“Pukka” drinks, stories at The Social

00:00 November 22, 2013
By: 2Fik
Dorian's Grey [Courtesy of Anne Berry]

The stories were English-accented, set in a port city on the northern coast: about a little boy jostling with coal miners, dock workers and ship builders at the local pub; the child peeking into the "snug" cubby where women drank alone, then hauling home bottled beers for his aunts and uncles.

I learned about life in Newcastle, U.K. at Gravier Street Social, a private club in the boutique Loft 523 hotel (off the lobby, where Le Phare used to be).

The Social, as it's called, opens today with an English-themed lounge (music, decor, art) - and a bar that weaves in British traditions and tastes (and slang - "pukka" means "very good").

The cocktail list, written by Amy Bissell (also The Social's bar and events manager) showcases British beers, ciders and spirits like Jensen's dry gin, and tea is threaded through several drinks: in the fragrant, easy Jasmine Gin Fizz; citrus-spiced Trade Winds; and lively, lush Dorian's Grey, pairing tea-infused vodka, honey and ginger beer.

Another specialty cocktail is Tall, Dark and British, an alluring match of vanilla vodka and Newcastle's Dandelion & Burdock, a type of root beer with notes of candied anise, to which Amy adds salt for sharpness. Together with Benedictine, it's a long drink of beautiful depth.

From the list of traditional British drinks, be sure to try the Pimm's Social, given a gentle sour twist with cardoon-infused Cardamaro.

Memberships at The Social run from $175 to $275 a year, and include near 24/7 access to the lounge, and to private arts and entertainment events. And hopefully, more stories from across the pond.

The Social, 523 Gravier Street. Cash bar, with pop-up food catering.

Need to find art for a commercial or residential space? Are you an artist needing representation? Check out Bissell Atelier.

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