Well, I lied. There are no clubs in Alnwick. At all. But that’s not to say there isn't anything to do in this little North East town, because Alnwick has pubs, restaurants and em.....that’s it. I want a DRINK (Pubs) ---------------------- For such a small town Alnwick has a massive concentration of pubs. Some are solely for the over 50's, while others appear to be only for the under 20's. The Tanners ----------- This pub is defined by its jukebox. Britney Spears is replaced by Limp Bizkit and Led Zepplin. Yes, this pub is filled by the Rock and Metal lovers of Alnwick. The people who wear black and the people with long hair all come in here, but the vast majority of people in here are normal. They just don't want to dance to cheesy pop like everyone else. And I say - Good on them!! The Tanners is a small friendly pub which serves a wide range of drinks. You can buy the legendary Absinthe from here in all its potent glory. The bar staff are friendly and the whole place has a friendly warm feel. The only problem is that its lack of size means that on a Friday or Saturday night the place is packed, often to the extent where just trying to get in the door proves a bit of a problem. Get there early and get a seat. The Bottles ----------- The Bottles sits in the centre of the largest concentration of pubs in Alnwick, and often serves as the starting point for the night out. The thing is, everyone else thinks this too, so although busy from 7pm till around 8.30pm, come 9pm and the place is empty. The pub is large so there is a lot of room, although not much seating. The range of drinks isn't anything special but they do have regular special offers. There's also a pool table and a few arcade machines, and a big screen TV for those footy matches. Oscars ------ Formally a more up market Wine Bar, Oscars has recently bec
ome more of a pub but still has that slightly more upmarket feel to it. Of course the prices match this, typically 20p more on a pint of lager. They do have some great specials though, including a deadly mix containing 6 shots of vodka and a can of Red Bull in a pint glass, for only £3. My friend once drunk two of these in about half an hour and had to go home by 9pm. The upstairs of Oscars houses a small dance floor with a resident (dodgy) DJ. Being next to The Bottles, Oscars is normally the second port of call on a normal night out. By 9pm it too is usually quiet but if you're out in a large group then having a dance floor almost to yourself is probably a good thing, so we often spend a bit longer at Oscars after everyone else has left. Oddfellows ---------- This is also quite close to Oscars and The Bottles, but unlike the others this place is full all night! It is certainly the place to be at the moment and is always full, although nowhere near as bad as The Tanners. They are just a normal small town pub, they have a pool table, throughout the daytime they serve lunch and they run a B&B above the pub. The average age is perhaps a little higher than in other places, but this isn't an oldies pub either. Good for a visit at any time of the night, although it has the habit of making you stay rather longer than you actually want!! The Fleece ---------- A generic pub if ever there was one. It has a bar at which to buy drinks and seats at which to sit, there is a pool table at which you can play pool and a small dance floor where you can dance. It lacks a theme or atmosphere like the other pubs, or at least it does in my opinion. The drinks are also a little on the pricey side but at least it is one of the few places in Alnwick that sells Stella Artois on draught, at a reassuringly expensive £2.40 a pint. The Fleece was once legendary for its lock-ins (or should I say sleep overs
