St. Andrews is renowned for being a bubble. It seems to be impossible to leave St Andrews for creative weekend jaunts. Edinburgh is too familiar and too close to truly be a get-away. Besides that, Edinburgh doesn’t have a 'legit' vibe. It’s too straight-laced, too upper class, and definitely not wild enough for someone who truly wants to experience life on all levels.
So, where do we go? Where should the discerning St Andrean head? Newcastle. There’s nothing quite like Geordie life.
Let’s say you get there Friday afternoon and skip a few classes to take the three hour train journey (it’s worth it) to arrive in the heart of Geordie-land. After dumping your bags, you should head straight to Nando’s. Chains aren’t cool, but the Nando’s in the centre of Newcastle looks out over a rambunctious square crammed with emo tweeny-boppers that are sure to provide humorous dinner entertainment.
Every visitor to Newcastle needs to have a night out. Say you have a few drinks, possibly at Sinner’s (not quite as sketchy as it sounds), but still have the urge to go somewhere just that much better? Go then to Gotham, the land of cheap trebles, sweat, stale smoke, and grotesque gargoyles, nooses, and other morbid memorabilia scattered about. The seats/floor/tables are always sticky and the people in the booth behind you will always be rowdy. It’s a little like the best version of hell.
After you have recovered the next morning from one too many trebles, head to Salsa Café, a well-priced little hub that actually manages to capture the feeling of a proper Californian Mexican restaurant (unlike some restaurants close to home…). There are pictures by local artists on the wooden walls, the food is good, and the price is more than decent. Plus, they do Coronas by the bucket, for those people hard-core enough to continue the shenanigans of the night.
The rest of the weekend should be spent shopping, since Newcastle has the coolest and the best priced clothes you’re likely to find anywhere. Anywhere. I don’t care what anyone tells me about London, I will maintain forever that NCL is where it’s at. For skaters, or even just guys who like to rock the West Coast look, Native Skate Store is as local and as classic as it gets. For people wanting to rep Geordie pride, Electrik Sheep do awesome shirts that are tongue-in-cheek and utterly unique. And for people with a bent towards vintage fashion, 'Deep' on High Bridge Street has the cheapest and coolest vintage clothes you will find anywhere (forget £100 vintage tops from Urban Outfitters).
End the weekend with a chill night. Tokyo Bar is relaxed, classy, and relatively cheap. It has the distinction of being one of the few places in Newcastle where the only option is to sit outside. Luckily, copious heaters keep the non-Geordie visitor from freezing to death, and the cocktails are so potent the alcohol will soon make the heaters unneeded.