York is noted for it's historic pubs (public houses - ie. traditional English bars). While contemporary youth culture is increasingly Americanized and often driven by the desire to find cheap alcohol, York continues to maintain a significant quantity of great traditional pubs. Many traditional pubs also continue to specialise in which visitors to England and York in particular are strongly advised to try. Here are a few suggestions:
(York Railway Station) The first pub you see when you get off the train !! Based at York Station, this is a skilfully restored piece of railway heritage. Much of the original fabric of the former Victorian tearoom has been kept, from the terrazzo floor, to the iron columns and most impressively the beautiful stained glass cupolas that flood the bar with natural light.
The handsome period-style island bar hosts an ever-changing eclectic range of 20 real ales, 12 craft beers and the arched pediment with two clocks at the back of the bar houses capacious fridges stocking an international range of bottled beers.
Pivni (Patrick Pool) Situated on a narrow street leading to the York Market and well worth seeking out. With 5 well-kept real ales on handpump and another 12 taps serving craft beers and lagers from all over the world as well as 2 fridges chock full of bottled beers. There is always real cider and fruit beers on draught as well.
The ground floor bar is small with comfy seating and a big open-windowed frontage and there is a much larger lounge upstairs with a lovely old world feel with lots of low hanging beams and gnarled creaking wood befitting a 16th century building.
(Fossgate). This tiny traditional 2-roomed pub has an original unspoilt Edwardian interior. It serves 7 good real ales.
(Stonegate) A famous old pub dating back to 1644 with its famous sign that spans Stonegate. Huge pub with 5 different bars and an outside drinking area that is accessed down a long passage just next to the Evil Eye Lounge. Rebranded as a Taylor Walker pub in Q2 2013.
(Stonegate) Situated above an extensive bottled beer off licence, this place is a first floor medieval hall dating back to the 11th with some of those original walls on view next to the bar. It is a weird and wonderful mish-mash of styles - reminiscent of a taxidermists lounge and with wonderful views of York Minster. Offers real ales, continental beers and a very busy galley kitchen that sells food until 11pm. If you can get in it is well worth a visit.
(Bishophill) First community owned pub - by a local co-operative. Although it dates back to the 1770's it is cited as a very rare almost complete example of an inter-war pub. The front bar looks as though it's been untouced by modernity for over 80 years. Open fires, carpets, lots of locals and great real ales as well as bar billiards and a nice beer garden.
(off Micklegate) Popular but larger than the Bluebell, the pub is pronounced 'Acorn', real local clientele but only yards from the commercial trash of Micklegate.
The Snickleway (Goodramgate) Located on one of the oldest parts of the historic city of York, is a 15th century galleried inn with open fires and a walled beer garden. Reputedly the most haunted pub in Great Britain, it serves 5 excellently kept real ales.
(Peasholme Green) Dates back to 1417 and as historic as it's possible to get. Resident ghosts, fireplaces, local real ales, locals and tourists frequent it and its not part of a pubco. It is also home to York Folk Club.
(near Lendal Bridge) Well known real ale pioneer pub in a handy location not far from the railway station and Rougier Street bus stops with a fine range of beers, fruit wines and ciders. Recently extended to include a smart outdoor area overlooking Lendal Bridge. Live music on Monday (blues) and Tuesday (folk) evenings.
The Golden Fleece - The Golden Fleece is one of York's Most Haunted pub (Snickleway Inn rivals it for most haunted) thus one of the England's most haunted sites. Offers live acoustic music most nights. Visitors talk of a friendly atmosphere, quiet surroundings and traditional services.
(Merchantgate). Wonderful pub with roaring fires for winter and beer garden for summer. Building is Grade II listed and dates to 13th century. Always has four or five real ales on (of variable quality) from the local area and the food is traditional, tasty and good value.
(Fossgate) - A very well done renovation of an old fishmongers shop dating back to 1898. Ossett Brewery have kept the original blue and white tiling and added many good features of their own in sympathy with the buidling. There is a cavernous back room that doubles as a pizzeria with a wood-fired oven and also a small stage for regular live music. The real ale from a regional brewery with 11 excellent beers on at any time.
The Duke of York (King's Square) - A lovely addition to central York, this pub has transformed a bland estate agents into an atmospheric building making full effect of its 700 year history. Lots of wood, low light and candles are the theme with a large central bar serving all real ales from the Leeds Brewery who now own the pub as well as guest beers. Already very popular with drinkers and shoppers alike due to its location at the top of the Shambles.
There are 6 breweries now in the York Area: ; ; ;, Brass Castle and . Look out for the Ale Trail at the Festival of Food and Drink, an opportunity to tour a range of quality pubs. There is a very active CAMRA branch who have a to all real ale pubs in York.