The top 10 York pubs that serve both craft beer and real ale

18 Jan 2018 @ 7.29 pm
| Food & drink

Whether you like your traditional real ales or are more into your craft keg beers, York has something for you.

So to start a comprehensive YorkMix York pub guide I’m going to recommend 10 pubs that are “alcoholic polymaths”.

They offer you the best of both worlds in their establishments – so if you’re in a group where you’ve all got varied tastes there will be something in cask or keg to suit you all.

If there’s a pub you think is missing – don’t worry – it may well be in our next two “Top 10’s” – York’s Top 10 Real Ale Pubs and York’s Top 10 Real Ale Bars.

Brew York Brewery Tap

Many pleasing pints at Brew York… Photograph: Richard McDougall

Unit 6, Enterprise Complex Walmgate, York, YO1 9TT

01904 848448


No venue has made a bigger impact on the recent York pub and brewing scene than Brew York Brewery and Tap.

It’s already hosted numerous beer festivals and a major expansion in 2018 will see it take over the whole of the former Maltings next door to make it a one-stop food and beer mecca, as well as expanding its brewery capacity.

Brew York produce nearly 50 different beers in all, with the smart wood and exposed brick brewery tap groaning to capacity to accommodate just 19 of them on the bar.

Their most popular real ales such a Big Eagle IPA, Viking DNA and Maris the Otter are supplemented by new additions on rotation with seven on at any one time.

Eleven rotating craft keg beers give visitors a wide choice of different brewing styles to taste, most notably the runaway success of the last year – their Tonkoko Milk Stout.

Eagle and Child

The front room at the Eagle and Child. Photograph: Richard McDougall

9 High Petergate, York YO1 7EN

01904 631936


A few doors down from the Wonky Donkey this pub is a relative newcomer to High Petergate, which has become somewhat of a haven for pubs, with six rubbing shoulders over the 150 metres that throng with tourists in the shadow of York Minister.

Generous refurbishment of this handsome three-floored timbered building (dating back to 1642) by owner Camerons has made this place a very agreeable place to sample an extensive range of beers.

Leeds Brewery beers feature prominently on the eight handpumps on the bar as part of an agreement when Camerons bought their pub estate.

They’re supplemented by Camerons beers plus popular local breweries such as Rudgate and Bad Seed who also contribute to the eight craft keg beers available. Look out for the original Rolling Stones autographs in lipstick on the third floor wall.

Falcon Tap

The Falcon Tap on Micklegate. Photograph: Falcon Tap website

94 Micklegate, York YO1 6JX


A friendly bar that has a reputation for being one of the most innovative on the York beer scene at the moment.

The Falcon has stood on this site for more than 300 years, although in the bad old days when Micklegate was better known for brawls than pub crawls it had its wings clipped and some joker turned it into a club called Rumours.

It thankfully regained its mojo along with its name in 2015 and hasn’t looked back. A European beer expert told me recently that of all the bars in York, this one had provided him with the most unique beers in 2017 that he had never tried before – nearly 150 in all.

There’s five real ales and eight craft keg fonts serving an eclectic range of beers from breweries as diverse as Brass Castle, Bad Seed, Blackjack, Five Points, Northern Monk, Kernel and De Molen.

The House of Trembling Madness

The House of Trembling Madness. Photograph: Richard McDougall

48 Stonegate, York YO1 8AS

01904 640009


If you cross a 12th century Norman dwelling with a taxidermist’s lounge you’ll get an idea of the diverse character of this lovable trinket of a bar situated on the first floor which is bustling any time of the day and any day of the week you visit.

The three cask beers regularly rotate with the likes of Great Heck, Brass Castle and recently the likes of Wild Child. 6 well chosen craft keg lines treat imbibers to juicy IPAs from the likes of Deya, Verdant and Odyssey as well a Belgian and German beers.

Tasty, rustic home cooked food and snacks are served daily until almost closing time from a galley kitchen.

There’s a vast stock of over 600 bottled bbers in the off licence on the ground floor, complemented by well stocked fridges full of locally sourced tasty comestibles.

Look out for a big new additional venue opening in Lendal in 2018.

The Maltings

Photograph: MainFrame on Wikipedia

Tanner’s Moat, York YO1 6HU

01904 655387

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Proof that a pub under the tutelage of charismatic licensees can thrive under any economic landscape, The Maltings celebrates 25 years in the hands of Shaun and Maxine Collinge.

You’d be forgiven for thinking you’d stumbled into The Old Curiosity Shop when you first enter to an eclectic collection of furnishings and rusting advertising signs from bygone times.

The selection of beers is cutting edge though with expertly selected beers from local breweries pushing boundaries.

There’s eight real ales including “ever presents” from York Brewery, Roosters and Black Sheep; ten keg craft beers from the UK and Europe including classics such as Leffe and Erdinger; plus four ciders.

