One of the oldest buildings in Newcastle is welcoming its 1000th event to celebrate five years since it was restored to its former glory.
Blackfriars’ Banquet Hall, which is attached to Blackfriars Restaurant in the city centre, was brought back to life in 2010 following a meticulous restoration project, and today hosts a range of events including authentic medieval banquets, wedding receptions and ceremonies, corporate events, christenings and parties.
The venue’s 1000th event is a special medieval banquet to mark the longest day of the year on Friday 25 September to mark the Autumn Equinox and will see local friars and town wenches serve a four course feast for guests.
The 50-seat Banquet Hall dates back to 1239 when it was built to entertain guests and nobles visiting Newcastle, and was also the celebrated venue used by King Edward III to receive royal Scot, Edward Balliol, in 1334. It was left unused for many years until owner Andy Hook re-opened the venue for the people of the city.
During its restoration, the Banquet Hall was transformed with authentic and bespoke banners, chandeliers, wall coverings, stained glass windows, reclaimed wooden screens, large oak dining tables and matching chairs, all created by local craftsmen.
Modern additions such as a bar, kitchen, lighting, under-floor heating and toilets were also installed, to make the hall comfortable for 21st century guests whilst retaining the beauty and character of a medieval banqueting setting.
Owner Andy Hook regularly works with Durham University’s Institute of Medieval and Early Modern Studies (IMES) to host medieval lectures at the venue for students and those with a keen interest in medieval history.
Blackfriars offers a Banquet Hall menu which includes a complimentary glass of fizz on arrival, three courses and coffee for £25 per person, for parties of 12 or more. A wedding menu, private dining menu, and buffet and canapé options are also available – as well as three-course medieval meals or five-course medieval banquets, which are popular choices for birthday parties, corporate events and anniversaries.
Andy Hook said: “Since we began promoting the rich tapestry of the Banquet Hall’s heritage five years ago, we’ve been delighted to see that so many guests are embracing this slice of fascinating history on their doorstep.
“Prior to the renovation, the Banquet Hall was a hidden gem located in the heart of the city, so it’s wonderful to see how popular it has become for such a wide range of events – from family feasts to corporate away-days and weddings.
“We are uniquely placed to offer a tranquil, beautiful venue which is very easily accessible – not in a remote rural location – and we look forward to showcasing the Banquet Hall to many more visitors in the next five years.”
Blackfriars Restaurant received the Taste of England accolade in the North East England Tourism Awards and was voted Best North East Restaurant in the Licensed Trade Awards 2014.
Blackfriars Restaurant & Banquet Hall, Friars Street, Newcastle, NE1 4XN, (0191) 261 5945.