Published on March 4th, 2020 | by Alastair Gilmour0
Perfect for a Slow Joe day
A new micropub on Durham Road, Low Fell, Gateshead’s main thoroughfare, could be described as Tardis-like. The frontage of Gilbert & Smith’s is almost obscured by a bus shelter (handy though that is) but inside, the pub appears to widen out and goes on past the bar counter, up some steps and through to the back of beyond with a small, more intimate area off that.
Gilbert & Smith’s is owned by Whitley Bay Brewing Co which operates a similarly-named venue and The Brewery (formerly Fitzgerald’s) in – obviously – Whitley Bay. It’s fairly minimal in décor with large areas of blue-green wall featuring artistically-arranged wooden crates illuminated by pendant lights. The vertical space could possibly do with something else to break up the flatness, though a large photo of St Mary’s Lighthouse tries hard.
A combination of stools and hefty high and low tables complement a traditional “vertical drinking” area surrounding the bar – the back of which gleams and glitters with white tiling viewed through a vast arrangement of spirits bottles, ready to fire up a bewildering range of cocktails (Gilbert’s Shake is Stolichnaya vodka, coffee liqueur, amaretto, Baileys and milk topped with whipped cream and sprinkles… dessert is served.)
The four handpulled ales are exclusively from Whitley Bay – Spanish City Golden Bitter, Warrior (an ice hockey tribute), Dark Knight Stout and Slow Joe Pilsner.
The great-to-listen-to ambient music ranges through David Bowie, lots of reggae and folk singer Melanie’s Brand New Roller Skates which had been virtually lost to memory. Just musing, but the words “pair of roller skates” in the chorus could easily be substituted for “combine ’arvester”. Wonder if anyone’s thought of that?
And in that old tradition of people-watching, it’s fascinating to observe the comings and goings at the bus stop outside this former bakery and taxi office (the order isn’t quite clear). It’s a kind of Slow Joe activity.