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Inside the ‘last West End pub’ as locals enjoy their first pint since the lockdown UK News

At the height of Scotswood Road, there were pubs all over Newcastle’s West End.

Half a century ago there were dozens of them, with names like The Plimsol and The Forge Hammer – now there’s really only one.

The Metropolitan Bar, dubbed simply on Google “an unpretentious neighborhood pub”, is the latest of a dying breed.

Pool tables, darts and a local face are what you’ll find here – the only pub left between Elswick and the Fenham Fringes.

West End pubs have slowly been calling the time in recent years. A drop in trade in nearby Chesterfield has forced developers to consider other plans for the site, while Villa Victoria is now closed, without much fanfare.

Customers enjoy a drink at the newly refurbished Metropolitan Bar on Westmorland Road in Newcastle

While there are social clubs and unlicensed licenses, an old religious convention limiting licensed buildings is why Fenham is virtually ad-free until you get to the Fox and Hounds near the border with Denton. .

“There is a new hotel with a beer garden not too far from where the Chesterfield was, but in reality we are the last,” said Metropolitan owner Kareena Wilde, who admits the disappearance of the old-fashioned West End pub is sad to see.

“It’s a shame, especially with everything that is happening with the pandemic when the hospitality industry has suffered.

“I always said it was a shame that Villa Vic was closing as it is heritage here, and we weren’t competing with each other as different people were drinking in the bars and I loved going to the Villa Vic for a pint.

Customers enjoy a drink at the newly refurbished Metropolitan Bar on Westmorland Road in Newcastle

“But I think people are quite skeptical about opening bars and pubs now, especially with the current climate.”

Not all gloomy and gloomy, however, as for the first time in several months, the doors of the Metropolitan opened last week to once again welcome regulars – which Kareena prides herself on remembering.

Residents, dressed in their Newcastle United shirts, had a pint inside the room which was given a makeover during the lockdown.

A new sports bar takes pride of place inside the Westmorland Road pub, which also offers a new food menu as part of the redesign.

The newly refurbished Metropolitan Bar on Westmorland Road in Newcastle

However, it’s the “cool and fantastic atmosphere” that Kareena says always brings people back – and she claims her beer is pretty good.

A trained chef with sales experience, Kareena, born in Cheshire, took over with her partner Paul a few years ago, who fell in love with the locals.

Kareena Wilde and Paul Moore who run the Metropolitan Bar on Westmorland Road in Newcastle

“When we moved here we used to come and drink here because a lot of our friends were drinking here so we would come on weekends and then obviously someone told me the management was going to go up – j ‘I applied and Paul and I got it, ”Kareena added.

Since then, as other places nearby have disappeared, she insists that she and the pub are here to stay. Nationally, however, the situation is not so rosy.

A report released last week by the Altus Group consultants showed that since the start of the first lockout, 384 UK boozers have closed – almost one a day.

And it was with government help, such as the leave program, suggesting that the situation at the end of the pandemic could be even worse.

The newly refurbished Metropolitan Bar on Westmorland Road in Newcastle

However, in the West End at least, drinkers raise their glasses to the pub’s new look – and the fact that they can meet again after a hell of a year for many.

“For older customers, coming to the pub is part of their socialization,” Kareena added.

“They can come to the pub, see their friends, have a view of the beers and talk. The socialization side has been a very, very big mistake for a lot of customers.”

But she added: “Since reopening last Wednesday, they’ve been very supportive. Without our customers, we wouldn’t be open.”