York is one of the top destinations for real ale in the country and has a fantastic array of old and new boozers to keep you entertained. Just when you think they couldn’t fit anymore in, they do. As it doesn’t take much to get me drinking there, the opening of 2 new outlets was reason enough. Throw in a Jolly Boys outing and the day was set for merriment and profligate consumption.
The obvious place to start and finish a crawl is the Station Tap. Handily located at the, erm, station, this former tearoom is now a real ale Mecca with no less than 18 handpumps. Frankly it’s tempting to stay there all day, but then that wouldn’t be a crawl would it? We had to show some of the old geezers the Minster Inn with its multi-roomed layout to remind them of their youth. This is a classic pub where it’s all about the ambience rather than the beer; which is sadly just Marstons.
Another classic is the Blue Bell which no trip to York is complete without a visit to. Don’t bother looking in the GBG, though, as CAMRA have had a falling out with the landlord over his admission policies. Ignore all that and get yourself a seat in the splendid Edwardian interior. The beer range, which was quite pedestrian, has actually improved since my last visit and the pub really is a must see. You can safely ignore (spoiler alert) the ‘private party’ sign on the door unless you are the boozed up racegoers or hen parties that the pub is trying to keep out.
Fans of the olde-worlde will also appreciate the Snickleway Inn which is a 15th century building that once served as the Royalists powder magazine store. From that we come bang up to date with two newcomers. The Duke of York is a former estate agents that has been converted to a two-storey pub by the Leeds Brewery. Even more impressive is The Hop, Ossett’s new venture. Not only does it serve some excellent beer, it offers excellent wood-fired pizzas as well. My favourite of the day.
Out on the edges, but handily close together are the Waggon & Horses and the Rook & Gaskill. The Waggon offers a more traditional, wood-lined interior whilst the Rook takes a more modern approach but both have something to offer the discerning drinker. Of course there are plenty more to choose from and on another day we could have easily chosen another handful. York, it seems, is still hard to beat for a good day out.


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