REVIEW: Popolo, Pilgrim Street, Newcastle

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Sweet, sour, sticky and sparkling, cocktails are the mainstay of Popolo’s pulling power, as it boasts what must be one of the most comprehensive cocktail menus in the city.

With more than 50 variations to choose from, the slick little bar is a favourite for those who appreciate something a little more adventurous than a pint of cider and black.

Once you’ve settled into Popolo’s red leather seats, picking your favourite and waiting for it to be created is the hard part.

Served with plenty of style and flare, they might take a little longer to whip up than your everyday spirit and mixer, but the end result is well worth it.

Whisky is my thing, so I went for a classic, Old Fashioned – a heady combination of whisky, sugar, bitters and water.

Perfectly made, it packed a kick which wasn’t marred by an avalanche of ice.

My drinking buddy favours the darker flavours of rum, so chose the moody-sounding Bermuda Storm – a simple, but deadly mix of rum and ginger beer.

A combination of New York bar and Italian coffee house, the bar in Pilgrim Street recently celebrated its 10th birthday and it’s easy to see why it’s a firm favourite with drinkers who want to dodge the hectic Diamond Strip.

As well as combinations of alcohol, Popolo also serves up a mix of home-cooked Italian food and has recently extended its menu in a bid to restore the booze/food balance.

There’s a separate area at the back of the bar for diners, where you can explore a more extensive menu of pizza, pasta and steaks.

Appetites whetted with a round of expertly-whipped up cocktails, we satisfied our stomachs with a selection of Popolo’s plates to share.

Soft pitta bread were used to mop up a selection of dips while we nibbled at a plate of outstanding fritto miso – mixed seafood encased in a delicious crunchy batter.

One round of cocktails was never going to be enough, so we swapped back to the drinks menu for the classic bittersweet taste of a martini.

This immaculate flaring and laidback cool comes at a price, with each round of cocktails costing about £13.

However, if we’d taken to supping a little earlier, happy hour is 5pm-7pm every night, with cocktails just £3.95.

Jane O’Neill