COCKTAIL lovers can get a side order of art with their favourite drinks at a Newcastle bar, thanks to the talents of a North East artist.

Former graphic designer Lucy Blake turned her talents to painting bottles and jars a few years ago, after deciding to paint a picture for a gin-loving friend for her birthday.

And now the Gosforth-based artist has been commissioned to paint products for everyone from preserves giant Tiptree to tea for Teapigs, along with city centre bar, the Union Rooms.

The bar, at Westgate Road, asked Lucy to illustrate its cocktail menu, bringing its fabulous drinks to life in a unique way.

“I was absolutely delighted to be asked,” said Lucy.

“The commissions have grown just out of me deciding not to buy a bottle of gin for my friend but to paint one for her instead and that just led to me being offered a whole host of work.

“It’s been great fun doing the cocktail menu for the Union Rooms and I hope their customers will enjoy looking at the illustrations while they’re having their drinks.”

Stuart Young, MD of Cyclone Leisure, which owns the Union Rooms, said the watercolours have been a huge talking point.

“Lucy has done a fantastic job and they really look amazing,” he said. “It’s the perfect way to complement our unique cocktails – with some unique art.”

Along with illustrations, Lucy takes commissions for pet portraits and a whole host of other work. She can be contacted at www.lucyblake.co.uk

The Union Rooms has a range of bars along with a kitchen serving a variety of food and a pizzeria which makes fresh pizzas.

The building has a variety of rooms which can also be hired for private events.

For further information visit www.unionrooms.co.uk.