Published on October 6, 2017 | by Alastair Gilmour1
Upping the pace, not coasting
A refurbished pub appears to have got it right, reckons Alastair Gilmour
Over the past couple of years, Tynemouth has emerged as one of the most stylish places to eat, drink and shop – and now another venue can be added to the mix. Hugo’s on Front Street was closed for refurbishment during most of the summer but is now fully open in all its new chestnut-red richness.
Hugo’s Tynemouth is part of the Sir John Fitzgerald group of pubs and restaurants and it’s pretty clear they have taken a long look at what the costal town already offers – and what it doesn’t. Hugo’s fills that gap.
Extensive wood panelling, American-style barstools and deep buttoned upholstery help give it a plush hotel feel; an astute use of mirrors and see-through shelving make it appear larger than it already was, while separate areas for drinking, dining, a combination of both, or simple coffee catch-ups are well thought-out.
Fun, black-and-white retro seaside images add cheeriness and frivolity – and we could all do with a bit of that – while the whole main bar and seating area is well lit via a large skylight.
Hand-pulled beers on the bar are from Anarchy, Hadrian Border, Tyne Bank, Three Kings and Brinkburn Street breweries with Franciscan Well Chieftain and Wylam Hickey The Rake on keg. In the fridges are craft cans and bottles from Anarchy, Beavertown, Camden and BrewDog, complemented by a cocktail menu and an interesting gin pairing list which add a touch of decadence.
“Nobody likes change, particularly change at ‘their’ pub,” says Hugo’s assistant manager Leanne Ramsey. “We’ve had lots of our old customers and new faces coming in since we reopened and they’re creating a really happy atmosphere. It’s been good all round and we’re really, really busy – all a bit crazy actually.”
It all takes a bit of time for the Hugo’s detail to sink in – a dispensary-type wine cabinet, newspaper racks, a couple of large television screens, sections of tiling and exposed brickwork, a comprehensive menu, and shimmering brasses wherever you look.
Hugo’s is simply glorious and should quickly make up for lost time in Tynemouth where pubs such as the Head of Steam, Barca ArtBar and The Salutation set a formidable pace.