So I feel like since I’ve been hanging out with my gorgeous new gal pals I’ve been out loads. Don’t get me wrong, I still used to go out but not for nearly as interesting places as I’ve been going recently!
One of these new places I’ve been to is Hope & Union in Stockton and is somewhere I’ve been eyeing up for quite a while ever since I found them on Instagram. They hold gin nights which is how I originally came to follow them and they also have live music. Once I showed my partner that they did yorkshire pudding wraps we vowed that one Sunday, we would go.
This has not happened.
Fast forward a few weeks/months and my friend Charlotte was planning a gig in another local establishment, a cocktail bar called The Nuthatch and me and Adam decided to meet up with the rest of the “squad” and our significant others. My mum kindly offered to have Eleanor for the night and as she came quite early we thought we would make the most of if and grab a bite to eat out before the gig. Knowing that the Hope & Union was nearby we finally had an excuse to pop in and decided that’s where we would head.
Now, some of you who have followed me for a long time will know I used to be a huge wig enthusiast. In fact, at one point I had over 70 wigs in my collection as I used to write a separate wig reviewing blog. I sold off/gave away most of my wigs after having Eleanor as I didn’t have the space to keep them and they weren’t very practical with a new-born. I did however keep a handful of my favourite wigs for special occasions and on a whim I decided to pull my all time favourite out of retirement for a night out. This was mostly because I fancied changing my look up a bit but also partly because I’d been swimming earlier in the day and my hair just was not playing ball.
Outfit wise I slipped on a velvet dress I got for Christmas which, didn’t fit me quite how I wanted it to anymore (it’s gotten too big as I’ve lost weight) and teamed it with my trusty flat-forms and my devore kimono.
When we got to Hope & Union I had to laugh – it was literally a stones throw from The Nuthatch. We were worrying it would take us a while to find them both or to walk from one to the other but unless they were physically touching – they couldn’t be closer.
We walked inside and I immediately loved the atmosphere and the decor. I’m massively into the industrial/DIY look which is quite a key design feature in the venue. There’s handmade tables with pipes and wood, scaffolding board bar shelves, an amazing see-through barrel store/”cellar” and cages containing beers/items to buy. This is mixed with old Chesterfield sofas, low tables built up from crates and booth seating. I was impressed.
Although I was quite impressed at the decor, what impressed me more was the HUGE selection of gins for sale. I couldn’t choose one and so asked the bar man for something citrus based and he recommended Williams Seville Orange with classic tonic and lemon/lime garnish. I accepted and was so glad I went with his suggestion as this was so delicious. The orange bursts through and is truly a beautiful drink.
We found a table and started looking at the menu. The menu is really small and there’s also some daily specials. We were quite impressed to see that the meat comes from a butchers literally 5 minutes walk away from the bar and is a butcher we’ve actually used ourselves who sells really quality meats. I thought about getting some of the small plates which reminded me almost of a british style tapas with things like pork pie and mushy peas, black pudding bon bons and runny in the middle scotch eggs but I ultimately decided on the Dirty Dawg. The Dirty Dawg (as pictured above) is a Cumberland sausage wrapped in bacon and brushed with mustard and smothered in cheese on top of butter rolled cornbread and served with rustic skin on fries and homemade slaw.
I loved this dish. I couldn’t finish it all and had a little help from Adam but it was amazing. The cornbread completely melted in your mouth and the quality of the meat was so obvious. I’m not really one for chips but these steak cut skin on chips were delicious and cooked quite honestly to perfection. A real stand out part of the meal though had to be the slaw. It was just a great, homemade delicious slaw and it cut through the richness of the cheese so well.
As much as I enjoyed mine, Adam enjoyed his even more. He went for the beer and beef burger which was topped with bacon jam and he also upgraded his chips to loaded chips which meant they were topped with cheese and thick chunks of ham. I tasted his and instantly regretted not upgrading mine.
Adam washed his down with this grapefruit beer which is about 2. something percent and was recommended as a great beer for those who are driving. Adam thought it was really tasty, almost like a fruity shandy. In fact, he liked it so much that when we went to the next venue he nipped back in for another one and drank it outside.
We both really enjoyed our time in the Hope & Union. The food and drinks were all delicious and it was nice to be in somewhere with my kind of music playing (yes, they even play The Smiths!!!!!). I like to support independent local businesses and I can most definitely see me heading back here for yorkshire pudding wraps, British tapas and copious amounts of gin!