Sisters open a new bar in York – which will certainly get the city talking

Opening soon… the unfinished exterior of Pairings on Castlegate, York. Photographs: Richard McDougall
14 Oct 2015 @ 7.58 pm
| Food & drink

A new bar will open in York next week, run by two sisters determined to get the city talking.

With waiter service, no loud music and a novel take on matching up food and drink, Pairings is all about starting a conversation.


28 Castlegate, York

Open 11am-midnight from Oct 22

Facebook page

The wine bar is due to open on Thursday, October 22, on Castlegate, right next to Rustique Restaurant.

It has been converted from the former Fashionista clothing shop on the street by two sisters: Kate and Kelly Latham.

After a lot of work, the premises will open as “an upmarket, exclusive drinking establishment,” Kate told YorkMix.

It is waiter service only. There are 53 covers upstairs, with plans to add another 25 seats into the basement area next year.

Kate describes the interior as “rustic chic, but more of the chic than the rustic. It follows the wine theme through but in a sophisticated way.”

She said it’s “a bar created with conversation in mind”.

We’re creating a place where we would want to go to.

There will be background music but you will be able to hear the other people that you’re with – it’s really based around conversation.

Unusual taste combinations

Pairings will have a large bar with room to prepare food.

“The bar will be a large focal point as you walk in,” Kate said. “As well as all the drinks, people will be able to see the staff carving the iberico ham.”

Food will be offered throughout the day and night. During the day the menu will include open sandwiches, cheese boards and charcuterie – but also “something a little bit different,” says Kate.

This includes fish platters, complete with octopus and tiger prawns, and oysters paired with champagne.

Serving up something new for the city
Serving up something new for the city

And in the evening it’s all about the sweets – a pudding wine with three miniature desserts, for example.

Kate anticipates people having a meal at a restaurant elsewhere then heading to Pairings for their dessert.

The wine bar gets its name from the sisters themselves – “we’re incredibly close,” says Kelly – and the fact that they want to encourage people to try new food and drink combinations.

Such as? Charcuterie with vermouth – “something that completely changes the taste experience”.

Drinks will include wines from around the world – chosen by Kelly with her great knowledge of the subject – craft beers, spirits and cocktails.

Prices have yet to be fixed. “It’s all about the quality but not at a ridiculously unobtainable price,” said Kate.

Devoted sisters

Both sisters were originally from Harrogate before moving to York.

Kate worked in event management for a number of years, then joined Blenkin & Co estate agents, and has the business side covered.

Kate (left) and Kelly
Kate (left) and Kelly
Kelly brings her expertise as former head sommelier at the hotel Du Vin and wine champion at Star Inn The City to the enterprise.

They came up with the idea of running a bar together seven years ago, and it began to take shape while they travelled around South America and South Africa, trying unusual food and drink combinations.

They are very happy with the location of the new bar on Castlegate.

“I think it’s a fantastic street. Fossgate’s great for the food and drink, and we love that area, but I think it’s probably got a little saturated now,” said Kate.

“Whereas Castlegate has got some nice restaurants on it and nearby. It’s nice to have a wine bar this side of York as well.”