My social life has taken a bit of a dip in recent weeks. Turning down invites in favour of spending evenings building flat pack furniture has become a necessity as we continue our quest to turn our house into a home.
If there was one event to make me peep my head out of the "new house bubble" it was always going to be the opening of the brand new Crowne Plaza and when an invitation to check out the hotel's Gin Bar popped into my inbox I was more than ready to put on my glad rags and head to the Stephenson Quarter.
You may remember a little while ago I stuck on a hard hat and had a nosy round the Crowne Plaza. At that point the hotel was still very much a building site and it was hard to imagine what it might be like when it finally opened its doors.
Well I'm very pleased to say that the Crowne Plaza is now open for business and it looks absolutely stunning. It is the most exciting thing to happen in Newcastle this year and I'm confident it's going to put the North East on the business map.
The Crowne Plaza is much more than somewhere to rest your head for the night, it also offers residents and locals a new place to eat and drink and is quite different to anything else in the city.
As soon as I stepped foot inside, the Gin Bar was somewhere I could imagine myself spending quite a bit of time. It's effortlessly cool but still feels comfortable and I loved the décor so much I spent quite a bit of time working out if I could manage to swipe a copper table or blue chair out the door to have in our living room.
I love that the Crowne Plaza is passionate about its new home in the North East and the Gin Bar not only has Wylam Brewery Beer and Ouseburn Coffee, its interior is inspired by Newcastle's industrial heritage and its position near to the historic Stephenson Works.
The Gin Bar is keen to become the place in Newcastle to go for a martini and has 27,000 varieties to choose from allowing you to create your perfect drink. I tried a Classic Gin Bar Martini which I must confess I was nervous about as we were warned Martinis are pretty strong and I've never actually tried one.
I was pleasantly surprised by my Martini, although strong it was delicious and I can see myself ordering one again as a nice slow drink to enjoy in the bar.
If Martinis aren't your thing the Gin Bar also serves a variety of gin based cocktails. We tried the Sloe Royale, Sloe Gin and Cucumber Sour and a Spiced Mai Tai.
It's pretty hard to pick out a favourite as I really enjoyed them all but if you twisted my arm for a recommendation I'd say order the Spiced Mai Tai - it was pretty special!
Of course, it's not a good idea to drink all those cocktails without some food and we tried out some of the "small plates" from the bar menu. Chicken Wings (served with blue cheese dip), King Prawns (with a curry and gherkin mayo) and the Salt and Pepper Squid went down a treat. I didn't manage to get my hands on any of the Hot Butchers Sausage which I'm still really sulking about, but at least it gives me a very good excuse to go back.
The Gin Bar is a welcome addition to Newcastle's fine collection of bars and I'm very happy we now have somewhere so fantastic that's close to the train station and the Metro Arena.
If you've enjoyed this post please consider voting for New Girl in Toon in the "Best Travel Blog" Category of the North East Blogger Awards - you can find all the details here.