1073 Cocktails and 238 Bars now listed
A cross between a New York bar and an Italian coffee shop, this popular Newcastle venue is not short on atmosphere, substance or style. Step inside and you’ll find one of the best drinks selections in the city, as well as a food menu that is pure comfort on a plate. With a distinctly different vibe from afternoon to evening, Popolo is the ultimate all-rounder, perfect for a romantic meal out or a big night on the tiles. Popolo’s major selling point has always been its extensive and well-studied cocktail menu, offering up a huge array of cocktails, carefully selected continental beers, spirits and wines. Recently the range of American Craft Beers has been extended with both a draught and bottled selection at each outlet.
With a slick 1960s vibe, all red and white leather, a pinboard for the drinks menus and old movie posters, Popolo stands out amongst the deluge of cheap trebles bars and ‘Geordie Shore’ hangouts as one of the best place to drink in a town that’s renowned for its thirst.
Part of a small chain around the North, Popolo is firmly established as a destination for good cocktails in Newcastle, having an extensive list and bartenders more than capable of knocking you up something a little more adventurous. On my last visit, I asked for something ‘fun’ and ended up with a Corpse Reviver #2 and certainly left feeling enlivened if nothing else.
The décor is much of the charm of Popolo; being styled to reflect the classic bars and cafes found around Italy for decades, it does away with the pretense that cocktail bars must be ostentatiously glamorous. Its relaxed atmosphere means popping in for afternoon cocktails is never out of the question.
I recently needed to de-stress after a rather hectic week at work, and knew that whilst often (all the time) you’ll find me in pubs around the city, only cocktails would do. Busy with suits and city workers on a Friday night, we found somewhere to perch and slowly worked our way through the menu. Particular highlights were the Sloe Gin Fizz, a refreshing mix of Plymouth sloe gin, lemon juice and gomme syrup and the Gin Laden a sweet and sticky combination of Hendricks, marmalade and limoncello.
It’s difficult to make a trip to Popolo and not dip into the Mojito list, it being their specialty. Although for many a Mojito is not the most adventurous of drinks, the flavours and spirits are expertly chosen. Of the variations, a favourite has to be the Stormy Mojito, which uses Gosling’s dark rum, mint, lime and ginger beer.
And we of course couldn’t skip over the classics; a strong Old Fashioned, surely the backbone of any half decent cocktail menu and a Mint Julep made from Wild Turkey 101 bourbon were enjoyed with a few of the small plates of Italian classics from the food menu. We sampled a light and crispy fritto misto that used a varied selection of seafood and some seriously good chunky chips serving as carby life rafts in a sea of strong liqueur.
The cocktails at Popolo show some serious contemplation has gone into crafting a menu that reflects both the ambition of the venue to create innovative mixes but is also full of the kinds of things you want on a night out. It isn’t necessarily about creating world class, boutique blends but making something that’s more than a little bit fun. Thought has also been given to reflect the current trend for craft ales and imported beers and there is a well considered range on offer which throws up a number of unusual treats.
Next time you’re in the North, look out for Popolo, tucked away slightly off the beaten track it’s a stylish little bar that makes any time cocktail time.