Angela is a freelance writer and radio producer living in the heart of Newcastle. She is endeavouring to find and share the best the city has to offer no matter how many delicious restaurants she has to endure.
Published September 6th 2012
Raising the bar
Recently opened in June this year, Terrace Bar on Hunter St is a welcome addition to Newcastle's slim night-pickings, offering patrons a cosy, laid-back, yet lively atmosphere in which to relax with friends and a few drinks. In a town where the choice for party-goers is between pubbing or clubbing, Terrace offers a refreshing alternative, hosting local bands, solo artists and a clever variety of DJs, playing anything from rock 'n' roll and soul to lounge. The bar also supports the local art scene, hosting exhibitions, poetry readings and film screenings.
As an omen for the quirky goodness inside, entry to the bar is through Hunter Street's iconic "Poet's Page" wall - what always seemed to the outside world to be a wooden 'cork-board' for local poets to post their latest musings. Turns out this apparent wall is actually entry into what was for over a decade an abandoned and derelict building. The two storeys of this sad structure have now been turned into two levels of glowing wine bar and on any given weekend, the space absolutely pulsates with people enjoying the boutique selection of wines, ciders and beers downstairs, and the underground arts and music offerings upstairs.
The decor on the first floor is plush, inviting and quirky, with nautical paintings adorning the walls and the surrounding warm lamps casting a cosy light on velvet couches and armchairs. The long, hilariously narrow outside space (more of a walkway) offers quite a congenial atmosphere for the smoker and anyone venturing outside is bound to bump, literally, into someone new. It's characteristics like this that turn ordinary bars into iconic, well-loved nightspots with personality.
Upstairs features a cosy, gig environment with a small stage and a set of heavy leather lounges that are moved about on the whim of the audience - as one group leaves, another shifts the lounges around the corner to a table on which a bottle of red wine is placed, in another reincarnation, the furniture is simply used as a seat from which to watch the band - a nice change from hard bar stools.
Outside is the terrace for which the bar was named, a fantastic place to spend a sunny afternoon and sample a few new beers from the growing bar menu.
The Terrace Bar is simply a joy to visit and is sorely needed to provide a stage for Newcastle's always vibrant arts and music scene. As the first of hopefully many small wine bars that will help to resuscitate and diversify this city's struggling night-life, it is well worth a visit (or several).