The Union Rooms

There's something about Weatherspoons pubs, it's impossible to explain but if you could bottle it and sell it you'd have something which would could cause any respectable company to go bust in an instant.


This review was written when Wetherspoons still owned the place. They've now had the good sense to offload it and it's being operated by the same team as The Glass House. A bar no one visits unless it's to be photographed in lingerie. In the intervening years it may have been cleaned, then again. They could always use some soiled knickers from a lingerie shoot to give it a wipe down. It would be cleaner


Lets think about this for a moment or two shall we. What do you get with Weatherspoons establishments; fabulous buildings all saved from the wrecking ball or sensitively reclaimed, long opening hours, enough odd beers to make even the sainted Head of Steam weep and prices so low that you could liquify your brains for under a fiver, and yet, and yet and yet......


There's something about Weatherspoons which can make you want to weep; confronted with exotic Polish brews, Czech concoctions, Ukranian creations you stand at the bar practicing the pronunciation of your preferred path to oblivion [it's pronounced Zivecks, no Zviecx, oh bollocks, that one], and then a tatooed arm thrusts over your shoulder to order another Fosters and 'and a sweet cider for the lass'.Thats the problem with Weatherspoons; its the utter scum that the Union Room's prices attract and staff that can barely remember to drop their pants before they have a shit..... got any porters.... ah divind kna.


Originally a private club for Newcastle's elite, then the offices of the Evening Chronicle [Newcastle's finest chip wrap, or I am told arse wipe in the bogs in Flynns] and now it's a palace of mouth breathing pond life. On its opening this establishment was simply dazzling, you could sit in the lounge and pretend to be the Duke of Norfolk relaxing after a long day riding to hounds. Now with a customer base consisting of the great unwashed, the unemployable and the just plain skint and demented you're more likely to feel like you need a wash or more effectively a petrol shower just to make sure you kill all the fleas.


Oh and I forgot the students; not the braying rugby shirts of Newcastle, more usually the pale faces of Northumbria nose to the grindstone as they further their studies in pencil sharpening and weaving baskets from spaghetti.


And another thing, as they say; who in god's name buys the exotic beers in the Union Rooms. 'You you twat' I hear you cry - true, but my annual sprint through this dive to neck a bottle of German hooch isn't likely to offset the usual union room sales to customers to whom Fosters represents the height of sophistication.


Who knows, perhaps the Lit and Phil is actually a den of secret boozers, studying Cowper's poems and sneaking over the road for a bottle of Swedish cider to neck quietly in the Phil's bogs. I did find an empty bottle of Brooklyn in the members area last week....


It's like being in a fine country house filled with pissed people this in turn makes you want to pull out a kalashnikov and, like Michael Douglas confronted with bad service, start exterminating the lot of them. However as with any fine country house, make sure that you record them in the game book.Its simply breathtaking that a public company can reduce a fine bit of late Victorian mock gothic urban architecture and convert it into a three storey vomitorium.


Avoid; or turn up so trousered that you can blank out the customers and imagine yourself kitted out in Ermine - oh matron !