Well there is really only one place to start AND finish a crawl in York. And luckily that place is at the train station. The Tap has quickly established itself as one of the best outlets in the country. Is it the impressive conversion of a Victorian tearoom? Possibly, but the fact that it has 18 pumps dispensing the water of life doesn’t hurt, either. Also boasting a large range of ales-10-is Brigantes on Micklegate. This Market Tavern pub was refurbished in 2013 and looks either (a) clean and contemporary or (b) sterile, depending on your perspective. The chief talking point here, however, was the autovac: a device unknown in the civilised land of Lancashire. I’m not keen on these cost-saving devices as they return the drip tray contents back into the beer line; although they do tend to deliver an aesthetically pleasing pint in the process.
The Blue Bell on Fossgate is, of course, known for its nationally historic interior. That and for always being rammed. Uncomfortably warm in there, an escape across the street to the Ossett owned Hop proved of little relief as, understandably on a Saturday, that was also packed to the gills. Much more pleasant was the Golden Ball on Cromwell Road. This Grade 11 listed Victorian corner boozer, extensively refurbished by John Smiths in 1929, has a glazed brick exterior and its nationally historic interior boasts four rooms: bar, back room, lounge and snug. This became the area’s first co-operative local in 2013 and shows that the best people to run a pub are people who know and care about it.