|A perfect pint of a now defunct Brass Castle beer - classic Blue Bell.|
82. BRIGANTES, York - Opening in 2006, this pub was revolutionary in immediately introducing a no smoking policy a year before it was due. This gave it lots of bad Press, with moaning minis like a certain C.Milner and old men writing into the Evening Press to complain about unpubby smells like toilets, coffee and bleach. Now commonplace! A year into "dice nights", we now needed an excuse to incorporate this pub into things so I came up with ACDC (the Autoglass Cup Dice Challenge) involving York's 33-64th ranked pubs. The likes of Stacey J and NatCsquared were present as Brigantes triumphed over Gillygate 5-3 and we realised we had a new good pub on the scene. Nine years on, it still suffers from a newness but it is bedding in and has been as consistent as any York pub over the past few years.
|John says "cowabunga, what a great pub!" at Brigantes|
83. GOLDEN BALL, York - 2003 and John (pictured above) moved to York and we spent the next couple of years exploring our new GBG's and as a result, visiting a lot of York pubs for the first time - and I believed the likes of this one were in some kind of enchanted far away suburb until one day I was at our then favourite Ackhorne and realised Golden Ball was about 2 mins down the street. I cannot put a time frame on it so will say early 2004 as it was dark and nippy but my first visit here was unique in that it was like no other since, thank goodness. Lots of young athletic black men and perky giggly blonde girls clad in tight fitting Wells Bombardier t-shirts ran around the pub offering a full front room of students tasters of Bombardier, there was even a huge St George's cross hanging up - could it have been St George's day 2004? An intriguing thought. By the time dice nights started a year later, this became a classic place to visit, still retaining 'novelty factor' for a few more years til I moved and it became something of a local. It had a dodgy spell around 2010/11 but since being taken over by the community, it has actually got better and better. Love it in every way.
84. MALTINGS, York - A very early visiting pub for me, it's famous in York so it stands to reason I had the urge to go, possibly before the Bluebell but definitely around the same time as I remember Lu having to lie about her age to a bouncer and quickly change her date of birth to "8th May Nineteen Eighty errrrm THREE?" No idea how she got away with it but that suggests it was 2001. We ordered strange foreign bottles that night but we had no idea what to make of them and Lu left some of hers for me. However, I also remember going in there and ordering a pint of Grolsch and thinking "HA take that you beer drinkers!" which I reckon was 2000, I may have been temping nearby at Norwich Union. I've trawled my phone for pics of here or the Ball, to no avail, ridiculous! This is a great pub, always a fantastic pint, but doesn't ever seem to do well in our dice competitions. Maybe the extension a couple of years ago will change it's luck.
85 - MINSTER INN, York - "Double Pig!" I have no idea when I first came here, I think JW2 may have popped in on his way home from work having seen it in our new GBG's and recommended that we visit on one of our pre-dice nights in 03/04 season. Early experiences seemed to centre around the front side room and dodging a floor full of docile dogs. What I like about this pub is good staff, funny locals, multi-roomed and old school and it took me an incredible amount of time to realise the beer range was actually limited to the Marston's range (should be in East Yorks - ha!) but the pub really stands out for the fantastic games room, okay so that is usually limited to duplo, double pig, playing with an irritating knitted character and that weird 'ball in the holes' thing.
|Enjoying a pint of Sneck in the Minster Inn|
|City walled beer garden fun on a hot evening at Phoenix, July 2013|
|Easter 2013 and Pivni action in the first night of the current FUCKDUP dice competition|
89. SLIP INN, York - The "Crawl of Neglect" (slogan - "the CON is on") was one the most underrated dice games of yesteryear where we'd select an area of York where we didn't know the pubs so well and visit 4 in a night. Whilst the Groves crawl sticks in my mind the most, the one which took us here for the first time has to go down in memory (I'm thinking 2006) as back then, this pub was a rough local serving John Smith's only with a rumour that Maxine Carr was living opposite! We came back once more, Milner loving its 'old skool' feel. Me and JW2 like our old pubs, but friendly as it was, this was a dump which made the Cygnet look like a Wetherspoons. News it was being taken over by the Swan people filled me, JW2 and Jig with joy. Milner thought it was the beginning of the end (it was for him), Krzb having read something also had reservations that they were going to make it all fancy and restauranty, and when we then visited to find a very half finished look pub (which it still is today), complained they'd not done much with it, proving some people are never happy. At time of writing, this is as good pub as any in York and is starting to eclipse it's neighbour.
|Slip Inn, Bank Hol Aug 2012 at the starts of a "wall crawl".|
90. SWAN, York - And speaking of it's neighbour, yes we really are spoilt for pubs in York and if you are asking me for the best York pub 2004-2014, this would be the winner. Despite a lack lustre recent visit (I blame the still French Tour De France pub sign), this has been the model of consistency in York over the last ten years. I believe my first visit was 2004 or 2005 and when dice nights kicked off, this was the only pub that could challenge the then brilliant Ackhorne for the title of best pub. We were often just content to stand in the magnificent hallway bit, playing on the games machine. Getting served has always been a problem here due to people sitting at the bar which I'm now putting down to admiring the heritage of the building rather than "getting in the way". The rooms, especially the cosy one on the right were just impossible to get sat in. More recently, we always get a place in here. Is this the economy or the pub going downhill? I also think the beer was marginally better - the Salamander, Anglo Dutch and Abbeydales they had circa 2005 were simply first class quality. Or have my tastes changed? Still, you've got to consider this a classic, my heritage book would agree.
|Lu gags me from potential negative comment at the brilliant Swan|
So there we go, nostalgia overload as we approach 10 years of dice nights in Feb 2015. Two more York pubs still to come, so next time we'll incorporate them with some of the places we were looking at before this little interlude.