Living North Awards 2019 Winners
Foodie Favourite of the Year 2019
Tyne Bank Brewery
The brainchild of Julia Austin, Tyne Bank Brewery began back in 2011, but only found its home, a 13,000-square- foot warehouse on the edge of Ouseburn, in 2016. Since then it has fast become the perfect place to enjoy a beer where it’s made, or to immerse yourself in a fascinating brewery tour. Hosting regular events showcasing some of the region’s best musicians, food vendors, artists and artisan producers too, over the years the brewery has become much more than simply a place to enjoy a pint.
Restaurant of the Year 2019
Alex Nietosvuori started his culinary career working in the two Michelin-starred restaurant, Daniel Berlin Krog, and adopted a nose-to-tail approach to minimal-waste cooking. Earlier this year, he made the move to Wall, in Hexham, bringing his Scandinavian flair and exceptional culinary skills to the North East, and has since captured the attention of critics nationwide.
Informal Dining of the Year 2019
Scream for Pizza
Vicky and Alex began their journey by stripping back the art of pizza and perfecting its constituent parts – amazing dough, bright and balanced tomato sauce and high-grade mozzarella – in their van at events across our region. Their rise in popularity and the high demand for unique flavour combinations – take the Brooklyn Bee, with chilli honey and salami, for instance – led them to turn to bricks and mortar, opening their first permanent outpost earlier this year in Sandyford. And, as if that wasn’t enough, they’ve more recently taken up residency in the kitchen of Newcastle’s Market Shaker too.
Pub of the Year 2019
The Bay Horse at Hurworth
With over a decade of experience running this award-winning 15th century pub in Hurworth, the team at The Bay Horse continue to experiment with new flavours and cooking methods using locally-sourced produce, serving both modern dishes and classics with an authentic Bay Horse twist.
Hotel of the Year 2019
Middleton Lodge is a stunning Georgian country retreat set in 200 acres. Family-run, the super-stylish accommodation is found in various, beautifully-restored buildings across the estate. The attention to detail here makes Middleton Lodge stand out, and with the three-AA Rosette restaurant The Forge, treatment rooms, meditation and pilates classes all on offer, there’s no reason to leave except to borrow one of the bikes to explore the surrounding grounds.
Accommodation of the Year 2019
The Pickled Parson of Sedgefield
Formerly The Crosshill Hotel, The Pickled Parson of Sedgefield is a beautiful, listed building with nine individually-designed rooms. Focusing on a pared-back approach but with real creature comforts, an excellent job has been done of refurbishing and modernising this luxury pub with rooms.
Self Catering Accommodation of the Year 2019
Reborn following a full renovation in 2018, the seven luxurious, self-catering Stable Suites offer a real home-from-home experience for guests of all ages. Guests can call upon their own designated driver to take them to enjoy the wealth of luxuries at nearby Walwick Hall Hotel, while the accommodation provides all the peace and privacy you could wish for.
Bar of the Year 2019
By The River Brew Co.
The containers underneath the iconic Tyne Bridge that make up By The River Brew Co. contain a thriving community of bars, a restaurant (featured in the Michelin Guide 2020, no less), plus a coffee house, the Backyard Bike Shop, and the vibrant Hawker Market. The 20 keg lines featuring the latest releases in fresh craft beer in the bar are certainly something to write home about.
Attraction of the Year 2019
Great North Museum: Hancock
The Great North Museum: Hancock remains one of the leading family destinations in the North East, with a varying programme of exhibitions, expert talks, courses and activities. This year, the jewel in its crown has been the visit from ‘Dippy’ – the Natural History Museum’s famous, 21-metre-long Diplodocus skeleton – which enjoyed six months at the Hancock as part of its first ever UK tour, helping the museum to record its highest number of visitors over the summer holidays in a decade.
Performance of the Year 2019
Bodies of Evidence at Palace Green Library
Human remains found under Palace Green Library in 2013 were identified by archaeologists from Durham University as belonging to prisoners of war from the Battle of Dunbar in 1650. Bodies of Evidence brought together material from collections across the UK to piece together their identities and the remarkable stories of the survivors.
Retailer of the Year 2019
Winners of one of the fashion retail industry’s highest accolades, Julian and Rhona Blades of Jules B were awarded Drapers Independents Lifetime Achievement Award in 2018. It is hardly surprising to those who know them that their passion, enthusiasm and commitment to independent retail has been recognised, and at a time when so much of the high street is struggling. A formidable team, their instinctive talent for recognising what is needed to make a store successful, their ability to adapt and evolve, and their focus on quality and understanding of brands keeps them ahead in the competitive world of fashion retail.
