I was invited to the launch of the newest premium nightspot in Jesmond, 97 & Social. Part of the Cairn Group, and sister venue to SoHe, the idea for the bar was borne out of SoHe clients with a desire to continue their drinking experience long after they’d finished their meal.
Primarily a bar with an extensive cocktail menu, 97 & Social also has a seasonal Street Food menu serving up simple and very reasonably priced bar classics.
I threw on a red Moschino leather skirt with an Alexander McQueen Lenticular tank and took my newly blue hair along for the ride to Jesmond, just outside the city centre.
The venue itself sits comfortably at no.97 Osborne road (obvs.) and has an adjoining door through to the Cairn Hotel. It stands out amongst some of the more tired bars and restaurants of the famed Osborne Road and it’s simplicity has real kerb appeal. Smooth green lawns (fake I think) are either side of the entrance and I’m greeted by two of the nicest door staff I’ve ever come across, seriously (apologies guys if that hurts your badass reputation). I make my way into the bar which is surprisingly spacious, I’m told that not all of the furniture has arrived in time for the launch so it won’t actually be quite so free-flowing but first impressions of the bar are good.
It’s a far cry from the likes of the more modern bars we’ve seen cropping up in Newcastle recently, this has more of a Classic Deco vibe to it, possibly a little muddled with it’s themes it’s still aesthetically pleasing. There are semi-private seating areas throughout the bar, some have a more contemporary feel with high back confessional style booths and modern style lighting and others are set to replicate a mini lounge with imitation low back Chesterfield style seating and cosy fireplaces. The floor tiles around the bar area are beautifully mismatched, something my eye is drawn repeatedly to.
In terms of the launch itself, it’s a little disjointed, there’s a large layout of Bellini’s which appear to be guarded by a member of the bar staff who isn’t approaching anyone and I hear people muttering and asking whether it’s ok to take one, I make my way over to ask and I’m told it’s a signature cocktail made with Jesmond Dene honey and although I then still have to ask for one, it’s pretty damn good.
There’s a diverse mix of people here for the launch, and that’s a good thing. It’s never a good sign when a bar is personified by the crowd who drinks there but that’s not the case here so far. I spot the team from Savalas Models bringing the beauty to celebrate their 1st birthday in a booth near the back and there are a lot of guys suited up for the evening (something I love to see).
I pause for a chat with the bar staff and I’m told that the bar will be open from 4pm until 11pm making it a great venue for after work drinks or a late supper, I’m certain the local businesses of Jesmond and the surrounding area will flock to this new venue.
As I leave I stop for another chat with the door staff who tell me how lovely I look (seriously guys, you’re making me blush) they also tell me that there are plans for a heated seating area on the (possibly fake) lawn area outside in time for the Summer which sounds amazing. They pose for a quick photograph, and then re-pose after not being happy with the first one and with that I’m off chuckling to myself down Osborne road.
I know I’ll be back, there’s something very calming about the place, it’s not frenetic like some bars on Osborne Road, the atmosphere is chilled and the music isn’t too loud. I’ve no doubt the 97 & Social will be a success and if you’re a regular at SoHe you’re only a hop, skip and a jump away from this decadent new venue. So go, stop for a chat with the door staff and order an Afternoon delight. You won’t be disappointed.