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 2 reviews

82 Pilgrim Street,
Newcastle upon Tyne,

(0191) 232 8923

The ViewNewcastle Review

Review byGareth Thomas12/06/2008
True to its name, this retro, art deco-style Italian bar serving top quality food and drinks is a people's favourite.

The Venue
There’s something about Popolo that draws people to it. Maybe it’s the Parisian art nouveau style bright red lacquered bar, with its horizontal black and white stripes across the top which, although based on a real bar in Paris, could just as easily be from a 1950s American diner.

Maybe it’s the quirky layout with a room at the front and one at the back, both with their own entrances (the back bar’s entrance is down a side street). As you come in there’s the curved, steel-topped bar unashamedly occupying the middle of the room.

The floor is covered with large white tiles, and the big window just past the bar is tinted orange giving everything a warm glow inside. The lounge at the back has round dark bucket armchairs and creased plump shiny sofas to perch on. The staff are friendly drinks experts and the music is always classy, funky and jazzy. Although it’s looking damn good, it’s set to be spruced up again soon.

The People
The hip and the hungry come here to devour cocktails and nibbles most days and nights. It has a loyal local following which cuts across social barriers, but at any one time usually includes a high quota of arty and muso types.

The Food and Drink
Although it doesn’t advertise itself as a cocktail bar, a lion’s share of its takings are from colourful concoctions - more than most cocktail bars in town. And it serves excellent food to boot (until 7pm at least, after which it turns into a good-time joint). Authentic Italian dishes like penne alla carbonara costs £5.75 for a large plate.

They also do sandwiches - a Milanese (chicken breast in breadcrumbs) is £3.95, as well as burgers and tapas like marinated chicken skewers, meatballs in tomato sauce and hummus - you can get all three for £5.95. Crispy pork belly with puy lentils is £6.75 and there are four pizzas for around £6 each.

Dessert could be an espresso granita with vanilla Chantilly for £3.50. A Sunday brunch of eggs Benedict is very popular too. With imaginative names like Gin Laden, Cocaine Martini and Freaky Tiki (Jim Beam, pineapple juice, Velvet Falurnum, Cointreau, maple syrup and orange bitters), a lot of love goes into the cocktails here, hence their popularity.

They cost around £4 to £6 and Mojitos are, as everywhere, the most popular (£3.95 each). The Basil Grand is worth tasting too - as are their Bloody Marys (with basil in true Italian style). They also do a great selection of whiskies such as the Japanese 12-year-old Suntory Yamazaki, as well as American bourbons. On tap you’ve got Budweiser, San Miguel, Amstel, Asahi, Erdinger, Weissbrau, Belgium’s Bacchus Kriek and Dutch lager Lindeboom.

The Last Word
With a style all of its own, it’s no surprise people have a real affection for Popolo. A design classic, there’s now a Sheffield branch as well. If it’s anything like this, it will do very well indeed.
Popolo has been reviewed by 2 users

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Content updated: 22/02/2012 08:07

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