!!). Unfortunately the good old Alnwick police, devoid of any real criminals to catch, put a stop to this. The Falcons Rest ---------------- One of Alnwicks' most popular venues, the fact that this place stays open till 2am means it is one of the only places to go in Alnwick to continue the fun after the traditional pubs close. The pub is split up in to two, there is a traditional bar and then 'Bar Zanz' which stays open till 2am. They have started to charge entry to 'Bar Zanz' but its only a couple of quid, depending on what time you go. This is the closest thing Alnwick has to a club, but the music is far too cheesy for anyone to take it seriously. The drinks are also way overpriced, and it tends to get a little full on a Saturday night! The George ---------- Smack bang in the middle of Town, the George is just a normal pub with no real defining features. It does sell Stella Artois on draught, which is a plus point for any pub (in my books anyway!!). It does have a pool table too, but apart from that there is very little else to say about it. I'm HUNGRY (Where to Eat In Alnwick) ------------------------------------ Alnwick has quite a few places to eat, but I only eat at a few of them regularly. Infact, I would have to say that Alnwicks’ best food comes from its take aways, so I'll include them here too. Bienvenito's (Otherwise known as 'The Italian') ----------------------------------------------- Having just opened a few years ago, 'The Italian' as it is known has become very popular. It is an Italian restaurant which is run by Italians, so be prepared for singing waiters!!! The food is great; they sell a range of dishes which include pizzas, pasta dishes, steaks and seafood. You always get plenty food and it isn't too expensive, a pizza only costs about £5 and even a plateful of
prawns with all the trimmings only costs around £12. It can get busy, so booking is advisable. Just watch out for a group of 20 youngsters upstairs, it’s our favourite place to start before a night on the town!! Sun Ho Chop Suey House ---------------------- A Chinese takeaway that sells absolutely delicious food!! I wrote an opinion on the shop itself, so I won't say too much about it here. I am probably a bit biased (I know the owner) but this is by far the better of the two Chinese takeaways in Alnwick. All they need is a sitting area and it could be a great restaurant. Tandoori Takeaway ----------------- I don't think this place has a name, its simple known as 'The Indian'. Again it is a takeaway, but there are no Indian restaurants in Alnwick so this will have to do for your curry needs. The food is always great and the selection available impressive. You do have to wait a while before being getting your food, so it is a good idea to ring up and order, then collect your food. Hot Bite -------- For the after pub burger!! This place stays open 'till the early hours of the morning and sells the usual things, burgers, chips and kebabs! The food is nice, reasonably cheap, but to be honest after a night out who really cares?? If you ever go, try their 'Hotbite sauce'; it is delicious!! The Hotspur ----------- In reality a hotel, this place also serves meals to the public. It sells the normal bar food, fish and chips etc. Its nice food and again reasonably priced. There is also a pool table to keep you entertained! I Want Some CULTURE!! (Other Things in Alnwick) ----------------------------------------------- Drinking and grub not your cup of tea? Perhaps you prefer the cinema, or theatre? Bad luck then!!! Alnwick has only one cinema/theatre, which while good doesn'
;t exactly provide a lot of choice!! The Playhouse ------------- The centre of civilised people in Alnwick, the Playhouse plays host to an amazing amount of events but always leaves me longing for something a bit more specialised. I don't care much for concerts or theatre, but I do like to watch films. The problem is, the films at the Playhouse are a good couple of months old meaning that you have to go to Newcastle to see the latest blockbuster. The few plays I have gone to see have all been good, and I must praise the Playhouse for getting the community involved in various schemes. Overall ------- A night out in Alnwick? I could think of better places, but then I could also think of worse. Go out for a friends birthday and you could almost convince yourself you're having, starting with a meal at the Italian followed by a trip round the pubs, rounded off by a nice healthy cheeseburger from Hotbite!! It might not rival clubbing in London, but it does me for a night out!!