Business of the Year 2019
Greggs is loved by millions. Famous for its traditional pasties, the high street brand has over 1,850 shops nationwide and continues to compete successfully in the food-on-the-go market, making clear their commitment to the customer by ensuring good, freshly-prepared food is accessible to everyone. Constantly developing new products in response to changing consumer tastes, they have recently become known for their innovative and hugely effective marketing strategy.
Entrepreneur of the Year 2019
Jonathan Grubin, SoPost
Jonathan is founder and CEO of SoPost, a Newcastle software firm which allows companies to connect with their customers online and offer them sample products. SoPost tripled its turnover last year and was ranked the 13th fastest growing tech firm in the UK – it now employs people in Newcastle, London, Edinburgh and New York. Jonathan also works hard to help and support entrepreneurs starting on their journey in the North East.
Designer Maker of the Year 2019
Having been in business since 1984, Alexander Carrick are celebrating 35 years of creating individually handcrafted furniture, and are known across the North East for their stunning bespoke kitchens, bedrooms and studies. Based at their workshop in the heart of Northumberland, they are active supporters of vocational learning, providing apprenticeship programmes to help keep the art of Northumbrian cabinet making alive in the region.
Health & Beauty Award 2019
Simon Berry Optometrist
Shortlisted for the Independent Practice of the Year at the National SightCare Awards 2019, Simon Berry Optometrists are renowned for providing ground-breaking, specialist eye care. Founder of the practice Simon has been dedicated to research and innovation in optometry for over 20 years and, earlier this year, he invented the Visual Fixation System to make eye tests easier for patients with a learning disability or dementia.
Changing Lives Award 2019
NE Youth is the North East’s leading youth development charity supporting young people and youth organisations. The charity has worked with over 80 youth and community sports clubs across the North East to deliver quality programmes, making a positive difference to the lives of young people in our region.
Promise and Potential Award 2019
Phil began his rugby journey as an eight-year-old at Morpeth Rugby Club, before joining the Newcastle Falcons academy in 2016. Having been mentored by well-respected rugby roach Jim Pollock at Royal Grammar School, the prop has grown into a talismanic captain for his school’s first team, as well as becoming a regular fixture in England’s under-18 side.
Best Regeneration or Restoration Award 2019
After lying empty for 16 years, Spanish City was re-opened in July 2018 after a £10 million restoration, attracting 16,000 visitors in its first weekend. At the heart of Whitley Bay’s Seafront Master Plan, the project carefully restored many original features and created new spaces to house two restaurants, a tearoom, event spaces and a Champagne bar.
Best Programme at a Venue 2018/19
The Word, National Centre for the Written Word
Earlier this year, The Word welcomed its one millionth visitor since opening in 2016, which is perhaps the greatest testament to the breadth of its attraction. Alongside being a fully-functioning library, their rolling programme of imaginative events, performances and exhibitions ensures visitors of all ages return time and again, and opening their top-floor events space, The Round, last summer has allowed for larger attractions and audiences.
Contribution to the North East 2019
In 1992 Terry Laybourne brought the first Michelin star to the North East with his 21 Queen Street restaurant, in 1999 he was awarded an MBE for his contribution to the restaurant industry, and he was given a Lifetime Achievement accolade in the 2007 Northern Hospitality Awards. Reluctant as he is to take any limelight as head of 21 Hospitality Group, his numerous restaurants, including Broad Chare, St Vincent, Salt Water Fish and Porterhouse Butcher & Grill, continually receive plaudits and are considered amongst the best in the region. And his influence on our foodie scene doesn’t end there, as Terry can lay claim to being the inspiration and mentor behind many of the North East’s leading chefs today.
Lifetime Achievement Award 2019
The Institute of Transplantation
The UK’s first ever Institute of Transplantation opened its doors at Newcastle’s Freeman Hospital in 2011, but pioneering transplantation began much earlier here with the first heart transplantation in 1985, quickly followed by the UK’s first successful paediatric heart transplant and Europe’s first lung transplant two years later. With over 30 years of experience The Freeman Hospital is a national leader in the UK in solid organ transplants and has a shared vision to provide the very best outcome through transplantation through leadership, boldness and a willingness to change established practice for optimum results, essentially giving the gift of life. The new purpose-built facilities, fully integrated support services and incredible staff contribute to a holistic transplantation centre at the forefront of research and education.