In January this year I ventured inside the Low Lights Tavern for the very first time. I was there to meet someone to discuss a photo shoot and as soon as I walked in I realised I had found a true local gem. The first thing you will notice when entering this fantastic old pub situated on North Shields Fish Quay is the welcome you receive.
On my first and every visit since I have been welcomed warmly and made to feel at home, not just from the staff but the regulars who always say hello. So many bars these days are stuffy or pretentious, I don't drink in those, I like character, warmth and charm. The pub has been around since 1834 however there is evidence that there has been a pub in that location for some 400 years. Once you get through the low front door (5ft 8 or so) you will find the bar and two side rooms both with real fires.
It is such a lovely old pub and a real slice of local history, the walls are covered in old photographs of the surrounding fish quay as well as a number of brilliant real ale beer mats with great names like 'Wylam Dognobbler'. The pub is known for its selection of real ales and has a great reputation for the quality and range on offer. I overheard two real ale aficionados one day who were touring the regions 'real ale pubs' who were raving about the fine quality of the ale on offer.
Another thing the pub is know for is its music, there will often be a buskers night featuring local musicians. These nights are great, fun lively and the music is great, I heard a fantastic version of Mumford and sons 'Winter Winds' one night. It is a song that has a very special emotional meaning to me and I was chuffed to hear it played so well in my favourite local bar.
I reckon that some of you reading this will be thinking that this bar is my hideaway - not quite, I have introduced this bar to friends and family who love it. I never have to twist my girlfriends arm to go there for a drink as she loves the place too. The image below is of my girlfriend at a 'Pirates and Wenches' night that was simply the most hilarious night out I have had in ages. This image was early in the evening and for the sake of my camera I stopped shooting and simply enjoyed the atmosphere, many fine pints of Guinness and a great laugh with our friends Simon and Amanda. There may or may not be video of me as Captain Jack Sparrow to be found somewhere on the Internet!!!
I cant stress how much I love this bar, If they would let me live there I would. Considering the pub provides brilliant food and free WiFi as well as warm comfortable friendly surroundings and great beer it has everything you need. I will do more features on the pub in this blog soon focusing on the food and also the newly refurbished rooms upstairs where you can buy art and antiques.
View 'Spot On' by Anthony Dorman here © Anthony Dorman
If you have never been inside the bar simply pop in and enjoy the experience. You may fancy a quiet pint next to the real fire or some scrummy food and live music. Whatever you are looking for in a bar I guarantee that you will enjoy your visit. I now try and get into the bar whenever I can, the only danger is that I never want to leave when I get there. Always a great time to be had in the Low Lights Tavern.
The images in this post have been taken at different times throughout 2011. (The pub now takes cards)
Visit the pub website here: http://lowlightstavern.co.uk/default.aspx
and they also tweet here: http://twitter.com/#!/Lowlightstavern