|Aspers at The Gate
Aspers director and son of John Aspinall (1926 - 2000) the casino and
zoo entrepreneur - opened Great Britain's best looking casino on October 27th
2005 in Newcastle-upon-tyne.
|Damian Aspinall Aspers director
The multi-million pound Aspers flagship,
45,000 sq ft venue has a capacity for 1,250 people. It has a contemporary
theme, designed by Australian architects Bates Smart, finished in silk, fine
woods and stone and 27 multi-media plasma screens. It comprises two bars, the
Air Bar with live entertainment - and Lady Os, two restaurants,
Freyas Restaurant for high value cosmopolitan food and
Café Marie, for light, freshly prepared meals.
As well as the
latest high tech gaming facilities Aspers Casino offers an iPod relaxation
lounge, shoeshine and a beauty salon. Theres also Club Aspinalls VIP area
and a room for social gaming where friends can play anything from mah jong to
poker to backgammon.
Good Gambling Guide's editor travelled the long way up the east coast line from
King's Cross to Newcastle train station in a very reasonable 3 hours (but try
not doing it during school half-term).
Straight out of the station I
found Grainger Street at about the two o'clock angle from the main
entrance/exit. A four minute walk along this busy street brought me to Newgate
Street and turning left brought me into view of The Gate complex. Approaching I
could see the red carpet had been laid out with numerous cars emptying their
contents at the doors of the bar/restaurant/cinema and now casino complex in
the centre of Newcastle.
Avoiding this horde I slipped through the press
entrance to get some champagne before it ran out. I need not have worried, they
had lots. Before the thousand or so guests managed to get through the door I
surveyed the joint to see what all the fuss was to be about and what exactly
you can stick into a 45,000 sq. ft. casino in the UK.
The answer is quite a lot. In
a style reminiscent of the newly refurbished Desert Inn in Las Vegas, before
Steve Wynn knocked it down 2 years ago, high ceilings and a mixture of brown
shades and purples were put to a space pleasing effect. First impressions are
distinctly all the about the height of the place, making it far more
comfortable than the usual British casino.
There are roulette machines,
then roulette tables, then card tables and then more roulette. Along all the
sides are slot machines, 150 in all! To the right of the entrance is the Air
Bar (with live entertainment) with a lounge to relax in. Beside is Café
Marie with plenty of fish swimming in open pools. At the far end is the main
restaurant and to the right of that a large card room for poker and the like.
This is one floor but there are two others.
Upstairs you find the VIP
gaming area, a beauty salon (??) and a more casual bar that I expect will be
reserved for the big spenders or the famous.
Down below the main gaming
floor is another bar with more machines and most suprising of all, a second
entrance which leads straight out into China Town. Its a first for a British
casino to have two manned entrances but a smart move here to lead into China
Town. Should you wish to pop out at midnight for
a quick duck and rice dish then go straight out the door, turn right and
you'll find the China Town Express one hundred paces away.
the guests had filled the place and it looked to me that they got through 1000
bottles of champagne, all-beit not Dom Perignon. Singer Amy Winehouse performed
a half-hour set which couldn't be heard because of the sound system. Later,
after midnight, the crooner of swing numbers fared much better. Everyone was a
lot merrier by then.
The gambling got underway at about 10p.m. James
Hewitt played blackjack and Sir Clement Raphael Freud had a go at the roulette
machines helped by his 'niece'. Other guests included footballers.
1000 people drinking away for hours the most impressive thing from my
experience of the domestic product was the fact that the air-conditioning
system coped easily without missing a beat and the air was clear.
I give them 10/10 for effort. The staff seemed willing to provide good service
in fine spirit. However I shall return in a few months to see whether the
venture is viable. The Membership Booth is situated on the first floor at The
Gate entrance or telephone Aspers direct on 0191 255 0400.
Aspers at The Gate, The Gate, Newcastle upon Tyne NE1
5TG View on Map
Tel : 0191 255 0400.
Fax: 0191 255 0419 Email: