Billy Bootleggers; what a sensational underground dive in the best possible sense. Elliot has given this deserted space a new lease of life. What an absolutely sensational bar this is. Nestled beneath NO 28 (which is home to The Grind) a wacky adventure which will no doubt pay off for all of those people looking for an alternative bar. You can come in with or without the hipster beard you can come in without the knowledge of craft beer kick back and soak in the moonshine. It’s the Boston Cheers bar of Newcastle whoever you are there is a warm welcome. It’s stripped back to reveal warts and all. Underground entertainment at it’s finest, fantastic drinks and wonderful jazz. With live music every weekend it’s the tonic that Newcastle needs. Move over pretentious there’s a new kind of bar on the block. Toe tapping, side splitting, get down and enjoy every second of this tremendous new bar. Long live prohibition!
Heading downstairs into the bar the stairwell is emblazoned with graffitiesque Billy Bootlegger logos. Once through the door, you are in a stripped back bar of yesteryear. Don’t be fooled by the basic decor it’s all intentional and the quirky attention to detail stands out in a particularly subtle way. Eclectic styling.
Check out the American phone box, fire hydrant, road signs and of course ‘Billy’ the cock. The washrooms don’t look finished but again that’s the intention, with clever use of reclaimed wood and the letter B stamped into the walls and flooring.
If you are looking for bright lights, opulence and fine dining you are definitely in the wrong place, if you are looking for a great night out, with live entertainment, snack bar food and flowing drinks then you couldn’t have a better night out than Billy Bootleggers.
Kicking the first night off in truly memorable style were local five piece band The King Bees with their fabulous rhythm and blues. They are picking up quite a following and quite a few people had arrived for the band and unexpectedly discovered a great new watering hole right in the city centre not dedicated solely to the younger crowd but aimed at attracting cross generational crowds. A small stage but a big sound emanated from this popular band getting us all into that ‘start of the weekend’ feeling. The place was buzzing with everyone having a great night out.
We had been invited as part of the launch party and were treated to sampling the homemade Apple Pie Moonshine, I can honestly say it was wonderful, so much so we ordered another round of moonshine delivered in jam jar glasses. The sweet cinnamon smell reminded me of Christmas and holidays in America and apple pie all at the same time. A bit of a Willy Wonka experience. Try it you will know exactly what I mean!
Bar service is swift there is little waiting about to be served even when the band finished and everyone headed for further refreshments. After moonshine and copious amounts of prosecco some of us decided to try out the pickleback. Billed as the drink of the future! a shot of Jameson with a pickle juice chaser, some of us also drank it in the wrong order! Ugh! Don’t let our foolishness put you off, challenge yourself and your crowd to try the pickleback roulette and the pickle chaser. The drinks menu also contains some great Bourbon cocktails, classic cocktails along with bootlegger beer and bourbon brews.
Food arrived and it was good filling snack bar food, wonderful Snappy’s Frankfurter hot dogs bursting the buns and crammed with onions, 3 flavours of wings; buffalo, Szechuan and blue cheese and of course no snack menu is complete without dripping fries. Posh fries are also available for the posh clientele. After the usual obligatory blogger photography of the food it was eventually handed around and everyone nodded approvingly.
The band returned and the launch evening was in full swing and a great success. It’s a small venue but will no doubt gather a big reputation with its uniqueness as one of the best alternative bars in the toon. Ironically this anti-trendy bar will probably become THE place to be seen. A terrific night was had by all and I would thoroughly recommend that you get yourself along before everyone discovers this absolutely hidden gem.