THE TOWER, STEPNEY ROAD, NE2 1TZ | MONDAY – SATURDAY | 11AM – 3PM AND 5PM – 9PM | LATE LICENCE VARIES
Wander from The Cluny towards Ernest, up Stepney Bank, and you’ll pass the cosy call of The Tower Café, inviting you in for pizzas, paninis and drinks. Drinks that you once again can bring yourself, keeping costs down and the vibe relaxed. The Tower Café is another groovy little place to eat, drink and party in the Ouseburn that is mind-blowingly cheap and run by a pair of absolute chillers.Pizzeria, art gallery, and café all in one, The Tower Café can be found in the Ouseburn Tower on Stepney Road. The Tower, with its iconic graffiti signage, is also home to The Tower Art Gallery and a number of rentable studio spaces. The Tower Art Gallery specialises in the kind of art you’d expect from the trendy café that sits below it – graffiti, contemporary art, prints and canvas originals. It often hosts exhibitions of underground artists, and The Tower Café itself has a late licence which allows the pizzeria to transition into a club space as it holds parties from the likes of World Headquarters regulars such as Backdrop, Dig Deep, and other stalwart members of Newcastle’s nightlife scene. There’s also an eclectic mix of talks, music gigs, and other multimedia events held there ad hoc. They promote healthy, home-cooked food, creativity in all its forms, and generally positive vibes. When we walk in, there’s a dog sitting next to its owner at the bar, which is always a good sign.
Inside, The Tower Café has a quirky and colourful interior. The walls are painted a vibrant mix of colours, and are adorned with posters, records and other memorabilia. Tables and chairs are dotted around the edge, with a squishy pair of Chesterfield sofas begging you to ooze into them. At the bar, swing-back doors give way to the small kitchen where Sophie and Stefano, the Sardinian couple, prepare the simple but delicious food on offer. The two are friendly and relaxed, treating customers sitting up at the bar like old friends.
Ranging in price from £4 to £7, the pizzas at The Tower Café are an absolute bargain and should make anyone ashamed to go to Pizza Express again when this place is only 20 mins down the road. We went for a ‘Bkyer Bank’ – brie, goats cheese, blue cheese and rocket – and a ‘Cachonda’ – jalapenos, chilli, salami and red onion. They were a generous size and loaded with toppings — delicious. The ‘Byker Bank’ particularly stole the show with its cheesy goodness. They also offer gluten free bases if that’s the way you swing, and have substantial breakfast, salad and panini menus that stick to the same amazingly low prices. With their BYOB policy and honest pricing, The Tower Café is probably a cheaper meal than ingredients bought from Jesmond’s extortionate Waitrose or Tesco. Hint Hint. It’s tasty, funky, and has a wonderfully bohemian, artsy atmosphere.
What are you waiting for?