Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Newcastle's hidden little gem... The Hood Street Club

I love Newcastle because I grew up there.  When I was younger I used to hang out at Spanish City on the waltzer (because I fancied the guy who shouted ‘scream if you wanna go faster’), then it was Metroland (I saw Cheryl Cole singing on the stage there once..) and when I was 16, my first club experience at The Ritzy….and although I couldn’t dance much (because my feet were so stuck to the floor where a thousand drinks had been spilled), it was right there and then that I fell in love with going out!  But the same bars and clubs week in and week out, tend to get a bit boring don’t they?!  And what I love about living in London is that you never have to go in the same bar twice if you don’t want to.

So in the last couple of years when I’ve headed back to Newcastle, older (but probably not wiser to be honest – wine kills brain cells), I’ve always thought to myself that something uber cool with a super strict guest list would go down really well…Something with a similar vibe to Nightjar at Old Street or Evans and Peel at Earl’s Court…Somewhere you won’t stick to the floor, have a willy straw waved in your face or fight a blow up doll in your quest to get to the bar…

Imagine my surprise, when I realised my last visit home coincided with the opening of a brand new bar concept in Newcastle – modelled on the secret drinking dens commonplace in New York, London and Milano!!!  Welcome to The Hood Street Club – a stones through from Newcastle’s Monument which means if you’re used to travelling by tube, you can hop off the metro in your 5 inch heels and be in the bar within 30 seconds! 

It’s from the same group who are responsible for Bar Luga and Perdu – Fluid Group, but far more sophisticated and stylish, and set over 3 levels including a dance floor and a cool booth area where there are telephones on the table!  (That means if you spot a hot guy on the table at a booth at the other end of the bar, you can ring them and tell them to get the champers in! – Genius.)

Really amazing d├ęcor, great lighting, a dance floor intimate enough so you don’t look stupid dancing on your own (errrmmm that’ll be me then…..Again), but big enough to get a good crowd on the floor and the DJ’s got a fab mix of tunes until 3am in the morning on Thursday’s, Friday’s and Saturday’s.

So no stag and hen do’s, a strict door policy, a great drinks menu and those luxurious booths which you can book in advance for a hot date (with the guy you rang on those table phones last week) or a Carrie Bradshaw style girly catch up.

Newcastle’s been screaming out for a venue like this.  Bravo.  My new fave place.


Thursday, September 13, 2012

Bunga Bunga's 1st Birthday

The guys at Bunga Bunga know how to party.  If you’ve never been, let me give you the lowdown.  It’s an Italian restaurant on Battersea Bridge Road which serves some really good food (the pizza’s are as long as the table and de-licious and the Aubergine Parmigiana is to die for).  They have really gorgeous ladies on the door with fab figures that make you not wanna eat your weight in food when you get in there.  Then you see the menu and decide you’ll do that next time. 

While you eat your dinner and sing the occasional Happy Birthday for the gang at the next table (it’s a super friendly / family place), they get some live music on the go and you kind of wish you weren’t at work tomorrow cos you know what’s coming, because as the last of the orders come in, the karaoke gets started!  Now if like me, you think karaoke should be for people who really can’t sing (as opposed to those ones who get up and sing Celine Dion note perfect while they do that thing with the microphone like on X Factor), then this is the place for you!  The singing is sometimes so bad that people get boo-ed off - exactly how it should be I reckon!  (Although I'm proud to say that when we did 'Sex on Fire', we did actually make it to end - think my mic might've been broken that night!)  And after karaoke, well, the real party starts!  The DJ spins his tunes, cheese, pop and chart downstairs, dancey housey stuff upstairs….  And you just have to be there at midnight……for Christmas!!  Christmas happens every night at Bunga Bunga and it’s ingenius! Glitter and shiny bits of paper fall from the ceiling and Mariah Carey’s ‘All I want for Christmas’ blares out across the bar as everyone sings and toasts their drinks and genuinely get caught up in the moment – something you definitely have to witness!  Then everyone remembers it’s the middle of September and goes back to partying.

