Blackfriars raises a glass to new tasting room

Wed 9th Aug

We're excited to launch a new unique function space, dedicated to hosting a range of drinks-related events such as wine, beer and whisky tasting.

Our new Tasting Room at Blackfriars, situated directly above the main restaurant, has space to seat up to 36 guestsantique 19th century seating used by the Crafts guilds of Newcastle.

Guests can also choose from a range of bespoke options for a date of their choice, which are suitable for private events, corporate groups, and hen and stag parties. These options include wine, whisky and cheese matching, local beer tasting, a beginner’s guide to wine tasting, exploring the restaurant wine list, an introduction to whisky, and chef and sommelier: food and drink matching.

The room will now be playing host to a number of scheduled events over the coming months, including Beer Tasting and Dinner on Tuesday August 22, where guests can sample eight beers and homemade bread, followed by a 3-course dinner at Blackfriars.

Blackfriars dates back to 1239 when it was the medieval home of the city’s ‘Black Friars’. In 1543, Blackfriars’ first floor rooms became the meeting houses for the crafts guilds including brewers, bakers, butchers, dyers, skinners, glovers, smiths, tanners and tailors. The Guild of Tailors, among others, continued to meet at Blackfriars until 1974. The first floor space has in recent years been used by North East of England Civic Trust who moved out a few years ago, with the space lying dormant ever since.

Now, the Tasting Room has been refurbished by traditional craftsmen, who have carefully chosen furniture, lighting and fabrics in-keeping with the rich history of Blackfriars.

The room is just one of the areas that owner Andy Hook has carefully renovated as part of an ambitious scheme to give previously disused areas of Blackfriars a 21st century facelift – including the Dominican Friary’s Parlour, library rooms and Dormitory Rooms.

Andy Hook said: “The beautiful first floor rooms above Blackfriars have been something of a hidden gem for many years now, so we were delighted to have the chance to bring them back to life, and to show them to our guests. The circular seating lends itself very well to relaxed, sociable gatherings – perfect for wine, beer and whisky tastings.”
Blackfriars is one of the oldest restaurants in the UK. Its ornate 50-seat Banquet Hall was built to entertain guests and nobles to Newcastle, and it was the celebrated venue used by King Edward III to receive royal Scot, Edward Balliol, in 1334. 
The restaurant received the Taste of England accolade at the North East Tourism Awards and was voted Best North East Restaurant in the Licensed Trade Awards.

The team at Blackfriars also opened Hinnies Restaurant in Whitley Bay in February 2016, and most recently Dobson and Parnell in December 2016, which offers refined British and European food on Newcastle’s Quayside.