Top Ten Bars in York

With the York Food and Drink Festival now in full swing, and having already shared my top ten places for food in York, I thought it was now time to share my top places to go for a drink. York has an incredible number of bars and pubs and in recent years it has become very popular with hen and stag parties for that reason. Consequently, on weekends and race days you will have to expect places to be busy and loud. However, due to the range of establishments you are likely to find somewhere a little quieter and it means there is plenty of choice depending on what you like to drink!

Cocktail Bars

I’m a big fan of cocktails, and there are an abundance of cocktail bars in York. Midweek they are much quieter than weekends, and many offer purse friendly deals (2 for 1 etc). Here are a few of my favourites…

Evil Eye

Anyone who is familiar with York will have heard of Evil Eye. Rumoured to be Johnny Depp’s favourite bar, it describes itself as “home of the bizzarre, weird and wonderful”. It has an extensive menu which is helpfully split into sections with names such as ‘fruity’ and ‘creamy’. I’ve never eaten here, but I’ve heard that the food is also worth trying.


Despite its full name being Lucia Wine Bar, I love coming to Lucia’s for cocktails. A lot of the favourites can be bought in a pitcher, which it makes it better value if in a group. Paradise in Yorkshire is the one to try – absolutely delicious!

Pitcher and Piano

Pitcher and Piano isn’t really a York special as they appear all over the country, but in York it is right next to the river, making it a great place to come in the summer and sit outside. The cocktails are tasty, and I’m also a fan of the food.


Two for one cocktails meant that Banyan was somewhere I could afford as a student, but it still felt a bit classy. For some reason they do insist on playing rather odd music videos on the screens, but other than that it is a nice place to come and relax midweek (it’s a bit busier at weekends). They also have a great food menu – I recommend the salted caramel and chocolate torte with honeycomb ice cream!


York is a real ale lover’s paradise and has an abundance of great pubs offering reasonably priced beers. I’m personally not a beer fan, but I still love these pubs.

The King’s Arms

The King’s Arms is iconic as the pub that floods, situated right next to the River Ouse. It floods so often that the beer cellar is actually a beer attic! However, when the weather is good and it is open, it’s cheap and in a great location for soaking up the sun. It is also the only pub I’ve been to with such an organised queue system.

The Lamb and Lion Inn

The Lamb and Lion is one of my favourites simply due to its location. It is situated just inside the city walls, with the city wall forming one of the boundaries of the lovely beer garden. Inside is cosy, with a series of small rooms which are perfect for a large group.

The House of Trembling Madness

If you like ale or mead, this is the place to come. If you don’t, it’s worth a trip anyway. The House of Trembling Madness is a Medieval Ale House with lots of character. The shop sells an incredible range of beer and spirits, whilst the bar itself is a great place to come on a wintery evening and enjoy a mulled wine. It’s not very big and gets warm very quickly, but if you can get a table it is worth trying.


Located just off the Shambles, Pivni is located in a sixteenth century timber framed building with plenty of character. There are numerous floors (although remember there are steep stairs to come back down at the end of your night!). Pivni is another place to go for craft ale, but they do have plenty of other drinks on offer too.

Gin Bars

Gin currently seems to be going through a resurgence in popularity, and whilst there are plenty more places in York that offer gin than the two I’ve chosen – I’d recommend giving these ones a try.


If you don’t know it’s there, Sotanos can be easily overlooked. Through a non-descript doorway and down a flight of stairs, it’s a fairly compact bar and is a little on the pricey side. However, if you like gin it’s fantastic! They have over 27 gins and are happy to give recommendations based on what you like. I like my gin with orange, and was served one that went incredibly well with orange juice – perfect.


The Duke of York

More of a pub, The Duke of York is part of the Leeds Brewery family and is in the Good Beer Guide 2017. However if you don’t like beer, it’s also a great place to come as they have a gin bar which serves your classic G&T (or G&O in my case) with a selection of interesting accompaniments. Last time I went, my gin was served with a slice of grapefruit and sprinkling of peppercorns.

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