If you’ve visited Newcastle recently you’ll be hard pushed not to notice The Botanist, the latest addition to the old Monument Mall space opposite grey’s Monument and a subtle presence in the skyline as you head up Grey Street towards the heart of the City Centre. The glass dome houses The Botanist bar and when evening falls it’s swathed in warm light highlighting its existence. Not so subtle however, is the presence of The Botanist on social media. So amped was the buzz about this trendy drinking hotspot that it’s clocked up over 30,000 FaceBook check-ins since its original launch in November 2014. Fast forward to April 2015 and The Botanist is gearing up to add a new string to its bow in the form of a Roof Garden.
The success of roof terrace bars and roof garden bars is evident in London, with Time Out magazine regularly listing them amongst the best places to spot and be spotted, however there’s not a great deal of choice outside of London. Step forward The Botanist; with prime real estate at the top of Grey Street, Newcastle and amazing views across the City, the success of this venture was sealed before it was even launched. With an uber cool vibe and a clientele to match, the addition of a roof garden elevates the status of The Botanist.
The Press Launch was held April 8th and I was invited with the North Easts premier glossy; La Di Da Magazine. Intriguingly the invite stated “6.30pm Prompt” so visions of a communal gathering to watch the sunset down Grey Street flooded my mind. With anticipation, I threw on my best Pocahontas look and hot-footed it through Town Carrie Bradshaw style. At 6.40pm, precisely ten minutes late, I expected to burst through the door into a passionate talk about the origins of the roof garden idea and have to profusely apologise for my lateness, however the reality of the situation was somewhat different, more “Advance Preview Of A Night Out” than “Official Launch Night” I was handed a cocktail and left to my own devices.
Tucked away at the top of (a lot) of stairs, the roof garden is exactly what you would expect from The Botanist. Lots of bare wood, trees decked out in warm light and modern vintage (mintage?) style lighting. despite being largely open and obviously roofless, the space is warm and this is largely thanks to high level infra-red heat lamps. The soft warm glow from these transforms the ambience as dusk falls and suddenly an open space becomes one full of hidden places and intimate zones. A large wooden cabana at the furthest end is perfect for large groups, and as I discovered, a prime people watching spot, it is however, freezing cold as it’s one of the only unheated areas and my posse and I spent the evening with jackets huddled around our shoulders. Throughout the terrace there are semi-private wooden booths on either side, coupled with the open seated areas The Botanist has you covered. Well as covered as you can be when it’s open and you’re up on a city rooftop.
The Botanist roof garden is undoubtedly where the cool kids will be hanging out this Summer and beyond and if you’re reading this from up there then congratulations, you can officially consider yourself part of that set. I’ve no doubt that this place will be the talk of the town over Summer and even with the speight of new bars opening in Newcastle every month, this one still stands out as something unique and cool.
Only one question remains though; why 6.30pm prompt??