I was recently invited along with a +1 to the VIP launch night at all new Banyan bar and restaurant in Newcastle. I must admit that Newcastle is a place I just dont visit enough! I come through for food and events occasionally and maybe the odd night out but the transport links after 12pm to sunny Sunderland are non excitant and I just hate paying taxi fees. But after being in a place like Banyan…it makes me think I should do it more often.
So Banyan is located where Jamies Italian used to reside, right opposite the Monument metro station so it is in a prime location for transport links but also central to other bars, restaurants or theatres. On the exterior nothing seems to have drastically changed, apart from it has a revamped outdoor seating area which looks good for an al fresco food and drink session.
The whole place inside has been gutted and changed since its Jamies days and it now has a really nice warm vibe about it whereas before it felt quite cold and industrial. As you enter the bar area the main bar is located on your right with bar seating all around as well comfy sofas, plenty of seating for the punters.
The stairs are now located at the rear to the right and upstairs is where the toilets are located and where the main restaurant will be, which I am desperate to try. Burgers and Smores… yes please.
As you go up the stairs you have big Edison style lighting above your head with neon lights dotted around, it just has that modern and quirky feel about it. As you go through the door the decor wasn’t what I was expecting inside. More neons then flowers hanging down from the ceiling which would have seemed random but behind the bar was another neon Banyan sign then lights sprouting and it was almost tree like. Lets just say it is an Insta posts dream!
Having and selling the right booze is paramount these days, you need to appeal to everyone and sell a good range of beers and spirits.
Lets start off with the beers.
The usual largers are on sale alongside Peroni, Coors and San Miguel – all good beers, but then there was a curveball thrown in…an ale on draft. Having an ale on draught, as well as bottles is a must nowadays, its the first thing I look for when I go into a bar. Im partial to a decent ale now and again.
Ale is a big thing today and Banyan had managed to get their hands on a great 4.2% double dry hops from Wylam Brewery – the ‘Hicky the Rake”. A really nice touch there, having such an ale is what can set a bar apart from the rest. Im sure this will please many ale suppers across the toon.
Another thing that excited me and I thought I would never say this, but the gin was superb, and Im not a gin drinker at all. I do make my own at home for the missus but thats about as far as it goes with me. But we were kindly gifted some drinks tokens upon arrival and gin cocktails were on the menu. The barman was very informative about the gin on offer and since he knew his stuff I left myself in his capable hands to surprise me with one of the best.
This is just a few of the many gins I sampled that night and I think I may have been converted as they were all amazing, especially the Empress gin, that was special, by far my favourite. I may have woke on Saturday morning with a little of a thumping head, but thats just sign of a good night isn’t it!
Overall the grand opening was a roaring success in my mind, the place was buzzing with excitement. The place certainly has a good vibe. Definitely a one to watch flourish.
The music on the night was of great taste too and what made the night that little bit more exciting was the band making its rounds now and again. Once the saxophone and trumpet got going everyones heads were turned, lets hope this will be a regular entertainment feature of this new bar.
Next on my to do list is to try the food here, the images that are being shared on social media look absolutely cracking! My mouth waters every time i see one pop up on Insta.
Here is what my +1 and good friend Anth had to say about the night;
Banyan Newcastles doors are now open for everyone to enjoy.
See the website here