Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

The Dog That Can Bite through Bars; Tony Henderson on Newcastle's Drinking Scene, Which Has Sent One Critic Barking Mad

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

The Dog That Can Bite through Bars; Tony Henderson on Newcastle's Drinking Scene, Which Has Sent One Critic Barking Mad

Article excerpt

Byline: Tony Henderson

BRING on the Burglar's Dog, that scourge of pretentious pubs, gimmicky theme bars, princely prices and desperate drinking dumps.

The Dog, alias Mark Jones, has shown commendable stamina in trotting around 154 of Newcastle's pubs, bars and "lounges" to tell it like he sees it and not - as he claims - the image makers and cliched guide books would have it.

"I wanted to do something honest and which made me laugh," says Mark.

The result is the release of a pentup howl - nay, a crusade - against bars which have been brutalised, botched and banalified - if there is such a word (and there is now).

The Burglar's Dog is the name given to a website which Mark set up with John Egdell to post reviews of Newcastle's drinking dens and which has now developed into an updated, expletive-spliced book.

Newcastle-born and bred, Mark takes an opening swipe at Newcastle's party city tag and the squealing hen and stag night industry it has spawned.

"Frankly, the whole idea is a sham. It's a party that has been gatecrashed by absolute idiots. The facts about drinking in Newcastle are quite simple - you're going to get served swill, you're going to be ripped off and at the end of the night someone is going to try and kick your teeth out.

"The fun pubs are our worst nightmare, the student hovels make us wince, and those indistinguishable, extortionate luxebars for berks with more vanity products than IQ points are going to get what's coming to them.

"We are sick of reading the same stock phrases - chilled, smooth, designer, swanky, sumptuous - utter rot, all of it. We will not attempt to sell mediocrity packaged as sophistication."

It's a question of what the Burglar's Dog sinks his teeth into first.

Posh bars? "A town blighted by beige luxebars. Does everywhere have to be a lounge these days? There is no bigger insult than being charged Scandinavian prices for a pint. Some prices are obscene."

Chain bars? "Are our tacky chain bars so much better than tacky chain bars elsewhere?"

Basic establishments? "Not the sort of place you want to take your lass for a quiet pint unless she is 17 stone and likes headbutting total strangers."

The Bigg Market? "Home of football hooligans, the under-age drinker and the habitual criminal."

Understandably, given his forthright views, Mark leans towards anonymity and prefers a caricature instead of a photograph by way of illustration.

But he does concede that the tongue is a little way into the cheek and the reviews are written from the standpoint of "someone who is cracking on a bit" - 38, actually - and who was turned away from one bar because he was too old. …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.