James Pl St,
Newcastle upon Tyne
Previous Names: NA
Area: Byker
Pub Number: 113


  • Opened 1860(ish) – converted from residential dwellings
  • The current building dates from 1898 after a partial collapse during building work in the same year which resulted in the death of a builder Matthew Fitzgerald
  • The only building on this street to survive the slum clearances
  • The upstairs venue has fittings from the Haymarket Hotel
  • My mate Moira used to play darts here in the 1970’s

‘Proper’ and ‘Traditional’ are terms bandied around to describe this legendary Byker boozer.

The large three-story building greets you when you clamber up the heart-attack-inducing steps. On the outside, there is an assortment of tables and chairs. If you head in through the main entrance, to the left is the main bar. As soon as you enter, a small bar on the right has an impressive array of very well-kept ales. Seating is around the walls, and a fireplace dominates the room. Go right, it’s more of a lounge, with a fire on the left as you walk in and seating scattered about the walls. Next to the fire, there is a small hatch where you can grab a beer and a doorway that leads to the toilets and the upstairs function room.

Is the Cumberland a good bar?


Do I like The Cumberland?

That’s a good question. I have many fond memories of sitting here on stormy nights when the bar was empty. However, I think it has lost some of its charm. This, I feel, coincided with the extension of the bar and the opening of the ’boutique holiday apartments above it.’ And while I still enjoy a great pint and good chat when I’m in, I just lament the ‘good old days’.