The Waiting Rooms
THE WAITING ROOMS (Formerly the Long Bar)
The Long Bar, at the bottom of Westgate Road, was a popular haunt for people starting or ending their night out on the town due to its handy location, right next to the Central Station. As its name suggested, it had a very long bar and in its day had plenty of customers, both regulars and visitors to Newcastle enjoyed socialising here. City centre pubs have to move with the times and reinvent themselves every so often, or face losing their way and their loyal customers. So with a half million pound investment, and a month closure for a major refurbishment, the Long Bar re-opens its doors in April 2017 with a brand new look and an apt name for the area The Waiting Rooms.
Out go the dark and cramped decor that the regulars of the Long Bar were used to, replaced by a well-lit and fresh look of the Waiting Rooms. The interior is a mixture of bare brick and untreated wood, complimented by a spattering of chrome, used for hand rails and the fixtures to hold the various jet black wooden signs in place. Its styled in an industrial, office type fashion, yet homely at the same time, quite a feat by the talented design team. The seating is an assortment of wooden stools, beer barrel tables, leather settees and a run of American style booths, ideal for enjoying a chat with friends round a table or to enjoy food with your pint.
If the bar area is packed, like it was when we visited, there’s still plenty of places to plonk your drink down to admire the ever-changing views through the floor to ceiling windows running the full length of the building. Upstairs, the pool table has been replaced with desks and seating along with plenty of plug and usb sockets, ideal for office workers to catch up with work on the go, away from the main bar.
If football or sport is your thing, you’ll be well catered for at “The Waiting Rooms” with Sky Sports on the several wide-screen TV’s scattered around the room – great to watch a match if you don’t have a ticket. The bar’s still quite long and serves up a good range of lagers (Amstel was sampled) along with a range of real ales on hand pumps – Gin and Whisky are well catered for too!
Food to accompany your drink is available at “The Waiting Rooms” who have partnered with “Pie Minister” a multi award-winning pie maker with pub deals across the UK, this one being the furthest up north. The pies on offer use 100% free range ingredients and meat sourced in the UK, with 13 to choose from, there’s a pie to suit all tastes, including vegan and a gluten-free pie.
Richard King, head cook, barman and bottle washer was at hand to answer any questions regarding the food on offer and was keen for us to sample his wares – it would have been rude not too. My favourite was the “Moo Pie” made from beef steak and craft ale – my partner’s choice was the “Moo & Blue” steak with stilton – both very moo-ish.
A small area near the stairs doubles up as a stage with live music pencilled in at least once a week, the young lady singing tonight was excellent, unfortunately I didn’t catch her name but she was well received by everyone present. The upstairs area is served by its own well stocked bar and can be used for events and private functions – a cocktail master classes, Richard explained, had already been talked about and planned for the near future. The outside smoking area is also accessed from the small upstairs bar, which along with the bar, will be well used by the pub patrons.
With the refurbishment now completed to a high standard, and the Long Bar re-branded, I’m sure that The Waiting Rooms will be a huge success and a benefit to the busy Central Station area. When a bar has a refit, its sometimes hard to keep loyal regulars happy, and attract new clientele, but speaking to an old regular last night I think they’ve done both. I for one will be starting my next night down the town with a pie and a pint in The Waiting Rooms.
Guest Blog by John Gregson (Blade Printers) – The Waiting Rooms Launch Party