Thousands of Newcastle partygoers flocked to two new bars on the city's Diamond Strip when they finally opened their doors at the weekend.

Absinthe bar La Fee and late-night club Verano opened in the former House of Smith venue on Collingwood Street for the first time on Friday, October 15.

The launch of the two venues was delayed by a week after contractors struggled to get items delivered to complete the work.

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But the delay failed to dampen the excitement of drinkers, with around 2,000 people visiting the venues over the course of the weekend, according to owners the Apartment Group.

Debrah Dhugga, chief operations officer at the Apartment Group, said: "It's been amazing.

"The weekend was full of entertainment including dancers and live bands.

"We had approximately 2,000 people throughout the weekend.

"We are absolutely delighted at the support we have had and look forward to continuing to build the best the UK has to offer."

The two new bars are part of a £3 million investment by The Apartment Group into Newcastle's nightlife economy.

Earlier this month, the North East leisure operator launched the city's first ball pit bar, Howlers, in the former Madam Koo venue following a £1 million investment.

Featuring a massive ball pit filled with 'hundreds of thousands' of glowing plastic balls, the idea was met with a mixed reaction from readers online.

But owners The Apartment Group say it has been hugely popular with drinkers waiting for an hour just to get in.

"Howlers has had a great second week," Debrah Dhugga said.

"On Friday and Saturday people were queuing up to an hour to get in.

Late-night club Verano on Collingwood Street.
Late-night club Verano on Collingwood Street.

"It sure is the hottest spot in the city."

Cha Cha Buchi will be the fourth venue to open on Collingwood Street in the former Florita's bar next week.

The venue will offer a space for hot-desking for workers during the day and will then welcome customers 'of all ages' in the evening to enjoy drinks and music.

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