Published on April 4, 2018 | by Alastair Gilmour0
The cat’s got the cream
Early March saw the much-anticipated opening of the Mean Eyed Cat in central Newcastle. Cheers asked a few questions of Dave Campbell, who owns the pub with wife Julie – particularly the reasoning behind the quirky decor.
You’ve been involved with some of Newcastle’s best-loved pubs – The Cluny, Head of Steam and The Central and The Schooner in Gateshead – so why a micropub?
“We wanted a small pub that would be our last hurrah. After a year out (from leaving The Schooner) we were going out to small pubs and thought, ‘we could do this’. So we started checking out the micropubs in the area.
And what did your market research tell you?
“What we saw was either a comfortably traditional approach or slightly pushing the sector, so we thought we’d try to meld the two and offer traditional bitters plus sours and IPAs with our own style and twist and started looking around. The premises on St Thomas’ Street in Newcastle seemed ideal. Newcastle Council were extremely open to the idea. It’s very close to Haymarket Metro and two bus stations, so it couldn’t be handier.”
The pub’s décor is a bit different to normal city-centre pubs, isn’t it?
“The Mean Eyed Cat is a kind of homage to Mexico and Spain which we visit a lot on holiday and where they have simple bars where you can walk in off the street, stand at the counter, have a beer and you’re away again – duck in and duck out. You can spend the night there as well, of course. It’s about the attitude of the place. You can call it a micropub, but I prefer to think of it as a Spanish bar within the confines of the micropub movement which has opened the doors to free-thinkers like us.”
So, how is it going after a month in business?
“We’re absolutely delighted with the way it’s going, it’s been fantastic. I have to say I couldn’t have done it without Hub (Simon Hubbard) and, of course, Julie. He knows more about the keg beer end of things than I ever will so I handle the cask stuff. And we’re taking on new people, which is great.”