If you’re local to Whitley Bay, if I place the two words South and Parade simultaneously next to each other I know what you’d instantly be thinking. Wild nights and crazy Bank Holidays.
With the street once lined with bars full of hen & stag dos looking for somewhere cheap and cheerful. Whitley Bay’s South Parade was notorious for drunken revellers as the place to go.
The ThursBAYs of Dreams once was my local under-age and student haunt. With bottles of cheap alcopops selling for less than £1. Promises of a cheap drunken night where everybody knew each other. These are the nights we often reflect back upon. The good old days.
As the years went by the street fell into disrepair and the bars slowly shut one by one.
Now, with an £80m injection into the seafront. The sad shells of the former nightspots are now being giving a severe facelift and a Tynemouth-esc feel is being brought to this winding strip in the heart of the town.
We headed to Loca on Wednesday afternoon to check out the new renovation. Located where Envy used to be ahead of their launch this evening.
Arriving at what I can only describe as a genuine building site I walked in stepping over countless builders and even dodging an angle grinder.
“Erm…..the press event?” I asked extremely confused. Standing there head to toe in Ralph Lauren and Mulberry as sawdust flew in my face. Next door I was told.
Let the drinks flow
Slightly confused I headed next door to the Italian where I was given a glass of Vino Verde upon arrival. I sat down with Gemma as we both looked puzzled. The Vino Verde is in keeping with the whole theme of the Loca concept. This is the preferred alternative to prosecco for these guys. I have to say I did enjoy it with its light notes and thicker texture.
Finishing off our arrival drinks we were then handed cocktails. As we sipped on the Tai Tai and Loca Colada it became evident. South Parade seriously has the illustrious charm of ensuring that you’re never leaving sober.
Explaining the Latin American theme of the menu it’s all about tapas and sharing good times and great food with friends. With an average main dish priced at £10, the pricing is ideal for the location.
The cocktails are heavenly, they’re good proportions and aren’t just a glass of ice like you find in city centre locations. The Loca Colada is worth trying out. The menu is simple in cocktail terms, no dry ice (which I was glad about). They’re your standard mix of say 15-20 cocktails with a Loca twist on their names.
After a good go of the entire drinks menu, we were then taken back to Loca Whitley Bay to visit the bar and dining area. Having changed somewhat in the space of time we were testing out all of the cocktails the race was on for their opening night….which happens to be this evening.
Think textures, quirky colour schemes, luxe leathers and a really high-end Latin decor theme and you’re pretty much there with the interior feel.
The toilets were being prepared for the selfie decals on the mirrors. You’ve got to take a toilet selfie right or who even are you? Noticing a huge improvement since those Shanti cubicles of Envy they certainly have thought of every aspect of the venue. You can see that The All Saints Group who are behind the renovation of the bar and Hotel 52. A boutique hotel with 32 rooms of superior quality which resides overhead are seriously passionate about bringing life back into this town.
Whilst from what I saw (and some clever photography tricks on my behalf) I can only imagine that tonight, opening night will be absolutely sensational.
After our tour, and a lot of fumes going to our head we headed back to sample some of the dishes. Providing a Vegan plate for Emma of Canny Food and a platter for the rest of us we were able to grab a taste of the flavours coming to Loca.
Admittedly I was too busy chatting so missed out on the food but the rest of the girls thought it was tasty. I’d have loved to see their dishes served how they’d be served in the restaurant. However, understanding opening new locations are a logistical nightmare at times. The team expressed their frustration at their setbacks the team did exceptionally well for their resources on hand.
You’d be Loco to miss Loca
I will certainly be heading to Loca over the next few weeks as there are a few dishes I got my eye on that I’d love to see if they can rival and match the authentic Latin American flavours that their menu boasts. Of course having lived just a stone’s throw away from South Parade for most of my life I do have a hope that this is the beginning of building a very cosmopolitan atmosphere right here in my hometown. Jesmond and Tynemouth we’re coming for you!
So here’s to Loca, keeping it Local! Buena Suerte as they say in Latin America for tonight’s opening!