Historically, Ponteland and nearby Darras Hall has long been a centre for Christian worship in Northumberland; more recently it is associated with the residences of Newcastle and Tyne-and-Wear footballers and businessmen. For all and sundry, Ponteland town centre is a place of pilgrimage if you’re looking for a solid British pub, with the principal holy site being The Blackbird Inn up on North Road. Occupying the former site of Ponteland Castle, destroyed in 1388, this handsome stone tavern still houses remnants of an ancient tower and a roaring Tudor fireplace alongside – more to the point – real ales, a giddy selection of gins, and gastropub-quality European and British cuisine. And your canine companions are welconme too in the bar area – if the bar is unavailable contact the Inn directly and they’ll do their best to accommodate your beloved pup.
See below for important booking information.
Please note, The Blackbird Inn’s upstairs Minstrel Gallery is generally open on Friday and Saturday evenings and Sunday lunchtime, and is often reserved for private functions. If you’d like to dine in this exclusive area outside of these times, please contact the restaurant to check availability. You’re unlikely to find a better-looking country pub in Northumberland. The Blackbird Inn occupies baronial premises in the heart of Ponteland, a parish centre just fifteen to twenty minutes drive from Newcastle city centre that’s packed with history. The downstairs bar is laden with real ales, wines ranging from good to better and best, and one of the UK’s best selections of that most British of spirits, gin. Select a small craft gin culled from boutique domestic and global distilleries, a tonic and garnish for the ultimate custom G&T, or let the bartenders work their magic. True to their North East England locality, why not try a Geordie G&T – Jack Cains gin with Fentimans tonic water? There are usually 54 gins for your tippling pleasure.
As for food, let it be said that The Blackbird Inn’s North Road location is as much a restaurant as it is a bar or pub, with a seasonal menu that pushes the envelope when it comes to traditional pub classics, injecting five-star flair into proceedings whether you book for lunch or dinner. Fennel, quinoa, pomegranate and heritage potato salad makes a classic contemporary (and vegetarian-friendly), while the house Blackbird Inn burger and premium steaks will satiate big, carnivorous appetites. The roast hake or sea bream both have an Asian twist, the pan-fried duck breast looks to European cuisine, and the pork belly matched with crispy black pudding makes for a Newcastle and Northumberland favourite. Whether for casual dining, the famous Sunday lunch, or to book out the magisterial upstairs Minstrel Room for a private event, bookings are absolutely essential.
Very nice Sunday lunch, with generous portions and a nice selection of ales to accompany. Sat in the restaurant area - very cosy and nice ambiance.
Excellent meal in a lovely historic building - a perfect setting for a family gathering to remember what would have been our mothers 100th birthday. The food was tasty, plentiful and well presented.
Lovely meal, table was ready when we got there, no rush to get us out, meal was very tasty and service was superb as usual, will definitely go again
Wonderful service, food fantastic as always! Festive decor really suited the lovely old building
A very disappointing start to the evening when we were brusquely ushered downstairs despite being booked upstairs! Downstairs is too crowded and the tables so close together I could not physically get both legs under the table. A much more caring waitress spotted our plight and offered us a table upstairs. This is a proper dining room and a delightful space which was not being used, however there was a lovely log fire burning and we were given a table in front of it. Excellent. The waitresses and service were fantastic as was the food. What a wasted room this is, they cram people in downstairs probaby unlikely to return (for that reason) when they could have a superb dining experience upstairs. I really can't understand the management's reasoning! Full marks to the waitress who saved our evening, turning it from a potential disaster to a thoroughly enjoyable occasion. Not so many marks though to the gentleman who showed us to our table when we arrived.
It was the first time we have visited the Blackbird since its refurbishment. I remember it from previous years as an olde world type pub with small linking rooms. The refurbishment has opened up the inside. While loosing some of its old world charm it is more fit for purpose now as a gastro pub. We had a Sunday lunch menu, which was all that was offered on a Sunday. It was a very limited choice for mains but all that was ordered was good. A good choice of vegetables was provided making the main choice quite substantial. There was a better choice for starters and desserts. All six of us thoroughly enjoyed our meal, my favourite being the homemade panettone pudding which was yummy. The waiting staff work very hard and were friendly making the whole experience an enjoyable trip out. Will definitely be back, very impressed. Look forward to trying the everyday menus. Thanks.
first visit and we really enjoyed our meal. the staff were very friendly, and the food was lovely. I had fillet steak it was cooked perfectly to my liking, wife had chicken, and she loved it. were never hurried between courses and the sweet was worth waiting for. will definitely be back. only one minor criticism if any, with not having been before and not knowing were restaurant was, we entered through a packed bar and had to push through one way then back again. but don't let that put you off.
We had a lovely meal and the chef was willing to meet specific requirements on an item, which was a big help. However, the mish-mash of chairs in The Tunnel room caused problems with us and other guests. I was not at all comfortable and another table kept moving round to find one the correct height for the table! To us it looked as if you had just gone to a sale room and bought a job lot of non-matching chairs. We were served by a lovely young girl, who was charming and helpful. On the whole, an enjoyable evening to celebrate our anniversary.
Could not fault service or surroundings.Very welcoming . However the food ( I ordered a beefburger ) was very poor quality and did not justify the price charged. I have had beter beefburgers in Macdonalds for a fraction of the price.The beefburger was hard seemed to be overcooked , bacon also hard and tasteless . Slices of what appeared to be tomato added direct from the freezer was served togethger with a stale lightly toasted bread bun .The only redeeming feature was the battered onion rings which had obviously been freshly cooked unlike the rest of the meal which appeared to have been taken direct from the freezer from the freezer and not very sucessfully defrosted . It did appear that the whole meal was hastily put together with
On arrival we were shown to a bar room table that was such a height as to require bar stools to sit and eat Sunday lunch which was totally unacceptable, we were then shown to a small table which was barely large enough to sit four people never mind the five that we had booked for, food orders were taken and the staff later informed us that there was a 40 minute delay to service. The table was too small to accommodate the drinks and the food so some drinks were needing to be placed on a ledge behind the bench seat, once the accompanying vegetables arrived it was difficult to accommodate these dishes too and the whole experience felt cramped. The waitress managed to pour the gravy from one of the plates she was serving into the lap of the guest she was standing beside. Not the best experience of dining and we will certainly be trying other establishments before trying this one again.