REVIEW: YOLO Townhouse, High Bridge, Newcastle

The ground floor of YOLO Townhouse.
The ground floor of YOLO Townhouse.
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Hats off to this transformation of the former Capology store into a slick bar and restaurant.

Gone are the caps which once adorned the walls of this historic building in Newcastle’s High Bridge to be replaced by this new kid on the block, whose decor fuses flashes of French boudoir chic in its chandeliers and plush seating with the bare bricks of a Manhattan-style loft apartment.

Antipasti platter

Antipasti platter

And there’s no forgetting its name - which stands for You Only Live Once for those who don’t speak American slang - with YOLO light installations and graffiti peppered throughout the three-storey building.

It blends in perfectly with this city centre side street, which has become home to a string of independent businesses and bars in recent years.

This £1million development is a spin off from the popular YOLO in Ponteland and covers all bases, from 8am breakfasts for city workers through to family lunches and late night cocktails.

We visited on a Saturday afternoon and though the bar has the air of one of those intimidatingly trendy places, it’s actually managed to create a laidback vibe, that saw everyone from shoppers to stag dos filtering through its doors - don’t worry, it’s big enough for you not to be able to overhear the stag do dares, thankfully.

YOLO in High Bridge, Newcastle

YOLO in High Bridge, Newcastle

Though being a bar is its bread and butter, the venue’s also got a substantial food offering of platters, kebabs, burgers, pizza and classic pub dishes in keeping with its relaxed atmosphere.

The staff may look smart as a carrot in their waistcoats and white shirts, but there’s no airs and graces about the place, you just order at the bar and get stuck in.

Though we were tempted by the hanging skewers being whisked past us - that most Instagrammed of dishes - we chose one of the platters to start.

Priced £11.99, The antipasti platter with its melt-in-the mouth mozzarella, artichoke hearts, ciabatta, olives, dips and sliver upon sliver of cured meats was ample for the two of us, though you can choose to super size it for £19.99.

Rare beef salad

Rare beef salad

For mains, I chose a rare beef salad, £9.99. This being a bar, I wasn’t expecting anything too spectacular but it certainly exceeded my expectations.

Served beautifully baby pink, the steak was perfectly succulent and great value for a tenner while a sticky soy reduction and sesame seeds gave it a taste of the Orient without it being overpowering.

Drinks-wise, the choice is vast from your standard beers through to Dom Perignon for the High Bridge high-rollers.

If the sun’s got its hat on, make sure to take your drink out onto the roof terrace. It’s not a feature you’d expect from a period property and it’s a hidden gem that seems to be proving popular judging by the pictures on YOLO’s social media.

But with its own bar and outdoor heaters it’s worth jostling for a spot, whatever the weather.