The historic city of York is famously home to 365 pubs – one for every day of the year. From quirky cocktail dens to haunted basements, the place has it all.
Adopted local Joel Draba-Mann takes a look at ten of the best bars in York, to suit the needs of any thirsty patron.
Evil Eye Lounge
Nestled along the historic avenue of Stonegate in the heart of York, this quirky bar has seen a rapid boom in popularity in recent years. Famous for its vast array of cocktails and premium alcohol, it’s a trendy hangout that’s allegedly been frequented by the likes of Johnny Depp.
An East Asian restaurant and an internet cafe by day, Evil Eye Lounge attracts the stylish and hip by night. Check out the ‘Evil Zombie’ if you’re up for a challenge, and the QR code menus hidden in the walls.
42 Stonegate, YO1 8AS (01904 640002, website)
Just off the beaten track, 1331 is a bar that really caters for anyone: featuring a relaxing dining lounge, stylish court area and even a small sofa-filled cinema showcasing classic genre films.
A great place to go for a more upbeat take on the ‘quiet pint’, 1331 isn’t as frequented by the masses as some of the other bars on this list, but that is entirely due to the snug location rather than the bar itself – and it’s a favourite among those in the know.
13 Grape Lane, YO1 7HU (01904 661130, website)
An interesting mix of a pulsing atmosphere within a 16th century alehouse, Pivni is the place for true alcohol enthusiasts, featuring a wide variety of exotic beers and ales from all corners of the globe, ranging from Italian lagers to chocolate-infused port.
The bar snacks are just as unique, and include everything you’ve never heard of, from scampi crisps to bacon flavour popcorn.
6 Patrick Pool, City Centre, YO1 8BB (01904 635464, website)
Ye Olde Starre Inne
One of the oldest and more established pubs in the city, Ye Olde Starre Inne has looked to retain much of the history gathered over the past centuries.
A classic pub specialising in locally brewed beers and locally sourced food, if you’re looking for a ‘real pub’ experience then the Olde Starre is the place to go.
40 Stonegate, Y01 8AS (01904 623063, website)
The Golden Fleece
Situated towards the outskirts of the city centre, The Golden Fleece’s claim to fame is being ‘the most haunted pub in York’. Featured in the TV series Most Haunted, the pub has been open for more than 500 years since its founding by the Merchant’s Adventurers Guild.
It has retained much of its historic architecture and structure: wonky floors, low-door frames and all. You can even book to stay the night in this paranormal haven, if you’re brave enough…
16 Pavement, Y01 9UP (01904 625171, website)
The Black Swan
Also on the outskirts of the city centre is The Black Swan, rival to The Golden Fleece in the quest to be York’s most haunted establishment.
Said to be the home of various ghouls, including an impatient workman and a pair of ghostly legs, it aims to provide a devilish atmosphere mixed with good service and a wide range of beverages. Look out for the in-house, and very friendly, Black Swan black cat.
23 Peasholme Green, YO1 7PR (01904 67913, website)
Sitting in the rapidly expanding party district on Swinegate, Bora Bora is a somewhere between cocktail bar and small nightclub, based on the famous holiday destination islands of the same name.
Stylish, fun and with great music to boot, this popular location serves as the starting point for many of those experiencing York’s nightlife.
5 Back Swinegate, Y01 8AJ (01904 541525, website)
The York Tap could not be further from the stereotypical ‘station pub’. Boasting a fantastically Victorian setting including a wholly glass dome roof, it’s locally renowned for its varied selection of award-winning cask beers and ales.
No food, but there are plenty of cafes and snack bars within the station itself. You can’t beat the hearty atmosphere straight from the pages of a Dickens’ novel.
York Tap, York Train Station, YO24 1AB (01904 659009, website)
The King’s Arms
Famous for being ‘the pub that floods’, your best bet is visiting The King’s Arms during the height of summer – as there is usually a good chance that the entire establishment will be under water come winter time.
Sitting right on the banks of the River Ouse, the location is a popular and attractive venue. Very cheap and specialising in locally brewed ales and beers, The King’s Arms exudes classic pub style with a generous outside seating arrangement. The owners have taken their cyclical flooding light-heartedly however, and the pub famously features a record of the water levels throughout the years marked along the interior walls.
3 King’s Staith, YO1 9SN, (01904 659435)
The House of Trembling Madness
Right in the heart of busy Stonegate lies The House of Trembling Madness. The venue is as oddball and overt as its name suggests: a small pub that aims to recapture the historic atmosphere of its location.
Providing a range of unique ales and beers and a delightfully quaint menu of various ‘boards’, it offers everything from rare cheeses to wild boar.
48 Stonegate, YO1 8AS (01904 640009, website)