Combining newcomers and more established names – and with apologies to any absent friends – here are just 10 worthy of a visit throughout the region.
1. Blue's, Whitburn
Customers queued into the village's North Guard when the micropub opened in February 2020. Offering a range of independent beers, joint landlord Callum Watson says: “The craft ale market has become massive over the last couple of years."
Photo: Stu Norton
2. The Coalhouse, Seaham
You can bet on a cracking atmosphere at the former William Hill bookies in Church Street, Seaham, which became the town's first micro pub in 2018. Just don't expect any fruit machines, televisions or landlord John McMahon, above, serving any John Smith's Smooth.
Photo: Kevin Brady
3. Crown Posada, Newcastle
Gem of a Quayside pub is said to be the city's second oldest boozer and allegedly bought by a Spanish sea captain for his mistress. By our reckoning she must have been small and beautiful.
4. Fram Ferment, Durham City
The former health clinic opened in late 2019 as a tap room and bottle shop and can cater for around 25 people. The Framwellgate Moor premises are a sister pub to The Station House, near the city's railway station.
Photo: Other 3rd Party