They tell me I should write to advise, but who am I advising? I suspect the percentage of us here on dooyoo that live in or around my sleepy town of Alnwick is, to say the least, a little small. I can think of four, maybe five of us who may have heard of The Tanners. For this reason, I can’t help thinking I may be wasting my time – these four or five members drink in there already. The thing is though, there is always a chance, albeit a very small one, that one of you may spend sometime up here in Northumberland at some point during you life’s. So for that reason, I’ll proceed to tell you a little a bit about my ‘local’, if you care to listen, so that if anyone does happen to pass through humble Alnwick you won’t drink in the wrong place and get the wrong impression. Besides, I want to share – you know? I think anyone who lives in a small community will learn to love a certain pub or club – and why not? It’s all part of the nature human desire to ‘belong’. Your local pub, in your local area, will no doubt be as special to you as The Tanners is to myself and my friends. Anyone who lives in a city or as a hermit and isn’t able to draw such a comparison – consider Dooyoo. Isn’t the OpCom chat room a ‘local’ of sorts? Well, anyway, I think I should get on and write what it is I have been trying so hard to justify. The Tanners, Alnwicks finest… All of you who live in the South – what would you expect from a pub in rural Northumberland? Warm beer? Flat-capped, pipe-smoking old men with small sheep dogs playing dominos? The gentle aroma of horse manure? If so, you would be right. In most cases. The Tanners is Alnwicks golden exception. We have a fair collection of ‘old men’ pubs, the kind you might find in Geordie comic-strips, and we have an even larger collection of ‘young persons’ pub (which
means plenty of alcho-pop and a second-rate disco), but only one pub for those of us who don’t enjoy flat ale or dance music. The Tanners truly is one of those rare breeds of pub, a place where the atmosphere is of the highest quality, and as yet untouched by the ‘less desirables’ drinkers in our small society (by those I mean the angry youth who seek to begin fights, and the coughing old gentlemen who go silent as you walk inside). It is situated a little way from the town centre, easily near enough to walk to, but equality far away from the ‘rough’ areas. It’s hard to explain if you have no knowledge of the geography. The surrounding pubs are strong, within Alnwick, and so this side of the town is as yet un-effected by the ‘townie masses’ – a huge advantage one can only hope remains intact when and if you visit. The lay-out is bizarre, yet comforting and easy to navigate. It’s tiny, basically, but somehow it holds more or as many bodies as any place else around. The bar runs along the length of the largest wall, with tables and chairs taking up space in front. The toilets are a little cramped, but who cares? The size of the place is vital to maintain the ‘homely’ feel you should learn to enjoy. The bar is surprisingly well stocked for a place of it’s size, and actually contains the odd drink not available anywhere else in the town – the infamous ‘Absinthe’, for one. For two pounds, a shot of absinthe and coke can be yours, reasonably priced when you consider the strength of this notorious tipple. Absinthe is green, and it rocks – believe me. Also, The Tanners sell jugs of various refreshing drinks for you to chip in and share with friends – for twelve pounds, you can buy a jug of vodka and red bull that will fill roughly four pint glasses. Drinks are priced at roughly the same as everywhere else, but the range of alcohol availa
ble is impressive by all standards. Now for another crowning glory of The Tanners – the duke-box. While everywhere else in Alnwick insists of playing dance music all night, The Tanners offers an excellent selection of rock and metal, that is updated frequently. The place has gained a reputation for housing the members of Alnwicks ‘rock’ scene, and I suppose this is true. Anything from classic Black Sabbath, to the new Rage Against The Machine album is there to be played. Don’t worry though, everything is keep at a moderate volume, the presence of quality music simply adds to the overall good feel and atmosphere of the pub. The staff at the Tanners are friendly and fair. It’s not unusual, even on busy nights, for the main barman Dave to engage in some idle chit-chat with us drinkers, and although this may not seem a particularly big deal, it certainly makes a welcome change from the sour-faced waitresses at most other places in the town. The staff run a relaxed but fair system, taking a pretty much ‘zero-tolerance’ approach to fighting (not that there ever is any) yet managing to laugh at genuine accidents and mistakes. I remember a friend of mine who once got a little too drunk, and accidentally knocked over one of the tables – the staff were fine, laughing and clearing up, helping him leave without being aggressive or forceful. The people behind the bar, as much as I hate to say it, are just plain nice. Simple as that. The best time for you to pop into The Tanners would be on a Saturday night, I think, as that’s when it’s at its busiest and spirits are high. They aren’t overly strict on demanding ID and the like, but don’t go carting in a bunch of children with you – they won’t find a place to sit for one. Smoke is often thick in the air, so if that offends you be warned and prepared. The music could be anything, but it’ll be quiet and it
’ll be good. I guess what I am trying to say is that IF you come to Alnwick, and IF you decide to go drinking, The Tanners is easily your best choice. All the other pubs in Alnwick are either too loud with crap music or so backwards you’ll be barred for wearing trainers. The Tanners is small, cosy, and the ‘crack’ is superb (that’s slang for ‘chat’, not cocaine). Pull up a chair, order your self an Absinthe and tap your feet to the good music. You may even spot me, wiping the sick from my face and staggering in the corner.