Newcastle's newest bar opens its doors to the public this weekend. . . and The Journal been given exclusive access to give readers a sneak peek at what to expect.
Just a few hours remain before the VIP opening at Stein Bier Keller in Newcastle’s Bigg Market, a team of 35 workmen are racing against the clock to add the final touches.
The venture is the brainchild of leisure giant Tokyo Industries, which has ploughed around £650,000 into the cellars of the Royal Buildings at City Vaults, to create a Bavarian bier hall with a very authentic feel.
Hidden beneath the Bigg Market, the cavernous bar is set to will come alive with two of its biggest rooms
The addition to their UK portfolio, which includes Tokyo and Digital nightclub in Newcastle, also brings 60 new jobs to the region, while also supporting jobs for 35 workmen and electricians.
It follows the success of the firm’s first Stein Bier Keller, which opened in York in September, and Tokyo Industries is already planning on opening a third bier keller, should the Tyneside venture prove as popular as their first.
Punters can get a taste of its Tyneside counterpart from Friday, December 5, but our privileged photographers took a first look at the authentic Bavarian-style cellar, soon to be filled with live, interactive oompah bands, German, world and local beers, all served at bench seating in ice cold steins.
The main feature of the bar is two, huge linked rooms with connecting runs of benches, each seating 40 people who will served beers from around the world and closer to home in big stein glasses.
Traditional oompah bands will play and encourage the crowds into singing battles between the two rooms – and there’s even an alpine photo booth for groups to capture memories of their night out.
Award-winning designer Simon McIlwraith, of Collective Design, is responsible for the striking interior, having already put his unique stamp on a number of bars owned by Tokyo Industries, as well as a host of others in the North East for other leisure firms.
Director Nigel Holliday has spared no expense in making sure the bar is authentic, importing barrels, benches, carts and even authentic Bavarian costumes for the staff, from Germany and Holland.
Mr Holliday said: “It’s been fairly manic but I think this is the perfect time for us to be opening – it’s close to Christmas, the continental market is on and everything is starting to feel festive, and this is a great venue that perfectly suits that.
“We opened up in York in September and it’s been a huge success after just a few weeks.
“It’s a very interactive experience – we’ll have room for 120 people in each side of the cellar, with a band in each side.
“Big screens will show what the band and crowd are doing in the other side and they’ll compete against each other to be the loudest.
“It’s free of charge so anyone can turn up and come down, but we recommend booking the benches in advance.
“We’ve designed the interior to bring everyone together and create a fun and unique shared experience for Newcastle.”
He added: “Fingers crossed, after the success of York, and if this bar goes as well as we think, we’re already looking to open a third bier keller.”