10 Northumberland Road,
Newcastle Upon Tyne,

The ViewNewcastle Review

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Review byTim Higgins12/06/2008
Situated just off Newcastle’s main shopping street, between the city’s two universities, this popular bar has changed its name more times than Prince.

Shamrox, the most recent incarnation, has more than a little potential to stay past the usual shelf life of the average ‘theme’ pub due to it’s popularity as both a live sports bar and an up and coming local music venue.

The Venue
The pub covers two floors with various seating arrangements, from leather sofas and low tables upstairs, to booths and the traditional high tables and bar stools below. The walls are adorned with an assortment of (mostly American) Irish photos and signs, with plasma screen TVs dotted intrusively between them.

When not showing sport, these screens alternate between music videos and in-house advertisements of upcoming events and special offers. The music is also a blend of the traditional and modern, featuring traditional Irish classics through to classic rock, and yes, plenty of U2.

The People
The bar staff are consistently good natured, and see no problem handling different demographics of people at the same time with enthusiasm and good old Irish charm.

It’s just as well really as Shamrox’s advantageous position in the city ensures a varied clientele. Be it students or sports fans, lunchtimes and clocking off time are guaranteed to be busy. Match days, in particular, will see this bar packed full of Magpies, Scots and of course, Irish, all cheering their respective home sides on the drop-down big screen.

When there isn’t a major sporting event on, Shamrox is usually host to live music from a very small but serviceable stage in the middle of the bar. The most regular acts are solo performers, with a weekly open mic night every Monday. Another weekly treat is the traditional Irish music from house band Alan Kelly and the Dogs of Tralee. Some might say it’s risky for a bar of this kind to put on a live band in Newcastle on a Friday night, but it draws a good crowd and suits the style of the venue perfectly.

The Food
The kitchen here is managed by the same team earning great reviews in other pubs through the region, such as The Victoria in Sunderland. The food is competitively priced and while it’s not exactly a gastro paradise, it’s well above average good pub food. Virtually everything except the desserts is made on site and well-presented.

The burgers and sandwiches all come in large servings, the jacket fillings are plentiful and the chips are just the right side of chunky. On Monday nights the bar offers either nachos or potato skins with a pint for £4.50 and judging by the portions on display with their main meals, it looks like a tempting offer. Traditional Irish dishes such as the stew and steak Guinness pie are also popular choices.

The Drink
On tap, there are the usual Geordie staples of Fosters and Kronenbourg plus Guinness and John Smiths (regular and extra cold for both) and Woodpeckers and Strongbow for ciders. Their bottled range includes Corona, Becks, Magners cider, a decent range of soft drinks and a very good selection of wines, including Champagne bottles ranging in price from £34 to £120.

For cocktails, there is a mid-sized menu, the most popular on offer being The Mobwray, a mix of vodka, baccas, cranberry and lime. During happy hour, these are available for £2.50 or in a pitcher for £6.95.

The Last Word
Newly refurbished and well-lit, the bright atmosphere is reflected in the staff’s excellent rapport with their customers and the mood of the music. The management are keen to cater for diners and drinkers alike, and before long the family atmosphere really captures you.

Shamrox is definitely worth a visit at the end of your day’s work, study or shopping. Maybe even as a prelude to a night at City Hall, a few doors down the street. Moderately priced and most importantly of all for an Irish bar, they serve good Guinness.
Shamrox Irish Bar has been reviewed by 1 users

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Content updated: 28/02/2014 04:07

Touch of Class


By name and nature this compact diamond is the busiest little bar in Newcastle.

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