Cumberland Arms, Newcastle upon Tyne

James Place Street (off Byker Bank)
Byker
Newcastle upon Tyne
NE6 1LD
0191 265 1725

The Cumberland Arms in Byker was built in 1899 and its layout has hardly changed since then. The wood panelled public bar is on the left with the main bar counter and is mainly for drinking and conversation (photos 2 & 3). There’s a bookcase in the corner stuffed with books and board games. The sitting room on the right also has wood panelled walls and has a couple of tables reserved for musicians for informal sessions (photo 4). The more formal music events take place in the large upstairs room and outside on the terrace in warmer weather (photo 1).

The pub is best known in Newcastle as a folk music pub and sessions are held nearly every day. Rapper dance has taken off in quite a big way nationally and its success is due in no small part to the dance team at the Cumberlands Arms. Rapper is an energetic sword dance with somersaults performed inside the pub and is definitely worth catching.

There are gigs too from bands of other musical genres as well as comedy and spoken word events. The pub’s website says that “in an average year, we support over 900 artists, host 90+ community events, 180 performances and 150 dance rehearsals in addition to over 350 back-room sessions”.

The pub has long been an oasis for real ale in Newcastle. Back in the days when most pubs in the city were owned by Scottish and Newcastle and sold no cask beer, a handful of pubs continued to sell Draught Bass. The Cumberland was one of them and now serves five cask ales, six craft keg beers, canned craft beers, five real ciders and a small selection of well chosen wines. But sadly no Draught Bass.

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