Since Roman Emperor Constantine the Great feasted and drank in York after he was crowned there two millennia ago, the city has been renowned for its conviviality and hospitality. This can be seen today in any one of the huge number of pubs old and new that line the streets of the historic city.
Working as a pub since the sixteenth century and named in celebration of the city’s historic place at the heart of the British wool trade, few places reflect York’s drinking culture as well as the Golden Fleece. There are plenty of good beers and wines on offer, with a large selection of fine, often local, cask conditioned ales, as well as a range of spirits. Speaking of spirits, the establishment is known as Britain’s most haunted pub, as guests and staff have reported seeing a wraithlike figure doing the rounds at night.
The York Tap
This is a classy newcomer to the York bar scene, but one that looks back to the heady days of the roaring twenties for its decorative cues. Glitzy brass chandeliers hang from the high ceilings of this station-side pub, illuminating a proud circular mahogany bar that dominates the main room, presenting an impressive range of taps for cask and keg ales. It’s right next to the city’s train station, so this glamorous craft-friendly bar is a great place to start a night out.
Darkly alluring on the outside with a warm and traditional feeling within, the Maltings has pumps for Black Sheep Bitter, six ever-changing guest ales, and four traditional ciders. There’s also a good range of bottled beers, including craft, gluten free and wheat brews. Despite the stylised exterior, this is a ‘proper’ pub with ‘proper’ food, so you can expect homemade meals, snacks and sandwiches to complement your drinks.
The Shambles Tavern
Maybe you’re a craft beer lover, or a drinker of bottled ales and you want to enjoy a historic York pub that caters to your needs and desires. Either way, The Shambles Tavern is where you want to be. Set beside one of the narrow old roads in the medieval part of town that gives the pub its name, the Shambles Tavern sells a huge range of bottled beers to be drunk on site or taken home for later enjoyment. There are only two hand pulls but this is a great place for the bottled beer enthusiast.
The feel of this pub may be familiar to those who have already enjoyed the hospitality of The York Tap. However the style is a bit more art deco and even more overworked than its fellow purveyor of pints. Like the Tap, hand pulls are in no short supply atop the incredibly ornate bar, with nine keg and eleven cask pumps ready to serve. The beers that pour out of them are a delight, with many Ossett Brewery and Buccaneer beers often in residence.