Is Market Shaker shaking things up? What we thought of Newcastle's latest London-inspired bar

East London trends for concrete floors, exposed industrial fittings and what can seem like ‘unfinished’ interiors have crept north of late.

Saturday, 14th December 2019, 8:00 am
Updated Saturday, 14th December 2019, 8:00 am
The Patsy Parma pizza from Scream for Pizza at Market Shaker, Newcastle.

And Market Shaker in Newcastle is the latest new bar to hop on the trend.

Housed in the former Ember Lounge, Market Shaker is one of the latest bars to open in the city’s gentrified Cloth Market and it's got everything lovers of Instragram could hope for; neon slogan signs; check. Millennial pink tiles: check. Trailing foliage: check. Mural art: check.

Meanwhile, a projector plays film favourites on the wall. On our visit it was guilty pleasure flick Pretty Woman.

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Market Shaker in Cloth Market, Newcastle

It all works to give it a very informal vibe with plenty of talking point features. On our visit on a Friday lunchtime, however, it didn’t quite have the shine of Instagram. In fact, without filters to hide behind, it could have done with a good scrubbing.

Pubs often have a bit of an odour that you notice more during the day when it’s not chocablock with punters, but at 1pm this pub very much smelt like it had had a heavy one the night before.

Tables too were sticky, the ladies loos had no soap and plastic menus, which could have been wiped clean, were covered in booze. It sometimes can’t be helped when places are busy, but we were one of only two tables that afternoon.

It’s a shame because, looking past the ick, the menus have much to offer. Drinks-wise, there’s plenty of quality draught options for a pint: Blue Moon (£4.60), Wylam Jakehead (£5.40) and the more reasonably-priced Pravha Pilsner (£3.30). There’s plenty on cans and bottles from which to choose from too, as well as cocktails with prices starting from £6.50.

Inside Market Shaker in Cloth Market, Newcastle

This is very much a bar for drinking and dancing that serves food on the side, rather than a restaurant, so the food menu is limited to pizza, but its pizzas come from the very excellent Scream for Pizza who built up such a good following with their pop ups that they’ve recently opened their own restaurant in Sandyford, Newcastle.

There’s some good lunch time offers to tuck into with a slice of pizza and a pint or prosecco for a fiver, but we were feeling hungry so went the whole hog. There’s only one size available for a whole pizza, so 18inchs it was.

We chose the Patsy Parma (see what they did there) which comes in at £20. It was as good a base as I’ve had in Italy with just the right amount of bite and bubble.

Meanwhile you get plenty of toppings for your pounds on top of the San Marzano tomatoes base: sliver upon sliver of Parma ham, satisfying blobs of a sinfully-good pesto, perfectly gooey mozzarella and sprigs of fresh rocket. We couldn’t finish it all, hardly surprising at the size, but our waitress was really helpful in, despite not having a box big enough, wrapping it up well so we could finish it for tea.

Neon artworks and signs pepper the walls at Market Shaker.

With its achingly cool aesthetic and helpful staff, there’s much to like about this trendy hot spot, which wouldn’t look out of place in Shoreditch, if only it hadn’t bought the East London grime with it.