Arch Sixteen Café

The Arch Sixteen Logo in the window of Arch Sixteen Cafe: Fine Food & DrinkArch Sixteen Café is the latest addition to the Newcastle coffee scene. Okay, I’ll stop myself right there, because, of course, Arch Sixteen is in Gateshead, a few short steps away from the Gateshead end of the High Level Bridge across the Tyne. If there’s one thing that Tyneside has in abundance, it’s great bridges. If you’re visiting Newcastle you could do a lot worse than head across one of them and give Arch Sixteen (which is also within easy striking distance of the Tyne Bridge and, via a steep hill, the Swing Bridge) a try. Of course, if you live in Gateshead, the good news is that you don’t have to go all the way to Newcastle to get great coffee.

Opened in May 2013 by the lovely Pam, Arch Sixteen serves its own house blend roasted by local coffee legends, Pumphrey’s. There are also some excellent-looking cakes and a short but interesting-looking food menu. However, where Arch Sixteen really comes up trumps is in its lovely, spacious interior, which, coupled with Pam’s genuine, warm welcome, makes it a wonderful place either to pop in for a quick espresso or to stay for the whole day.

June 2016: Arch Sixteen now uses local roasters, Colour Coffee Company, the roasting off-shoot of Pink Lane Coffee.

You can read more of my thoughts after the gallery.

  • Arch Sixteen, first stop on the Gateshead side of the High Level Bridge.
  • As seen when approaching from Newcastle.
  • And as seen when approaching from Gateshead.
  • You know, I think I might do that...
  • What number was it again?
  • One of the two lovely sofa benches in the windows.
  • And the other one, where I parked myself.
  • The counter, as seen from the door.
  • Arch Sixteen, as seen from the back of the cafe.
  • You can find this lovely table right at the back.
  • There are also smaller tables for two.
  • The counter, and my seat. It's simple, but effective.
  • The cakes look lovely, although Pam was struggling to convince people to try the Beetroot and Chocolate one!
  • Getting arty with the scones.
  • Just getting arty.
  • A delightfully short drinks menu,
  • Arch Sixteen has its own houseblend from Pumphrey's.
  • My espresso arrived in a Pumphrey's cup with a glass of water (without having to ask)
  • It was good enough (and short enough) to be worth a picture on its own.
Arch Sixteen, first stop on the Gateshead side of the High Level Bridge.1 As seen when approaching from Newcastle.2 And as seen when approaching from Gateshead.3 You know, I think I might do that...4 What number was it again?5 One of the two lovely sofa benches in the windows.6 And the other one, where I parked myself.7 The counter, as seen from the door.8 Arch Sixteen, as seen from the back of the cafe.9 You can find this lovely table right at the back.10 There are also smaller tables for two.11 The counter, and my seat. It's simple, but effective.12 The cakes look lovely, although Pam was struggling to convince people to try the Beetroot and Chocolate one!13 Getting arty with the scones.14 Just getting arty.15 A delightfully short drinks menu,16 Arch Sixteen has its own houseblend from Pumphrey's.17 My espresso arrived in a Pumphrey's cup with a glass of water (without having to ask)18 It was good enough (and short enough) to be worth a picture on its own.19
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I tried to visit Arch Sixteen when I first visited Newcastle back in April. However, at that point Pam had only just taken it over and it was closed for renovation. When I heard that it had re-opened, I made a point of popping over to Gateshead on my next trip to Newcastle.

Arch Sixteen continues a great tradition of Coffee Spots under railway arches (in this case, the line to South Shields and Sunderland), following the likes of Hart’s Bakery in Bristol and London’s The Fields Beneath. I enjoyed sitting there with the occasional rumble of trains overhead. Sadly I didn’t have long to linger, which is a shame, since I was absolutely taken with it from the moment I first set eyes on it from the street. Sometimes a place just beckons you in and so it was with Arch Sixteen.

The café takes up a compete arch and, from the outside, seems all glass and grey paint, an unpromising combination which actually works remarkably well. Two huge windows sit either side of the recessed door, with a further arched window above. Inside, the walls and arched ceiling have a white, corrugated covering which, coupled with the generous windows, make for a very bright and airy interior. Arch Sixteen is very spacious, with sofa-benches in bay windows either side of the door and tables down the right-hand side. Pam has resisted the temptation to pack too much in, which only adds to the sense of space.  Opposite the tables is the counter, done out in red and grey, simple, but very effective. In case it’s a dark day outside, there are strip lights hanging from the ceiling and lamps with red lampshades on the tables.

It’s a shame I couldn’t stay longer, but I was on a mission, with scheduled visits to Ouseburn Coffee Co, Pumphrey’s Brewing Emporium, Flat Caps Coffee and Pink Lane Coffee, plus a cheeky side trip to 9Bar to see its shiny new Kees van der Westen espresso machine. I was quite taken by the lunch menu. There wasn’t a huge selection, but everything looked good! The same can be said for the drinks menu: latte, cappuccino, Americano, mocha and espresso. I’d have liked to sample more of it and try the cakes too, which looked lovely.

Instead I had to settle for an espresso, which was distinctly old-school (a good thing in my book). My espresso was delightfully short, more a ristretto than an espresso for those who care about such things. Not that I’m about to complain; short is good. It came in a classic, white tulip cup, which also pleased me immensely, as did the glass of water which arrived with my coffee without me having to ask for it. It was quite a dark roast and the result was a slightly bitter espresso, but not in a bad way. In fact, after several weeks of third-wave espresso shots, it was nice to get back something old-fashioned!

Pam has lots of plans for Arch Sixteen. She has performance and film licences and had just had her first open-mic night. Film evenings are to follow shortly. She’s also looking at getting a local roaster in as a guest, but since she’s not actually spoken to them yet, I won’t say who!

HIGH LEVEL PARADE • WELLINGTON STREET • GATESHEAD • NE8 2AB
www.archsixteen.co.uk +44 (0) 191 490 0208
Monday CLOSED Roaster Colour Coffee (espresso only)
Tuesday 08:00 – 18:00 Seating Tables, Sofas, Table Outside
Wednesday 08:00 – 18:00 Food Lunch, Cake
Thursday 08:00 – 18:00 Service Order at Counter
Friday 08:00 – 18:00 Cards Cash only
Saturday 08:00 – 18:00 Wifi Free (with code)
Sunday CLOSED Power Yes
Chain No Visits 31st October 2013

If you enjoyed this Coffee Spot, check out the rest of Newcastle and Gateshead’s speciality coffee scene with the Coffee Spot Guide to Newcastle & Gateshead.


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