A first look: curtain up time at the Tyneside Cinema Bar Cafe

The Journal takes a look inside the Tyneside Cinema's new bar cafe ahead of the official opening

The curtain is about to rise on the Tyneside Cinema’s latest development – and The Journal has been given an advance preview.

A construction team from Northern Bear has spent the last six months at the region’s premier art house cinema, turning an empty shop unit on the ground floor into the Tyneside Cinema Bar Cafe.

The transformation of the building, which was originally The Silk Shop and most recently Barclays Bank, forms part of a £1.3m redevelopment plan of the Grade II listed building, which also includes the opening of The Gallery, a new digital exhibition space for artists.

The bar cafe itself takes over the former shop, while the kitchen and preparation areas have been constructed in the basement, the former bank’s vault.


The new space, which has created 20 new jobs, opens officially to the public on August 22 but our photographers have been given a personal tour of the interior, which boasts plush seating and curtained-off screening area.

All work has now been completed and menus are being finalised ready for the big day.

Managing director Catherine Kersey can’t wait for “curtain up”.

She said: “The whole team is working hard behind the scenes to get everything ready – from what’s on the menu to the sign above our new front door on Pilgrim Street - and we can’t wait to welcome our first customers when we open for business this autumn.

“As people first walk in they will see the bar, and straight to the back there’s an open seating area and a curtained screening area.

“We are making sure the original features are being kept, so we have the cornicing which has been there since it was built and the original parquet flooring.

“In these tough economic times, we’re delighted that the Tyneside Bar Café has created 20 new jobs for the city.

“Our new head chef Tom and bar manager Chris bring a wealth of experience to their new roles, and we’re thrilled to be taking on so many talented and enthusiastic new staff, whose ages span across five decades.

“We’re especially pleased to be working with Newcastle College to help people in the North East secure new jobs, and in some cases, support them in taking the first important steps in their careers with the Tyneside Bar Café.”

Work will now start on transforming the Tyneside’s existing bar on the third floor into a fourth cinema screen, which will be a video art gallery by day and a 40-seat cinema screen by night.

The new Tyneside Bar Café will be open from 8am till late every day, and will also present film screenings and events in a cabaret-style space inside.


David Whetstone
Culture Editor
Graeme Whitfield
Business Editor
Mark Douglas
Newcastle United Editor
Stuart Rayner
Sports Writer