Saturday, 11 July 2009

Some low-gear Sunday evening crawling

Pub Number 68: Stonegate Yard
Whenever people talk about "The New Oscars" I'm always a bit unsure whether they're talking about the location that Oscars has now moved to, or if they're referring to the bar that now occupies the former premises of said Oscars. Usually they mean the former, but I tend to assume the latter, resulting in general confusion. Anyway, pub number sixty eight was the latter, Stonegate Yard.

Although the food menu is pretty much exactly the same as it used to be when it was Oscars (same huge portions and tasty burgers), the same can't be said for the choice of beer available. Nowadays your choice of draught beers is pretty much limited to Becks (although they do still have wine on tap), and the bottle choice doesn't fare much better - Corona or Newcastle Brown Ale is about your lot.

Still, a nice hidden spot that's great for sitting outside in the sun. Shame it was raining, although that did mean we got to see the extending Wimbledon-style roof in action.

Pub Number 69: Wildes
After the complete lack of service we experienced last time we came here to eat we had vowed never to return, but it serves beer and is within the city walls, so we didn't have much choice.

It was pretty quiet when we got here, with just a few other people finishing off meals, and by the time we were half way through our drinks we were the only table of people there.

It's a nice and cosy place, but not really a drinking hotspot, especially on a Sunday.

I've just remembered that they have Leffe on tap, I should have got one of those...

Pub Number 70: The Biltmore
Last time I was in the Biltmore it was a Saturday night and a bit more on the lively side (completely rammed instead of there only being about a dozen people there).

The rather grand surrounding seems to be somehow more suited to the quieter Sunday night atmosphere though, without the smartly-dressed-but-incredibly-drunk crowd that you'll find there on a Friday or Saturday.

Things we learned: the drinks aren't as expensive as we thought they would be, they seemed to be pretty much the same as any other bar in the city centre.

Friday, 26 June 2009

Rumor has it we went to Reflex last night....

Pub 64 The Parish
A converted church may not be everyones ideas of a suitable drinking venue but it seams to work quite well.
Lynne and Neil arrived ahead of the other two as usual and took a pew. Depending on wether you attend on a week night or a weekend may altar you view of this place as there is usually a congregation of stag and hen dos outside. However tonight there were nun, thank God!
In the words of Arnie - Aisle be back!

Pub 65 Reflex
After spending much time trying to find a loop hole in the pub crawl rules which would mean we didn't have to visit reflex, we reluctantly agreed it had to be done. Fantastic eighties decor and loud eighties music. Despite downing his beer in one (almost) to get out ASAP, even Neil was singing along to the music by the time we left. We did feel a bit left out being the only people not in eighties costume (although we were probably the only people old enough to remember the eighties) there was a selection of accessories available to purchase from behind the bar.

Pub 66 Nagshead
Not only did we have to queue (for a whole 2 seconds) to get in, but we also had to prove we were of legal drinking age! For those that don't know this is the only bar that we know of in York that has a trebles for singles offer. Despite the fact lots of students had already left to queue up for Ziggys (not a pub because you have to pay to get in, so not on our list- phew!) it was still a very busy bar. Leanne almost ended up with a cider and black current instead of soda and black current. They'd probably never served a non alcoholic beverage before. Given the choice of a busy student filled interior or a rowdy student filled beer garden we opted for the dank allyway. Job done!

Pub 67 Rumors
Yes we did all the jokes! Free from the students (who had now made there way over to Ziggys) Rumors was a good place to relax after all the excitement of the evening. We even got to watch Newsnight! If this evening taught us anything it's that we're getting old!

** bored now, someone else can finish the blog **

Friday, 19 June 2009

Hi, My Name's Jamie...

Hi! My name's Jamie. Honorary guest member to the pub crawl group. I shall be writing tonight's review.

Pub Number 60: Henry J Beans
The evening's first establishment was Henry J. Bean's - "B. J. Henry's" - just a stone's throw from Clifford's Tower. The music wasn't too bad, but unlike its Manchester counterpart, there was a disappointing lack of poles (for dancing, not eastern Europeans). But with a rather large and original "GENESEE BEER & ALE" sign by our table, complete with reflective cats eyes, I'd have been quite happy to stay there for a while. But with the 1 drink per pub rule, we had to leave before getting too comfortable. An after-thought: toilets weren't too bad.

Pub Number 61: The Little John

Too much neon, not enough Neil...

Pub Number 62: The Lamb and Lion
It's a bit dark in here, isn't it? What are you trying to do? Grow your own mushrooms? Welcome to the Lamb & Lion. It felt a little bit naughty drinking here, being so close to the city walls. A few metres further north and this inn would not be in the pub crawl. It reminded Neil of the time when they didn't have the minimum 4 people to try out a new pub and for it to count, so they left the confines of the city! The highlight for me though was definitely the toilets, which had gold-plated locks and everything. It was pretty dark at our table, with just a candle for illumination, but it certainly added to the atmosphere. I was a little disappointed to hear, despite signs on the wall claiming "est. 1756," it's only been open about 6 months.

