Don’t be fooled by York’s size – although it’s small, it’s got more than its fair share of watering holes, with more pubs than days of the year according to proud locals! Whether you’re looking for a new cool bar or prefer your pint with a bit of history, this ancient town really does have it all. So without wasting any more (drinking) time, here are our picks of the best pubs in York.
You definitely won’t have a hard time finding somewhere to drink in York!
Ye Olde Starre Inne
If you’ve only got time for a quick one (but really, you’d be doing yourself a disservice), it has to be Ye Olde Starre Inne, the oldest pub in York. In the very heart of the city you’ll find a beautiful Grade II-listed building, said to be built back in 1644, the year of the siege of York by the Roundheads. The original sign from 1733 still hangs overhead across Stonegate although you can just follow the thirsty tourists heading for a beer in the longest continuously licenced pub in York. As you’d expect, the pub has a lot of history, and when you walk into the courtyard, you’ll see a well that once upon a time was the only source of fresh water for the whole city. There are also a few resident ghosts living at Ye Olde Starre Inne – a Royalist officer from the time of the English Civil War has been spotted wearing his beaver hat, doublet and smart breeches, as well as two black cats believed to have been buried alive and bricked into the walls. People have also reported hearing screams of dying and injured soldiers coming from the 10th century cellars. But don’t let the ghosts deter you – Ye Olde Starre Inne today serves up classic British pub food, real ales and fine wines.
The Snickleway Inn
Just around the corner from Ye Olde Starre is the Snickleway Inn, another historic pub in York. Parts of the building date back to the 15th century and there are records to show it was once a base during the English Civil War and possibly a brothel at one time or another. However, it’s most famous for its five spirits, including Mrs Tulliver and her cat, Seamus, who people have said they have felt rubbing up against their legs. The ghost of a young girl has been spotted sitting on the stairs, and there’s a mysterious old man who lives in the cellars and has been known to turn off the beer taps when no one is there! It’s a great pub to visit in winter as there’s an open fire so you can enjoy your traditional Ploughman’s Lunch in the warmth.
Walmgate Ale House and Bistro
If you like craft beers, you should come to the new Walmgate Ale House and Bistro. Housed in a 17th century listed building, the interior is surprisingly modern with a rustic farmhouse feel. It’s a total hipster hangout amongst the locals, largely due to its impressive collection of craft beers and gastropub menu. The Ale House on the ground floor offers a range of Yorkshire ales, lagers and ciders, while the upstairs loft serves homemade meals, a weekend brunch and Sunday lunch.
The Guy Fawkes Inn
For some hearty pub food, visit the Guy Fawkes Inn that’s just a few steps from York Minister. This 18th century building was originally built on the very spot Guy Fawkes was born in 1570 and today is a pub, restaurant and tiny hotel with just 13 bedrooms. The food is outstanding here – choose from roast pork belly and black pudding, confit duck leg, prime 28-day aged steaks and classic sausages and mash. Drinks include real cask ales and draught beers, as well as a selection from local breweries.
Don’t let the fact that it’s found in York Station hold you back – the York Tap is worlds away from the normal characterless pub you normally hang out in while you wait for your train. Instead, it’s a classy Victorian bar with wood panelling, big open windows and a magnificent glass dome roof. But you really come here for the ales – the award-winning pub has 32 different beers, as well as wines and spirits. Just keep in mind there’s only bar food here, so best to eat before if you’re planning a night on the tiles!