Railway stations are perfect settings for pubs; their sheer convenience is too positive to be ignored. So the Left Luggage Room at Monkseaton Metro station has a distinct advantage via its annual 900,000 commuters because, as the Tyne and Wear Metro hoovers up and deposits passengers every six minutes, it’s fair to say a good many head straight for the micro pub.
The station buildings date from 1915; handsome, solid brick contrasting with cantilevered ironwork and elegant glass canopies, so this tasteful conversion was perhaps inevitable. The premises, the former parcel office and left luggage room, has been scrubbed free from a century’s soot and debris; however, much of the peeling cream paint and blackened timbers were spared this elbow-grease to retain authenticity and atmosphere. The lavatories are now where the ticket office was. Bricked-up window voids have been flung open and replaced by North Eastern Railway red frames; shortened scaffolding boards – apparently traded for a rusting Lancia – form a herringbone floor, while longer lengths are for parking backsides. The vaulted timber ceiling shows there’s beauty in utilitarian simplicity, and abandoned trunks and suitcases front the pub counter.
Window sills are lined with books, many of a sporting biographical nature, and a guitar hanging on the wall has “play me” attached on a sheet of A4. Be thankful it’s not an accordion. The no-frills Left Luggage Room’s reputation for beer has spread beyond the Metro network – who could resist Drop Kick Me Jesus (Tempest Brewing Co, 5.2% abv), not “through the goalposts of life” as the Seventies song pleads, but for its fashionable tart, peachy sourness. Local breweries such as Wylam and Almasty deserve to be among the six cask ale and four craft keg offerings alongside visitors Bad Seed, Tiny Rebel and Thornbridge.
Complementing the beer range, a dozen whiskies meet 20 gins – but if you don’t like free cheese, there’s little else to munch on. But what’s best about left luggage rooms is their very raison d’être – you’re compelled to go back.
Monkseaton Station, Norham Rd, Tyne and Wear NE26 3NR