing some of the classics, and a DJ. For the people with seats around the fire pit, that was entertainment enough. We were sitting close by and watching it crackle and burn was quite mesmerising.
With work early the next morning we decided to call it a night, but my friend and I both agreed that we would be back. There isn’t really anywhere like it in Newcastle. It is the perfect place to stop for a drink before a christmas meal, or to call in before catching a train or a metro back home. It reminded me of a Christmas market, but with the benefit of actually being warm.
The only downsides for me, are that you have to step outside to go to the toilets, it wouldn’t have been so bad on an evening like tonight, but on a night that it was snowing or raining I can imagine people just choosing to move on to the next bar whenever they feel a call of nature. The floors were also really quite wet, not wet enough to slip on, but our bags and coats which we’d put down did get soaked, so it’s a much better idea to keep them on one of the benches if there are any free. My final point is about the capacity. I don’t know how many people were there tonight, but when we arrived it did feel pretty busy. Because of the layout, with only one bar, which is in the first tipi I can imagine that this area will get extremely crowded at times which could get a bit claustrophobic. I know that there is a maximum capacity of 180 though, so hopefully this has been calculated so people have enough room to enjoy the space comfortable as opposed to being pushed up to everyone else like they’re on a rush hour metro journey.
Hadrian’s Tipi gets a thumbs up from me. I think it’ll be a very popular choice in Newcastle with people calling in to get into the festive spirit in the warm cosy atmosphere.