Last night was Bunga Bunga’s first birthday party – something definitely worth celebrating, so I rounded up the girls and headed down there early to sample some gorgeous Martini Royale’s and Mojito’s!  There was also mouth watering parma ham and big lumps of parmesan, prawn tempura and bruschetta in abundance followed by ice creams in proper ice cream cones!!  (Take note Heliot).  We even got special cup cakes to take home with us.  Nancy Dell’olio dropped by and my mate Sandy cornered her in the toilets to find out her beauty secrets - ‘lots of water’ is apparently key.  Why thank you Ms Dell’olio!  We’ll drink to that! (Water.  Of Course.) 
So if you're in the mood for a really fun italian atmosphere while drinking cocktails and eating pizza, singing, dancing and celebrating christmas, then this place is defo worth trying out.

Bravo to Robyn who is the totally fabulous General Manager and the whole gang at Bunga Bunga who made it a really special night.

Heliot Bar & Restaurant launch night at the Hippodrome

Tuesday nights can be a little dull in London.  That’s why it’s a good night to do a launch night and invite a crowd down who like a free glass of Champers.  That’ll be myself, Leonie, Debbie, Helen and Stacey then.  To be fair, we would turn up to the opening of an envelope…Actually not entirely true, but if there's a free glass of wine, we're there.  Generally.  

So apparently there’s a new restaurant within the casino at Hippodrome and the owners wanted to show it off.  But the plan was fatally flawed.  First of all, only one glass of champagne each…  Not impressed.  And one canape each aswell.   Bitesized.  Some might say, (everyone would say) not quite enough for us to know whether or not we actually would like the food?!!!   

What I did like was the impressive glass floor which was made up entirely of one pence pieces!  Cool!  The smoking area was also meant to be nice.  But seeing as I don’t smoke, I wouldn’t really know.  I’m ashamed to say that as soon as the free wine ran out, we also ran out.  Oh well.

Corporate Box at Lady Gaga!

Sunday Morning:
Matt: ‘Ash do you have lots of hot mates?’

Me:  ‘Well they all scrub up okay yes’…Just joking, they are of course all fabulous and amazing… ‘Errm why?!!!’

Matt:  ‘Fancy bringing them down for some free food and drink in a corporate box with me and my friends at Lady Gaga tonight?’

Me: ‘Errrrm……Ooh let me think about that, okay thought about it, we’re in!  All of us!’

Turns out my mate who does something to do with rugby that I don’t really understand because I’m a girl, had a box which needed filling at Twickenham Stadium.  Cue 8 very excited girlies who were even more excited when the waiter (yes waiter service!)  happened to have an unlimited number of bottles of Laurent Perrier Rose on tap for us too.  And this was all before Lady Gaga even started singing. 

Gaga came out on a horse which my friend said couldn’t possibly be real because it would be scared by the loud music and jump into the crowd?!!!… Hmm ermmm something I hadn’t really considered as I polished off another glass of champagne.  But the show, wow – it’s true what everyone says – she’s a totally amazing performer, super theatrical stage set, and really endearing with her fans.  She did all the biggies – ‘Judas’, ‘Marry the Night’, ‘Edge of Glory’, ‘Paparazzi’ and a tonne of new ones from her album too.  If you get the chance to see Gaga, then you simply must!  But unlike me, maybe make sure you buy the new album and listen to it BEFORE the concert, then you’ll be able to dance and sing along to allof the songs instead of just the 4 I mentioned above.   Maybe also pick up a blonde wig and some ripped tights.

Weekend Antics...

Well it was another full on weekend, at the Paralympics on Friday to see Josie Pearson break the world record three times winning gold for Great Britain followed by some voiceovers at Maple Street Studio and birthday drinks at Abbey Bar (The Minories, Aldgate) for my friend Stacey.  Happy Hour is brilliant at Abeey and you also never know who’s going to be in there – last time we bumped into Ray Winstone who was lovely and chatty and didn’t mind posing for 20 different photos taken from different angles with every one of my friends!  On Saturday, BBC2 beckoned, but after work, we managed to hit Clapham Common to enjoy the last of the rays followed by some drinks on Northcote Road.  Sunday was meant to be a quiet chilled night after an early shift on BBC1…  But….
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