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12 Real Ale Pubs Around University Of York

12 Real Ale Pubs Around University Of York

Whether you are a seasoned real ale drinker or wanting to try something new, here is a list of remarkable pubs around University of York from worst to best!

Whether you are a seasoned real ale drinker or wanting to try something new around University of York, York has a plethora of remarkable real ale pubs with something to suit everybody. Although there being a different pub for each day of the year is something of a myth, there are certainly no shortages of places to sample some of the finest ales that York has to offer. Without further ado, here is a list of twelve top real ale pubs around University of York from worst to best!


12. V-Bar

While not strictly a “pub” in the traditional sense, Vanbrugh Bar is situated at the heart of Vanbrugh College and is one of the most popular spots on campus. As one of only two campus bars to serve Real Ale, V-Bar is a great spot for students to go for a quiet drink or as the beginnings of a pub crawl around York.


V-Bar is also host to a range of live music nights including the ever popular Monday night Jazz Jam. Equipped with pool tables, a dart board, the college junior common room, and even a table tennis table, V-Bar has become increasingly popular with students over the years – there are also very few “real people” to be seen as the bar is part of the college.




11. The Duke of York

The name “Leeds Brewery”, for many, is often associated with fine Yorkshire beers – and rightly so. The Duke of York pub is found  in Kings Square at the top of the famous Shambles and boasts a fine selection of ales and locally sourced, freshly prepared food. With seating over two floors and some of the most comfortable couches in any Yorkshire pub, the Duke of York is an outstanding place to treat your taste buds with friends.


10. The Burns Hotel

From the outside one may disregard the Burns Hotel as a small, unappealing pub. However, this is far from the case! During my third year as an undergraduate at York, I decided to give the city center pub a visit and was far from disappointed. The best way to describe this particular pub would be as a “TARDIS pub”; it looks far bigger on the inside than one might expect from looking at the outside.


As a Samuel Smiths pub, the Burns Hotel offers a large range of Samuel Smiths beers at extremely low prices and was certainly a pub that I regretted not visiting sooner. My only complaint about the Burns Hotel is that the regular clientele give the pub that “old man” vibe.


9. The Pavement Vaults

Around University of York, on the south side of Parliament Square you will find the newly opened Pavement Vaults. Opened in November 2015, the Pavement Vaults offers quite the unique drinking experience. Every time I venture out to this pub I am greeted by a huge row of beers that I have never seen before and the staff are impressively knowledgable about each beer on tap.


The food menu has everything from Pork Ribs, Steak and Burgers to Chicken Wings, Fries and Mac n Cheese, all cooked to perfection by the excellent kitchen staff. The Pavement Vaults can at times get very loud and busy which is not ideal if you are after a quiet drink and a chat with friends but it does become hectic for very good reason; superb beer!


8. Pivni

As a real ale drinker you may often take advice from CAMRA on the best places for a good variety of beers and you certainly should visit this next pub that secured a place in the 2014 CAMRA Good Beer Guide! Located in the city center, Pivni is an ale drinkers paradise with an astonishing collection of craft beer from kegs, bottles and casks, and if beer isn’t your thing then they also stock a range of real ciders, wines, premium spirits and locally produced snacks.


It is not hard to see why this quirky sixteenth century timber framed building is packed out with locals and students alike year round! A personal enjoyment of mine has to be the mounted boars head on the way down to the toilets which in themselves are rather quirky in design.


7. The Rose and Crown

What goes best with beer? Pies of course, and this Lawrence Street pub prides itself on its pies to the extent that they have their own menu! As one of few pubs in York to always have the mighty Doom Bar on tap, the Rose and Crown holds a special place in the hearts of the finest real ale enthusiasts; just don’t expect to be doing anything too quickly the morning after a night on this fine brew! Unlike a lot of pub quizzes, the Tuesday evening quiz at the Rose and Crown is accessible to the younger generation and is often hosted by different charities. Getting drunk for charity; what else could a student ask for?



6. The Hop

If you like your pizza as much as you like your ale, then The Hop may just be the place for you. The bar and pizzeria found on Fossgate, has four Ossett Brewery ales on tap as well as a number of guest beers and great European lagers. For those that prefer their real ciders, there is always a delicious cask cider available as well. Then we move on to the bottled beers and there is definitely a great selection to choose from from Kriek Lambicus 4.0% Fruit Beer to Raging Bitch 8.3% IPA and even Goose Island 4.2% Wheat Beer!

