Colonel Porter’s Emporium is located on corner of Dean Street and the Side. From the outside there isn’t much to prepare you for what’s inside, bar teh gold leaf writing on the windows. Tavern, Botanical Garden and Rhum Bar. Rhum Bar was enough to sell it to us and on the rare event of a date night Cat and I went out on the town
Colonel Porter’s Emporium
The best word to describe Colonel Porter’s is Enchanting. There is wonder everywhere you look and there is so much more to see that you expect. The walls are covered in artefacts and an eclectic collection of animal heads on the walls. As we entered the emporium down the ramp we were drawn into the back room where the bar was. The bar area looks like a chemist’s dispensary, mixed with a hunting lodge with a dash of tropical rain forest. The best comparison I have for it is The Adventurers Club that used to be located at Pleasure Island, Walt Disney World.
Colonel Porter has a fantastic back story and all Disney fans know that a back story is key to keeping the whole concept pulled together. Colonel Porter came from a brewing family. After his time in the military, he teamed up with a chief chemist Archie Jones. Together they worked for three years on a new Ale, which eventually was born as Newcastle Brown Ale. Colonel porter, felt so passionate about his new Ale that he wanted to share it with the rest of the world and traveled far and wide distributing it. SO this Bar is dedicated to the creator of Newkie Broon!
Colonel Porter’s Cocktails
The best way to celebrate the creator of Newcastle Brown Ale is by having a cocktail that definitely doesn’t contain it. We’re not really ale fans, but more Rum fans. We were directed to a seating area in the main entrance way of the bar. As we parked up next to a large trunk case table, a waitress distributed a glass of water and a cup of popcorn. A waiter came over and explained that the popcorn of the day was goat cheese and black pepper flavour! After a quick look at the cocktails we chose a Hemmingway and a Spiced Mai Tai. While the drinks were being made I went for a wander.
The venue is divided up into three main rooms. The bar / botanical garden section, a relaxed drawing room / lobby and a study section. Everywhere you look there is detail and I could hardly stop myself photographing it all. And I am like this more so when I go to Disney World!
The Lobby area has a fantastic array of eclectic items. From Elephant foot stools, Gramophones, a Rhinos Head on the wall. There is a Bear standing over the seating area. Magpies flying across the ceiling. The more I sat here the more items I spotted. Like this cute Monkey table.
The Main Bar area is home to this fantastical tree, which engulfs the ceiling. There are so many hidden items in its branches that you could spend hours checking it out.
Although I never visited the toilets here, this is as close as I got to the toilet photo! Notice the honours board for Grizzly Bear Wrestling.
In the Study area the pace is a little quieter. Lots of books and writing materials are scattered around.
The Secret doorway
With a magical enchanting venue like this, there is hidden details in every corner. But I wasn’t aware of the most amazing feature that was hidden. After a conversation with the bar man, he pointed out the book shelves in the back of the study.
The Middle bookcase is a secret entrance in to Archie’s Lab. Archie’s Lab is a dining room for the restaurant, but also a private hire function room. To room will hold 80 – 100 people and the rates seem very very reasonable. With my 40th Birthday not too far away, I think I’ve found the perfect venue.
Newcastle Brown Ale & The Hoopers
As I mentioned before I’m not a fan of Newcastle Brown Ale. It’s just not my sort of tipple, but as I wandered around the bar I spotted what I think was a piece of Hooper history.
Back in the Day when Alan Shearer signed for Newcastle United. Hooper Signs was asked to refurbish 6 large Newcastle Brown Ale Bottles. Which I believe this to be one of them. The give away details is the high gloss on the paint finish and the design of the bottle label.
As part of the job we had to deliver them to St James Park. A job that we didn’t realise what was happening there or what we were about to step into. It was a media frenzy. As we carried these huge bottles from the truck, camera crew were filming us along every step. People where cheering everything that was Newcastle or football. It was crazy. The thing that I keep coming back to is that my companies handy work is hidden around Newcastle and the North East around nearly every corner without realising it.
Colonel Porter’s Emporium Review
From the first moment of stepping into the venue I was sold on the concept and it felt like home. For a long time now I’ve had the belief that the theming / environment is as much an important detail as the drinks or food. If your eyes are entertained you experience is so much more, which Colonel Porter’s does with perfection. As mentioned initially it reminded me so much of a themed bar at Walt Disney World. The main difference there was they had roaming characters telling stories and tales which enchanted details throughout coming alive. This would probably be lost on Newcastle’s quayside, but this concept of bar fits perfectly in to this venues listed building.
We stopped for two cocktails each and they were strong and tasty. Although slightly pricy, I didn’t mind as it felt like you were getting value for money. Its the attention to detail that sells it so well and the bar staff are very knowledgeable and helpful. This is the ideal place to go for a nice relaxing afternoon to escape the hustle and bustle of a crowded Quayside. Slip out of Newcastle and into another world in a different timezone.