I'm a pub quiz junkie and York is where I discovered it all. The pub in the picture is the Ackhorne just off Micklegate, where I met my husband :) It has quiz nights with general questions (otherwise sports and music are popular themes) and so too does the York Arms, the Hansom Cab, the Snickleways Inn and lots more in the city centre. You just need to check on their blackboards what day each pub has their quiz. Join in as a team with your friends or on your own - most are for free and even where not, it is no more than a pound per team. The price is usually pub vouchers to be used in the bar but the fun is the honour of it all.
Excellent example of a Victorian era public house - not a gin palace, by any stretch of the imagination! Simply a comfortable haven in the midst of what was probably a rather unpleasant city in the 19th century.
This is a nice place for a casual pint before or after a flick, or just for enjoy the sunshine on a warm afternoon. Open to non-movie goers as well, the bar benefits from its location off Coney Street, and has an outdoor deck for its patrons.
York has plenty of nighlife being a student city. There is a weekend phenomena called the "Micklegate run" when you start with a pubcrawl along Micklegate and end up in Toffs, Ziggy's or a similar nightclub around the corner. Personally I shy this like the plague. All pubs have bouncers Friday and Saturday and are full of noisy English teenagers at their worst. I just feel sorry for all the drunk girls walking around bare legged in the February snow...
Like its sister pub, The Three-Legged Mare, the Yorkshire Pub specialises in York brewery beers. I really liked this place - it was very laid-back, almost studenty though not with prices to match unfortunately. There is also a shop/off-license out front selling many of the brewery beers not available inside.
With its fantastic location along the river it's not surprising that the King's Arms is one of the most popular pubs in York. The seats overlooking the river must be a great place to hang out in the warmer months. It wasn't so enticing in February. We stopped here only briefly to see if they were showing the rugby. No such luck, this was more of a football pub, so we had to make do with O'Neill's around the corner.
Just one of the many great pubs on Stonegate, the Punch Bowl Inn is another York pub that dates back a few hundred years. We ate here both evenings of our trip. The food was standard pub fare - nothing special but good value and filling. There were many interesting beers advertised on the specials board, but, sadly, many were unavailable. I did get to try Yorkshire Terrier, a fantastic local ale.
Like the Black Swan, Ye Olde Starre Inn claims to be the oldest pub in York. I'm not sure which is the elder, though both must be doing something right if they're still going strong after over 300 hundred years.
We watched the England-Italy rugby game in Ye Olde Starre Inn, and the atmosphere was great. We were the only non England supporters there so we had to clap extra loud when Italy scored! It was all good fun though, and the locals here were a good laugh. Good selection of beers too. They have a beer garden at the front with views over to the nearby Minster.
The Three-Legged Mare is one of the three York brewery pubs in York. With a good range of beers on ofer, friendly bar-staff, and a nice atmosphere this was my favourite pub in York (closely followed by the Yorkshire Terrier, one of the other York Brewery pubs). It's in a good, central location on High Petergate, very near the Minster.
Well worth trying is the York brewery taster, which gives you a sample of 4 York brewery beers for £3. Each sample is 1/3 of a pint so it works out to be quite good value. This is a good way to taste beers you might never otherwise get a chance to try and I really enjoyed my Guzzler, Harvest Pale, Yorkshire Terrier and .... sorry, can't remember the last one.
York's oldest pub is the Black Swan, dating from the 16th century. The building itself is from the 14th century, and you can tell once you walk through the door that the place is steeped in history. The black and white tmbner frames create a lovely exterior, while inside the oak panelled walls and large fireplaces create a cosy atmosphere.
There are regular folk nights here, though unfortunately not during our visit. In fact I was a little disappointed in the place given its age and history. The beers on offer were standard British pints, nothing exceptional, and atmosphere was lacking. Though it was only 5pm....I'm sure it's more fun later in the evening.
I normally avoid places like O'Neill's but it was the only place we could find with a big screen for the Six Nations games. Hence we were here twice during our trip to York watching France vs Ireland and Wales vs Scotland.
Another pub you'd wish it was your local. Real ale, lovely decor, friendly but not 'in your face' staff. The pub is small and split into 3 rooms. For a cold, winter's night I would recommend the room at the back, and a seat by the fire place. Even though this room is a smoking room (well, even though I don't smoke, I think that pubs and smoking go hand in hand), it does not get very busy or smokey. You can enjoy a whole evening staring at the fire and enjoying some local ales and dinner, which is pretty much what we did.
We went there on both Friday and Saturday night and the place was not packed, but comfortably busy. Rumours have it that the previous pub manager (which has now been sacked) was a bit of a nightmare and most regulars left, but they are now coming back. In my opinion, I preferred this little place to be as it was, without the madness of a weekend crowd around. My favourite pub in York.
Dress Code: no dress code
There's a big sign across Stonegate for Ye Olde Starre Inn as it's down a narrow passageway on the western side. According to Pete Coxon's Yorks Historic Inns, This inn dates back to 1644 or the time of Henry VIII. The cellar may date back to the 10th Century. The Starre was mentioned in an account by William Foster, landlord, annoyed at having to serve a bunch of Roundheads at the bar (he himself was a Royalist). The English Civil War's Battle of Marston Moor was fought near York, and 3,500 Royalists met their end here. The Star's cellar was used as an operating room for the wounded, and it is said that their screams can sometimes be heard throughout the inn. Stonegate was the centre of York's printing industry, which is perhaps why it is mentioned in many accounts, and the sign that traverses Stonegate was first erected in 1793. Many ghost stories are attached to the Old Starre, but there is an unusual one in that two cats were said to be bricked up in the pillar between the door and the bar. It is said that they can be heard scampering through the pub, and that dogs will bark and bang their heads against the pillar trying to reach the cats.
Dress Code: no dress code
The centre of York is fairly compact with a large variety of pubs and bars to choose from. There a few clubs - The Gallery (never been there); Toffs (large, crap music but cheap drinks) and Ziggys (never been there either).
For bars-come-clubs there are the chains Reflex; Flares; Nexus and MacMillans none of which is particularly inspiring or kind on your wallet.
There is an almost inexhaustible supply of pubs catering from old mens like the excellent Blue Bell to live music such as The Black Swan (good for jazz) and Fibbers (good for metal) as well as the usual chain pubs such as Weatherspoons and Varsity.
For real ale enthusiasts there is The Rook and Gasket; The Three Legged Mare; The Yorkshire Terrier and The Last Drop which are all run by York brewery.
For those who prefer a cheap pint there are NINE Samuel Smiths pubs around the city including The Brigadier Gerard; The York Arms and The Trafalgar Bay.
Dress Code: The larger bars and the nightclubs have limited dress codes - basically no sportswear or trainers. If they're trying to be classy in this they have failed.
This is the oldest licensed premises in York. The building dates back to 1503 and was originally owned by the Merchant Adventurers.
It' also supposed to be the most haunted, with 5 resident ghosts. It's bigger than it looks, but as there are no foundations it's very 'wobbly' inside!
They also do bed and breakfast (2 rooms with 4-poster beds).