The restaurant area of the pub is very different that what one might expect, with a lot of contemporary décor and houses a stone oven where the delectable range of pizzas are cooked and you can even see into the kitchen from your table, so you can see your pizza cooked from start to finish. The only downside to this outstanding pub is the lack of seating in the bar area. If you arrive at peak times then you may find yourself standing for a while or having to sit with people eating and potentially feeling a bit out of place.


5. The Kings Arms

You just can not say “no” to £2 a pint in the city center! The Kings arms is part of the Samuel Smiths family of pubs and serves a wide variety of exquisite Samuel Smiths beverages. Whether you are after a crisp pint of “Old Brewery Bitter” or a smooth, clean tasting “Extra Stout”, the Kings Arms does not fail to deliver.

Aside from the great selection of beer, the pub is located right next to the River Ouse and the outdoor seating makes for a great afternoon pint. As the Kings Arms is located so close to the River Ouse, it is prone to flooding sometimes with over 6 feet of water! Don’t let that put you off trying out the riverside venue  though, and trying the collection of fine Samuel Smiths beers for yourself.


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4. The Golden Fleece

The title of “York’s Most Haunted Pub” makes the Golden Fleece a must visit in York. The ancient building which can be traced as far back as 1503, stands opposite the historic Shambles and is easily accessible for students approaching from Fossgate or Piccadilly. Should you decide to venture further into the pub and down to the second bar (having two bars is surely a reason for a place on this list), you will find Saul Goodfellow sat at the bar. Now I can hear you asking “Who on earth is Saul Goodfellow?” and you would be right to ask that question.

I have not been able to dig up any information on man whose skeleton seems to move each time I visit; sometimes more than once! The Golden Fleece is considered to be so haunted that Ghostly Inns Ltd are currently compiling a book about the ghosts that reside within the pub and there is a spooky ghost tour starting at 6:45pm every night which will take you through the streets of York and back to the Fleece to get that last pint in. Perhaps the ghosts are enticed by the last orders bell which seems to ring a good forty five minutes after other local pubs – great if you want to stop off for that last drink before heading home!



3. The Phoenix Inn

The Phoenix is a must visit for anybody with a passion for Real Ale and Jazz! With a friendly jazz jam every Wednesday evening and various other exciting jazz gigs throughout the week, it is not clear why The Phoenix is the go to place in York for great live Jazz from the likes of the Kate Peters Quartet, the Firebird quartet, and local pianist Karl Mullen who can be found busking around York with a real piano on wheels!



2. The Waggon and Horses

The Waggon and Horses, located on Lawrence Street, is the definition of a real ale pub. A wide range of beers, pub games, friendly bar staff and cosy interior makes the Waggon and Horses one of best places to start off a night of drinking. Food is served Tuesday to Saturday from 6:00-9:00pm and is noted for putting out great burgers.

The building also offers seven ensuite rooms for those students who’s parents may visit during the year. Apart from regularly stocking Batemans ales, The Waggon and Horses has hosted a range of different beers from Plum Porter to the fruity well hopped Citra and even a Crispy Aromatic Duck beer! Many a night of my time as an undergraduate at York has been spent in the company of their variety of beers and playing scrabble – also known as “Who can get the most crude words”!




1. The Rook and Gaskill

Lastly, the best pub around University of York: The Rook and Gaskill! Pub games, food, snacks, eight cask ales, eight craft beers, three scrumpy ciders, and not a drop of Fosters in sight; a true real ale drinkers paradise. Whether your beverage of choice is amber, ruby, porter, mild, stout or anything in between, the Rook has you covered. Fancy a bite to eat? The Rook serves food including a superb burger menu between 5:30-9:30pm with cheeseboards and nachos available all day.

The outdoor beer garden is nicely designed with chairs, leather couches and a dart board. With such a great selection of drinks, food and entertainment including live jazz, a battle of the bands, quiz nights and more, it is not hard to see why The Rook and Gaskill was voted as York CAMRA’s pub of the year.

Which pub are you going try out after reading this list of 12 real ale pubs around University Of York? Share and comment below!
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