Smoked meats and craft beers on Bottles’ menu

Ye Olde Cross/The Dirty Bottles pub in Alnwick
Ye Olde Cross/The Dirty Bottles pub in Alnwick

A historic pub which has been closed for a major redevelopment is to open soon, complete with a Heston Blumenthal-esk cocktail menu, craft beers and an American-style barbecued menu.

Entrepreneur Mark Jones is behind the ambitious plan to transform Alnwick’s Grade-II listed Ye Olde Cross, which is known locally at The Dirty Bottles.

Mr Jones, who also owns the town’s I Won’t Tell nightclub, is confident that his innovative concept will prove a hit with customers and add something to Alnwick’s social offering.

He is hoping to open the Narrowgate venue, renamed The Dirty Bottles Taproom and Smokehouse, in time for the May Bank Holiday, but admits this date could be slightly ambitious.

He said: “If we don’t hit the Bank Holiday, then we will open shortly after.

“We want to do this properly and want it to be perfect.

“We are going to bring a concept that will feel a lot like venues in Newcastle, Leeds and Manchester. The smokehouse concept is very popular, putting big lumps of meat on an imported American smoker and letting it cook and smoke for 13/14 hours.

“We will be using local breweries and sourcing craft beers from across the world and we want to lift the bar when it comes to the cocktail menu. We have brought in an excellent mixologist and our cocktail menu will be innovative – like the Heston Blumenthal of cocktails.”

Award-winning bar designer Simon McIlwraith of Collective Design has restyled the place. Mr Jones said: “We wanted to be faithful to the tradition of the building and bring out its history, so we have exposed the old brick and stone, but we have mixed this with a fresh and cool feel.”