Updated: Jul 11, 2021
Welcome to our first ever feature blog. Once a month Crystal Clear food and beverage solutions will be visiting various food and beverage businesses in the Tees Valley area to give you an insight into what's going on in the region.
The Northern Quarter in Redcar is an area of businesses tucked away around Station Road opposite the regent cinema.
The food and drink scene in the Northern Quarter has been developing quite rapidly over the past few years, it hosts 15 bars so far and this area of town is becoming more and more popular with the residents of Redcar.
So, we decided to take a trip to Redcar and visit some of the pubs and micro bars to see for ourselves what is going on...
It would be rude not to write this blog without starting with Ritas Pantry. It is the first (only by a few weeks) micro bar to land itself in the Northern Quarter.
Ritas pantry is a micro bar, literally across the road from Redcar’s very own vertical pier "The Beacon". It is perfectly positioned on the sea front at the beginning (or the end) of the promenade.
When you walk through the doors, the first thing you notice is the colourful wall of "Tinnies" (Craft beer cans) on display covering the back wall.
They sell craft beers, ales and ciders and there is plenty to choose from. It is a fabulous shop front for small batch breweries and distilleries. As a craft ale drinker, you could not ask for more.
I met with Tom the bar owner, and we discussed how they managed to survive 2020. Adding the craft beer delivery service was a big help with sales and it helped to stay connected with their customers through the difficult times.
That's the spirit
That's the Spirit is one of the latest editions to the Northern Quarter bar family.
They offer a vast selection of Whiskies (proper loads) from around the world, in a light and stylish setting.
I met Lisa the bar manager and we spoke about the different whiskey varieties on the drinks menu and their origins. Lisa told me that they wanted to be different from the other bars in the Northern Quarter and hoped it would attract more people to the area.
We also spoke about the battles they faced whilst building a bar in the middle of a pandemic and to be finally up and running was such a relief.
It is clear to see how happy they are to be part of the Northern Quarter and they are looking forward to meeting their new neighbours and customers.
What I liked about Kenzie's bar was that it looked like a bistro from the outside but when you walk in it has the feel of a traditional pub but with a modern twist. It has a traditional wooden bar with plenty of drinks to choose from and the décor just made me feel at home; not that my house looks like a pub (although I have lived in a few) but you know what I mean.
I met with Dianne the manager and she gave me a little tour of the place. It has 2 smaller rooms out the back; one room was for a quieter evening out and another room where you could relax and watch the footie with a few drinks. We chatted about the difficulties adjusting to the latest restrictions from both the staff and the customers point of view.
Kenzie's reminded me of some of the bars I worked at when I was in my early 20s (but this place is much more pleasing on the eye). In my opinion, Kenzie's bar is a classic version of a modern-day micro pub.
The Pig and Whistle
Every time I hear the words Pig and Whistle together it reminds of when I was a kid and we used to visit my uncle and auntie in Redcar. They were landlords of the old Pig and Whistle on West Dyke Road near the railway crossing and I would often help collecting the glasses from the tables. It was the then I knew I wanted to be in the "Pub Game”.
Oh and by the way, it was in the old Pig and Whistle where I tasted my first (and last) pickled egg! I remember taking quite a disliking to the old-fashioned bar snack within seconds of my first bite. Anyway, moving on...
The current version of the Pig and Whistle is one of the original pubs in the Northern Quarter it has a cosy working man’s club feel about it. Its a place where you would come for a game of pool or darts and a few beers while the sports is on the tele in the background.
The Halt is the Indie bar of the Northern Quarter.
The first thing you notice when you enter the Halt are the pictures of the music legends such as Jimi Hendrix, David Bowie and John Lennon to name but a few.
Pre-pandemic, The Halt hosted live gigs and music events where they fully supported local bands and musicians. The background music and décor clearly represented the true indie feel of this bar.
Although there wasn't a gig on at the time of my visit, there was a full list of up-and-coming events.
I managed to have a chat with Jamie who was working behind the bar, he told me how happy he was to be back working in the Northern Quarter. It was also good to hear how the customers response to the reopening of the bar was. Customers thought it was fantastic to be getting live music back in the bar and this was a huge step in the right direction for the bar post pandemic.
The Prosecco Quarter
The Prosecco Quarter was the final bar of the day.
My Mrs and her girlie friends would love it here. It has got the essence of a classic champagne bar and It most certainly has a touch of class.
I had a chat with Racheal the bar manager and we discussed the aftermath of covid and the relief of getting back behind the bar which was some much-needed therapy. Being able to welcome customers back inside was a huge step forward for the recovery of the pandemic.
The Prosecco Quarter hosts live sets from local DJ's and offers bottomless brunches, local coffees, and light bites, all in collaboration with other local businesses.
If I had to give this bar a theme tune it would most definitely be "Here come the girls" by the Sugar babes (The tune was stuck in my head all the way home)
Crystal Clear FAB summary
Firstly, I would like to thank everyone who took the time to speak to me whilst making this blog. The venue staff and customers all made me feel welcome. I sincerely appreciate their openness to talk about the battles they have faced during and after the Covid-19 pandemic, and even more so of the opportunities that are ahead of them moving forward.
I really enjoyed this visit to the Northern Quarter, and I can see why the area is growing in popularity with locals and visitors alike. It is filled with great people and there is an amazing community feel throughout the whole area; the bars help and support each other which is not something you see very often.
Every single member of staff I spoke to were happy to be part of the growing community that is the Northern Quarter. They aren't competitors..... They are neighbours!
Each of these bars on this list has their own individual theme and unique atmosphere and there truly is something for everyone.
I highly recommend you visit each bar on this list to feel the unique experience of an evening out at the Northern Quarter in Redcar.
If you would like more info on any of the bars mentioned in this blog please click on this link www.Northernquarterredcar.co.uk
The Northern Quarter is a hidden gem in Teesside, I'm so looking forward to doing part II of this blog!
Phil @ Crystal Clear FAB Solutions