1. The Blue Bell
The Blue Bell, located in the quiet and calm Jesmond Vale and bordering on the lush greenery of Heaton Park, is more redolent of a traditional village public house than a suburban gastro-pub. However, it is this traditional appearance, accompanied with its expansive beer garden, which makes it a popular destination for those hoping to enjoy some of its local bitters, or indulge in one of its mountainous sandwiches.
The Blue Bell is an enclosed pocket of calm, a restorative relief from the tumult of the town centre. Therefore, it’s a perfect place to sit back and enjoy the weekend’s rugby, in a family and pet friendly environment. All canine Six Nation Fans are welcome, with the ‘Doggie Menu’ making sure that an evening out in front of the rugby should not exclude ‘man’s best friend’.
2. The Cosy Dove
Following its 2016 revamp, the Spital Tongues pub now offers a warm and homely environment to sit back, relax, and watch the Six Nations Championship unfold. Its warming decor, embellished by the shelves of literature, and eclectic furniture, helps inspire the feeling that one has just stepped into the front room of an old, wise, yet welcoming relative. It is this air of avuncular affability and acceptance that is so settling for a first-time visitor.
You can begin your stint by sampling some of the fine nachos or charcuterie available, and if this is not enough to settle your nervous stomach as Owen Farrell lines up his shot at goal, you can always indulge in one of the Dove’s wagyu beef burgers.
3. The Black Swan
The Black Swan is a well-renowned gastro-pub in Alnwick, and its myriad selection of gins means that it is not simply a hub for fine, Northumbrian ales. Whether you’re after a nice GnT, consisting of Hepple, Monkey 47, or Bathtub gins or a few bottles of Peroni, The Black Swan is a fine place to get the weekend started and watch the Friday evening clash between Wales and Ireland (10 March, 8.05pm KO). A humming atmosphere, along with plenty of interesting tapas snacks to choose from, means that visitors can dip in and out of the encompassing social set-up, and gaze up at the hanging screens to re-engage with the ensuing action.
4. The Blagdon Arms
A lovely little spot on the tranquil Village Square in Cramlington, The Blagdon Arms offers a more structured set up to the weekend’s sporting proceedings, giving you the option to book those tables in prime position in front of their screens. Once the ideal stake-out (or steak out) area has been secured, you and your friends can sit back, order some snacks, and watch the drama unfold in comfort. The kitchen offers an extensive menu, with great bites such as ‘loaded fries’ to graze on, whilst the bar is equally well-equipped. All in all, The Blagdon Arms is a gem of a pub to catch all of the Six Nations’ action, and it will not disappoint.
5. The Infant Hercules
One of Middlesbrough’s growing cohort of micro-pubs, The Infant Hercules naturally engenders an intimate ambience, with its compact layout and limited seating. However, its special Six Nations offer takes advantage of this snug arrangement: booking a seat in advance for £10 not only guarantees you a comfortable viewing position, but also gets you three pints of your choice along with some bar snacks. This small watering hole is ideal for those aspiring pundits, with the limited size of the establishment hopefully securing enough quietude for a conversation concerning team–or even beer– selection.
6. The Market Tavern
The Market Tavern in Durham, with an arrangement both booths and barstools, accommodates both the lone rugby ranger, and the group of fanatics hoping to catch every scrum, line-out, and try. The bar has plenty of singular seats, allowing more casual glances at the score, whilst the rectangular booths offer a space for more serious screen scrutiny. A perfect place to grab a beer and a burrito, The Market Tavern showing all eighteen matches from the 4 February–18 March means that it is a good place to hunker down and set up stall for the next few weekends.