There’s a homely laid back atmosphere in a pub that thrives on no piped music and the hum of convivial conversation. A smart extension including a bijout beer garden is testament to its continuing popularity.


Photograph: Pivni on Facebook

6 Patrick Pool, York, YO1 8BB

01904 635464


This pretty timber framed building dating back to 1190 is tucked away around the corner from the Shambles and is celebrating ten years as one of York’s must visit hostelries.

Visitors are often fooled by the small ground floor bar which belies the Tardis like nature of what’s above their heads.

Two further floors offer comfortable drinking space in asymmetrical wooden architecture.

Pivni was the founding father of the Pivovar empire which now has 10 bars, two breweries plus a drinks wholesale business, with ambitious plans just announced to open another 10 bars in collaboration with Thornbridge brewery starting in Birmingham.

Drinkers are kept happy by an ever changing selection of 5 cask ales from all over the UK, complemented by 11 rotating craft keg beers.

Ever presents include Great Yorkshire’s Blackout, Weihenstephaner Hefeweissbier and their ever popular Czech Bernard lagers which they first imported exclusively into the UK in 2006.

Rook & Gaskill

Paul Marshall at the Rook and Gaskill. Photograph: Gavin Aitchison

12 Lawrence St, York YO10 3WP

01904 655450


Another York pub that exemplifies the transformative effect a great landlord and landlady can have on a pub.

Paul and Mandy Marshall have turned the Rook and Gaskill into a thriving freehouse that shrugs off its less than central location outside the city walls on Lawrence St and attracts drinkers by the sheer breadth of its beer offering.

Not content with being awarded York CAMRA pub of the year for the consistent excellence of their real ales they decided that they would supplement an already decent craft beer selection.

In went a brushed aluminium keg beer wall at the back of the bar which now serves 20 craft beers from the likes of Adnams; Camden; Fels; Kirkstall; Maisel’s and Roosters.

8 real ales prove popular with the local student population as well as long standing regulars. They can enjoy local favourites from Great Heck, Roosters and Treboom for as little as £2.90 per pint.

Sutlers Bar and Grill

Photograph: YorkMix

54-56 Fossgate, York, YO1 9TF

01904 625226

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Nestling at the top corner of Fossgate, Sutlers Bar and Grill is an embodiment of the metamorphosis of this street into one of the busiest food and drink hubs in York.

The long ground floor bar is reminiscent of the famous counter at the iconic Army and Navy Stores which once occupied this space.

They’ve cleverly incorporated other aspects of a store that served the York public for 93 years into what is now a smart two floor establishment serving over 20 beers.

Six regularly changing real ales are usually sourced from Yorkshire’s vibrant brewing scene with the likes of Bad Co, Ilkley and Roosters being frequent returners.

Sixteen craft keg lines offer drinkers a diverse choice of international beers such as Brooklyn, Liefmans and Vedett as well as UK breweries like Beavertown; Freedom, Theakstons and Tiny Rebel.

The Three-Legged Mare

Photograph: The Three Legged Mare

15 High Petergate, York YO1 7EN

01904 638246


The Wonkey Donkey, as its affectionately known, has the best and most eclectic range of beers of the 3 York Brewery pubs in the city centre. It’s a no nonsense welcoming pub with a modern, light airy feel and is deceptively accommodating with a back conservatory type area and small beer garden.

Best-selling York Brewery real ales such as Guzzler and Centurion sit alongside guests from innovative local breweries plus ones as far apart as Manchester and Devon.

York Brewery’s own hop-forward craft keg beers such as Legion IX are complimented by Wheat and Fruit beers and in a notable show of “entente cordiale” by beers from the other brewery in York – Brew York, including their popular citrus and floral Triple H IPA.

As if nine real ales and nine craft keg beers weren’t enough there’s usually between six and eight traditional boxed ciders to choose from.

York Tap

Photograph: The York Tap

York Railway Station, Station Rd, York YO24 1AB

01904 659009


Peerless amongst station bars on the whole UK rail network, The York Tap embodies all the best ingredients of a convivial refuge from a cold platform.

It is architecturally satisfying; it serves consistently good ale; it has wide demographic appeal – all types of humanity pass through it; it is eminently accessible and it has a huge choice of draught beer.

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.

It’s hard not to see why it won the Railway Heritage Trust Conservation Award for the best restored listed structure.

Twenty handpulls dispense real ale from Yorkshire (including their own Tapped Brew Co beers) and from much farther afield and a further 12 fonts serve craft beers from the UK, EU and the New World.

Nick Love is a member of the British Guild of Beer Writers and an experienced pub campaigner. He’s a regular interviewee on all things pub related on local and national Radio and TV and is York CAMRA’s Pub Protection Officer. He present’s Jorvik FM’s mid-morning show.