Billy Bootleggers, the dive bar we didn’t know we needed, opened its doors on 31st March and if you haven’t sought out this place yet, I encourage you to do so immediately. On Nelson Street, directly beneath No28 bar, Billy Bootleggers is the antithesis to the commercialised chains it sits opposite.
Inspired by US dive bars and Americana, Billy Bootleggers is a unique live music venue. Director Elliot Towsey is hyped about ‘bringing some of London’s basement bar culture’ to the North East. The Boy Wonder and I attended opening night on Friday, 31st March and I have to say I loved it.
It’s intimate (it holds a maximum of 60 people) and the music – provided by the supremely talented King Bees – really added to the atmosphere. The decor is authentic, with graffiti adorning the stairwell and rustic furniture. The bar is well-stocked with bourbon, beer, prosecco and cocktails, not to mention freshly brewed Apple Pie Moonshine.
Oh, and the food? Supplied by Snappy’s: hot dogs, fries and wings – delicious. Again, following the dive bar theme, there’s nothing flash about the food but it’s tasty – what more could you want?! Open 7 days a week, 5pm to 2am, Billy Bootleggers is definitely the place to be.
What I loved about Billy Bootleggers is that there’s zero pretension – you can go there and be yourself. You don’t have to get dressed up to go but you will have an awesome night. Promising to give a space to local musician, Billy Bootleggers will announce forthcoming acts on its Facebook page.
I may be a Slimming World member but that doesn’t stop me from attending fantastic food festivals in the region. So earlier today, The Boy Wonder and I headed out to North Shields Proper Food Festival to sample some culinary delights.
We’ve been attending Proper Food Festivals for several years and I love the range of stalls available. Whether you’re going to fill your fridge (and freezer) with items for the weeks to come or you want to fill your face there and then, there’s something for everyone.
One of my favourite stalls has always been Monsieur Crepe so today I made a beeline for their trailer, Henrietta. I enjoyed a chocolate, strawberry and banana crepe although there is a brilliant range of sweet and savoury crepes. I wish I could sample their delights more often.
The Boy Wonder sampled some Indian cuisine as well as a mesquite pulled pork sandwich from Smokin’ Barbecue Co. I also enjoyed an American burger thanks to Fat Hippo which consisted of a juicy burger accompanied with gherkins, cheese, ketchup and american mustard.
Unfortunately, this was the final Proper Food Festival of the season but I recommend you start losing weight now so that when they roll around again next year, you can stuff yourself silly!
So, I have kept you all waiting to hear how my Mexican Experiment went on Tuesday evening. Don’t fear, I haven’t been avoiding you – nor have I had food poisoning.
My Mexican night was a resounding success. So much so that I barely had time to take photos! My quesadillas were lovely and my brother told me I had made perfect potato wedges: “Crispy on the outside, fluffy on the inside”. What a compliment!
Unfortunately, though, my mum has it in her head that I am a better cook than she is and is now pestering me to cook more often! So, I am a victim of my own success.
Tomorrow, at the grand old age of twenty-seven years, seven months and four days old I shall attempt something I have never done before. I am cooking the family meal. Ok, of course, I’ve made salads, beans on toast, cheese toasties and even the odd jacket potato but tomorrow I am planning something major: Mexican night!
Usually, if I eat Mexican it’s at a restaurant or The Boy Wonder cooks for me. I know, I’m a lucky girl. Tomorrow, though, I’m taking it upon myself to cook for my mum, dad and younger brother. Now, many of you who read this blog will know that not only am I a picky eater but I am not a domestic goddess. I prefer to spend my time constructively – reading!
So, what’s on the menu?
Well, fajitas. And the worrying thing is, every time someone has attempted to make fajitas in our house for the last twelve months, it has appeared to be the catalyst for some argument in our house. So it is with double trepidation that I plan to cook them. Pray for no conflict! Sadly my brother refuses to eat peppers or onions so that will mean cooking them separately from the chicken. I feel argumentative already….!
Also, I intend to make my own potato wedges. Risky, I know seeing as I am not a domestic goddess in the least. Having been given instructions by TBW, what could possibly go wrong?
I’m also going to make some cheesy nachos and attempt to make quesadillas.
This experiment is mainly because I fancy a Mexican tomorrow but I know my family will be waiting with bated breath. And possibly the takeaway on speed dial……
Last night, The Boy Wonder and I decided to go out for cocktails at Tynemouth’s newest bar, Allard’s Lounge. On arriving, we were greeted with a very busy bar despite the fact that we had arrived before 7pm. Allard’s is open from 9am every day until 11pm and serves food throughout until 9pm. The people at the tables looked like a mixture of people who had been out for the day and were enjoying a drink or bite to eat with their kids before heading home and people who were just starting their night. So there was a range of outfits – everything from shorts and t-shirts to mini skirts and dresses.
We didn’t have to wait too long for a table and enjoyed people watching, as well as appreciating the unique decoration. There was music being played but as the evening wore on, it became impossible to hear due to the volume of conversations but the ambience is perfect.
Allard’s is quite a narrow building but they have made use of the space they have perfectly. Their extensive cocktail menu is really impressive and, having sampled several between us last night, we can say that although they are around £5 or over, they are well worth the money. I tried a Strawberry Daiquiri, a Black Forest Fizz and a Metropolitan along with a Bailey’s Hot Chocolate. The Boy Wonder tried a Whiskey Sour, a Tequila Old Fashioned, A Voodoo Zombie (with a very interesting glass) and a Mai Tai. I can honestly say I have not had cocktails this well done anywhere else in the UK.
Having read the food menu, we decided to be ambitious and go for tapas. And I am so happy we did. We had tomato, onion and mozzarella salad with seared beef in a peppered sauce, as well as chicken in wholegrain mustard, chorizo and potato and chicken and peppers along with some potatoes, peppers and onion. Wow! Although it sounds like a lot, the joy of tapas is the fact that you can try a lot of different things because they aren’t huge portions. The seared beef was my favourite with the chicken in wholegrain mustard coming in a close second. Sadly, we found out after the meal that you can ask the staff for as much bread as you like (mental note for next time!). We got all of that food for £22.80 which I thought was exceptional value for money.
The Boy Wonder had Strawberry Cheesecake for afters and I had Eton Mess. They were both nice but not a patch on the mains.
This was the best night out we’ve had in ages. The ambience is terrific, the decoration is beautifully unique, the staff are very friendly and helpful and the food was terrific. I cannot recommend it enough.
We will definitely be going back.