THE FREE TRADE INN
The Free Trade Inn is on St Lawrence Road at the far end of the Quayside.
(Editor’s note: Had you visited it 90 years ago, it would have looked like this…)
It’s a totally unique place. You could call it quaint…
Or you could say they haven’t decorated since the 60s.
Not sure who has it now, but back when we were kids starting out at the Trent, it was owned by a guy called Ted…
… who also used to have the Strawberry down the road from us. Ted was a bit of a dude…
Kinda always moody with us, but we think he might have been a bit like that with everyone.
One of his deals was apparently, he wouldn’t have bandits (gaming machines) in his pubs.
In the 80s many people thought that was nuts, but Ted wasn’t having it.
He thought it would ruin the vibe, we guess.
We heard that story about him & we liked that.
He ran a cafe called Mathers, which was really on, in Old Eldon Square as well.
Ted seemed to have billions of daughters & they all came to the Club & partied with us at different times, over the years.
We haven’t seen them so much recently, but honestly, they used to pop up on the dancefloor all the time way back.
We would always bend their ears, telling them to ask their Dad to sell us the Trade, but we got nowhere.
A real nice family though.
Anyway, we digress… Let’s chat about this Bar & a fine one it is too.
The Free Trade has a free jukebox & the best views of the River Tyne & its many bridges that anyone could wish for.
The FT is a proper summer pub with a big grassy seated outside bit & it’s also a winter pub, once Autumn comes, the dark nights draw in & they get the real fires going.
Even though it’s a really little place, you get an unrivalled connection with the seasons at any time of the year, through its massive windows.
It’s one of those places that would seem to be crying out to be done up, on the one hand, yet almost magical in its unchanging, dilapidated charm on the other.
We used to dream of owning it when we were kids & it was the scene for one of our most debauched staff xmas parties ever.
A great dating bar, as it provides a total counterpoint to any other bar you may visit on a night out. The clientele are varied & you never know who you might bump into.
It’s sort of a mark of how well you know the City, as it’s such a long standing & unchanged institution.
If you’ve never been to the Free Trade Inn, you are not really living in Newcastle yet.
The last of a dying breed, many of whom like Ale & have beards…
Now click the green arrow for Bar loco on Leazes Lane.