York’s smallest pub is also its best!
That’s the verdict of York CAMRA (Campaign for Real Ale), who have awarded their Pub of the Year 2022 to – the Blue Bell on Fossgate.
The tiny Edwardian pub, with just two rooms, is also one of the city’s most loved.
Landlord John Pybus took to social media to reveal the news, saying:
We’re very proud to announce that we’ve been awarded York CAMRA Pub Of The Year!
Thank you to all who voted, my wonderful staff, the best regulars in the world, our hard-working brewers (especially Brass Castle Brewery) and all those who believe in keeping pubs like The Blue Bell open.
It’s been a difficult few years, but this makes it all worth it.
Details of the awards ceremony party to follow, but for now we may well have a cheeky pint or three!
It certainly has been a tough few years for John.
First he had to fight an eviction notice from the Blue Bell’s owner Punch Taverns in 2018 – the company’s response when he tried to negotiate a fairer lease.
Thankfully, people power saved John, who is universally acknowledged to have given the Bell a new lease of life since he took over.
Then, not long after that was settled, the pandemic kicked in.
Even when some Covid restrictions were lifted, the Blue Bell struggled. Because of its size, it couldn’t meet the social distancing regulations.
John even took to national TV to explain how the rules left him considerably out of pocket.
Having got through such adversity, the Pub of the Year award is even more welcome for an historic pub which is thriving again thanks to John and his team.
Grade II* listed, the Blue Bell has a national reputation due to its unspoilt exquisite unaltered 1903 Edwardian interior. It’s York’s smallest public house that has been serving beer since 1798 and is also the birthplace of York City FC.
News of its win was welcomed by its many fans. “So very well deserved. Absolute ‘Go To’ pub in York. Unchangingly brilliant,” wrote Simon Smith.
“Great news and well deserved especially after coming through difficult last two years,” said Tim Shipman.