Pub Number 63: The Habit

Our fourth stop tonight was The Habit cafe bar on Goodramgate, named for a monk's cloak. L'habit ne fait pas le moine. There was a definite divide in tonight's clientele: those who like music (they were listening to the live band on the rather small ground floor) and those who like smoking (on the outdoor upstairs terrace). We made our own third group on the table by the window upstairs... until clumsy me went and knocked my pint over, so we had to move suddenly! It was a close call whether the Habit was better than the Lamb & Lion, but I think the general consensus was that it was, despite me having a nice poo in the former! By this point, I was a little bit drunk.

Friday, 12 June 2009

Back on the Crawl

After a long hiatus, it was time to get this crawl back on the road...

We realised that, if we are to complete our task within the allocated year, we needed a plan, because we still had 20 pubs to get through and only 4 weeks.

I created a google document to help plan the last few weeks of the crawl, therefore ensuring its ultimate success...

Pub Number 9: The Hansom Cab
Perhaps not the best strategy - to visit a pub we've already been to many times with so little time to complete the crawl, but one which we chose for the cheap drinks and quiet Saturday night drinking.

Pub Number 58: Guy Fawkes
Sat on a throne in the corner of this old fashioned and dimly lit pub, we speculated on rumours that the pub was so old that it had no electricity, hence the romantic candlelight. Then they called last orders and put the lights on which put an end to that argument...

Pub Number 59: (The New) Oscars
Oscars used to be around the corner from where it is now. The new place is still pretty swish, with heavy wooden tables and a decadent feel about the place. The men complained that there was only one toliet for them, but Paul managed to find a secret passage through to Narnia the Biltmore where he could gain relief without a long queue to wait in.

Finally, pub crawl progress was being made...

Monday, 6 April 2009

Pub Bores

Pub Number 55: Yates
Imagine a place where all the people in it are on hen nights, dressed in black T-Shirts with pink writing labelling them (ironically) as 'Classy Clare' or 'Awsome Audrey'. Add in some Topman be-shirted middle-aged blokes on the prowl for drunk hens. Imagine that this place plays the loudest of the loud tracks, spun by the very best amongst cheesy wedding DJs, complete with indecipherable mumbling between the tracks. Imagine the delighted squeals as Chesney Hawkes' voice rings out of the (probably) massive speakers. Imagine the even louder squeals when Brown Eyed Girl starts up and Tarty Tracey is given a shout out.

Add to this picture 4 quiet characters, sat shivering over a pint in their cold, dark, but slightly quieter corner, and you have a pretty accurate impression of 8:30 - 9:00pm on Saturday night.

Imagine having to fight your way through the wedding veil bedecked women in order to get out... urgh.

Pub Number 56: O'Neills
Following on from the Trauma of a Saturday Night in Yates', O'Neills brought to us a welcoming vibe. It was warm, bright, lively, not too loud, brilliant. But we're not sure whether those judgements are just in comparison to Yates' or in general. Looks like we'll need to go back to find out!

Lynne got through this much of her wine before we were forced to have a wine-drinking competition to finish it off.  

Paul won.

Pub Number 57: Plonkers
This is a great bar for lunch and dinner. It usually has a warm twinkling atmosphere, overpriced beer and uncomfortable bench seating in addition to chairs and stools. Tonight it was let down a bit by being very quiet, a bit wet (the stone floor), a bit cold, and having a rubbish quiz machine. I would recommend it for daytime and early evening drinking and dining, but Saturday night just doesn't cut the mustard.

In spite of the fact that it was only 11:30pm when we finished our drinks, we're all bored of pubs by now and so went home to bed.

Might be 4-8 weeks before we get back to crawling since Paul and I are off on a USA Roadtrip for the rest of April, But stay tuned.

Sunday, 15 March 2009

Herring and Pianos

Pub Number 54: Pitcher and Piano
It had been a fair wee while since we'd been to the Comedy Club at the city screen, so we returned to pub number 3  (this time the basement) to enjoy a few hours in the company of Richard Herring as he recounted his school days and made some rude jokes.  It finished at abut 10pm, and never ones to waste pub crawling opportunities (or energy) we made the 4 metre trek to the Pitcher and Piano for a quick drink.

This massive pub was quiet (as expected for a Sunday night) and pleasant in a trendy bar kind of way.  It's only downfall is that, no matter how many times I go in there, I can never remember where the toilets are.  I'm pretty sure they must have moved them at one point...

Saturday, 14 March 2009

Miniature Crooked Crawl

Pub Number 52: The Black Swan
The Black Swan is a great pub. It's old and crooked, like all good pubs should be and sells proper ale. There is only one bar but 3 ground floor rooms to choose from and 1 upstairs room which often has live music and comedy to fill it up. As James so aptly reviewed "I like this pub. It's full of wood". On this occasion we were joined by special guest crawler Ellie.

Pub Number 53: The Golden Fleece
The original premise behind this crawl was to make it an 'L' Shaped one, incorporating the Black Swan, The Golden Fleece and the Lamb and Lion (all pubs which contain Ls) However, because of our tardy ways and the tendency of such pubs to shut at 11pm this wasn't to be and the Golden Fleece was our final stop of the night where official pub crawl bisiness was concerned. The Golden Fleece is also 'Full of wood' and is a bit crooked. To Ellie's disdain, it is also (allegedly) haunted.

By virtue of the fact that this place is open late, opposite James' flat, in between Lynne and Neils and Mine and Paul's house and has a decent quiz machine, we ended up back there on our way home where we won £4 on the snooker game and Neil got into a (non-violent) fight.