Outside the bar - The Vic and Comet
Outside the bar – The Vic and Comet

Upon arriving back in his Northern hometown, Jack Carter exits Newcastle Railway Station and heads across the road to have a drink (“in a thin glass”) and await a telephone call from Margeret. The pub was called The Vic and Comet. It has been originally thought that the pub that Carter walks into was the nearby Long Bar, though this has been debunked by the Vic and Comet’s manager at the time, Dave Walker:1

At the time of filming in 1971 with the arrival of the Get Carter cast and crew from London, Dave Walker was manager of the Vic & Comet and recalled how director Mike Hodges recruited his pub regulars as extras during shooting of the crowded, smoky bar scene. The decision to serve them real beer had to be reconsidered when they started to get drunk during repeated takes and shandies were quickly substituted. It’s commonly thought that the original Long Bar was the pub featured in the opening scene but, while that nearby watering hole also played a part in the film, it was the Vic & Comet where Alun Armstrong, as pub manager, served Carter.

Ignoring the obvious error (Armstrong didn’t serve Carter in the opening scene) this is the most telling confirmation we have of the bars usage. The pub was originally two pubs, The Victoria and The Comet, that merged to become one as a hotel was built adjoining them. It later closed down, re-opened as an O’Neills but now has been fully restored, as The Victoria Comet by pub chain Nicholsons. If you do venture inside, there is a small installation dedicated to Get Carter on the right-hand side of the pub (though spot the obvious error, as they refer to it as a 1972 film for some reason).

Then:

Location:

Now:

The Victoria Comet
February 2016

The installation inside:

Get Carter - Victoria Comet
Copyright: @TechSpecUK

Notes:

The front of the railway station has been extensively remodelled in recent years, creating a paved area in front of the pub which wasn’t there in the original film (you can see how close to the road it was as Carter crosses it). The Long Bar was a few hundred yards east of this location, to the left of the Head of Steam pub. Now an unimposing hotel facade, it sits opposite the Royal Station Hotel which served as the headquarters of the production offices of the film whilst located in Newcastle.

Sources:

  1. http://www.chroniclelive.co.uk/news/north-east-news/new-role-newcastle-scene-carter-8145338