Eating & drinking in Berwick
For last year’s (2017) Literary Festival in Berwick I compiled a post about Berwick’s eateries. It was by no means exhaustive and was a personal take on eating and drinking in and around Berwick. As we approach the tourist season this year, I thought I’d update my listings. There’s also a post about wandering in Berwick – again tailored to the Literary Festival – but useful enough if you just want to make sure you’ve got the town covered on foot.
If you’ve not been to Berwick before, you’re in for a treat and, if you have been, you’ll no doubt relive past pleasures as well as uncovering new delights.
Berwick has evocative and historic streets to wander, with cute and enticing independent shops as well as the usual suspects. There are also watering holes a-plenty to delight and surprise you.
This post offers a potted lowdown on a some venues where you can chew some fat (literally and figuratively) and sup a beverage or two between Festival sessions. I’ve tried to provide links to websites/Facebook pages where possible – obviously things can change quite quickly in the hospitality trade so do check for updates and opening hours. My next post will highlight some short but enjoyable walks to enjoy as you make your way from venue to venue.
- The Corner House on Church Street which is a super haven and delightful bohemian retreat. It’s home of an open fire and bookshelves to browse, purveyor of fine local coffee (Northern Edge), cakes (fully-leaded and gluten free) and light lunches with vegan and vegetarian options.
- Fantoosh on Marygate serves light lunches and lush cakes (it’s my local, I often grab ‘cakeouts’ to serve guests!), and offers dainty trinkets and gifts.
- Just over the old bridge in Tweedmouth, you’ll find Riverside Café – good scones and excellent breakfasts – but beware it gets busy so it may be wise to book.
- Mielle Patisserie is an artisan French-style café on West Street serving excellent cakes and tarts and light lunches.
- The Lookout on Berwick Quayside has been open a year now. The quiches and soups smelt lovely when I stopped by and a customer told me the coffee was ‘delicious’. It is a bijoux outlet with tables and chairs by the river and great views.
- On the opposite corner of Berwick Quayside, you’ll find Lowry’s a popular café serving light lunches and with outside riverside seating.
- Not a café or a substantial eaterie, but if you continue along Dock Road towards Spittal Point from Riverside Café (above), you’ll come to Berwick Shellfish – it would be hard to resist one of their crab/lobster snack platters, particularly on a fine day when you could sit and enjoy the view back across the Tweed to Berwick.
- Enjoy the view from The Maltings Kitchen over a scone and a cuppa or a fresh-cooked lunch and glass or two of wine – in The Maltings arts centre, Eastern Lane. Open for early evening meals on Thursdays and Fridays.
- Foxtons on Hide Hill is a café-cum-wine bar which also offers lunch and evening meals using local produce – it has a loyal local following and can get busy.
- Pier Red on Castlegate is a cake-serving café and gallery by day and a relaxed and elegant wine bar on Friday (cocktails from 5.30!) and Saturday nights. Cheese and meat picking platters are also available.
- The YHA Granary Bistro in Dewar’s Lane offers a full range of drinks and family friendly meals in a relaxed atmosphere at excellent prices. You can get up to the lovely Granary Art Gallery from here for a quick look.
- The Mule on Rouge a new addition to the Bridge Street scene, The Mule has become a firm favourite. It boast the best and most authentic (possibly the only!) bagels in Berwick and offers great light lunches including vegan options – and holds regular pop-up supper clubs.
- Upper West Street on West Street straddles this category and the one below. It’s a café/bistro serving a tasty range of lunches and evening meals.
- Deyn’s Deli on the corner of Marygate/Golden Square is a split-level café that service sandwiches and light lunches.
- Food collective Northern Soul on West Street also deserves a mention. Here they use unsold food from supermarkets to cook healthy affordable meals on a pay-as-you-feel basis – their strapline is: Feed bellies not bins.
More substantial eateries
- Gasparro’s on Bridge Street is the go-to for Italian staples.
- Limoncello originally opened within the refurbed King’s Arms on Hide Hill. It now occupies a prime site on the corner of Hide Hill/Silver Street and boasts an open air patio for you sip your drinks al fresco on globally-warmed summer evenings (the bar ‘As good as it gets’ is as close to urban cool as you’ll get in Berwick!). Limoncello has built its popularity on big portions of pretty basic food and a friendly vibe. Service can feel rather stretched at times.
- Audela on Bridge Street is a tad more expensive than some Berwick eateries but the prices are matched by quality food. Lunches and evening meals – fabulous local fresh produce cooked imaginatively and beautifully.
- The Queens Head Hotel – lunches and evening meals which often make inventive use of lovely local produce. Venison is usually a good choice. Again at the top end of the price range.
- If curry’s your thing, Amran’s on Hide Hill is the place to go IMHO. It offers a great range of fine-tasting Indian food to suit the frailest and the most asbestos palates!
- I should also mention Magna Tandoori on Bridge Street which I know has many fans too.
- On West Street is Grill on Hill which serves good-value steak and seafood.
- In the last couple of weeks we have a new addition on Golden Square heading towards the road bridge by the bus stop: Lock, Stock ‘n’ Burgers which by all accounts serves great burgers and pizzas.
- I’ve already mentioned Pier Red and Foxtons – both popular and pleasing drinking haunts.
- The Curfew, tucked down an alley off Bridge Street, is Berwick’s super-popular micropub, serving fab craft beers – including those from excellent local brewery Bear Claw, local game and pork pies, scotch eggs and it’s the only place in Berwick to serve gouda and Dijon mustard – the ideal snack with beer. It has an outdoor patio.
- Bridge Street is rapidly becoming a go-to eating and drinking quarter in Berwick and now Atelier has joined the throng. A fab selection of beers and wines, it also serves delicious platters of local cured meats and local cheeses as well as pots of moules. It has a friendly, fun vibe – it can get noisy in the evenings.
- The Barrels Ale House on Bridge Street is Berwick’s long-serving real-ale pub and live music venue. It’s a firm favourite with locals and visitors.
- It’s been pointed out to me by a reader that I have neglected to mention three pubs at the northern end of town: on Castlegate you’ll find The Free Trade. The exterior was restored to its original beauty a few years back. Inside it’s a classic ‘brown pub’ with real ale and friendly locals – although the opening hours are rather unpredictable, so do check. Also on Castlegate, on the corner by the station is The Castle Hotel where artist LS Lowry stayed during his trips to Berwick. It has a popular bar and a good value restaurant – large portions, low prices. Heading to the east off Castlegate along Low Greens you’ll find the Pilot Inn, another classic pub which serves draught beers and has a truly local community feel.
This brief meander through the eateries and drinkeries of Berwick is by no means exhaustive. I’ve enjoyed a substantial number of the places listed, others have been recommended by friends. However, just as my shelves are full of books that I have yet to open, the streets of Berwick are teeming with venues that I have yet to sample. If I’ve missed any of your favourites – or if, when you visit Berwick, you find your own hotspot – please do leave a comment below so that we can be sure to check it out!
For those of you who like to keep your step quota up, there are lots of lovely walks in and around the town. Tune into my Wandering in Berwick post to get some ideas.