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Tap is right on track
GAVIN AITCHISON visits the eagerly awaited York Tap, the city’s newest pub.
THE waiting is over. After months of speculation, anticipation and mounting excitement, it’s finally open. And isn’t it stunning?!
Among beer-lovers, all eyes have been fixed firmly on one place this week, and there are no prizes for guessing where.
York Tap, which opened at the station on Wednesday, is surely the most eagerly awaited pub opening York has ever known. In fact, not since York Brewery opened in 1996 has there been such a significant development in York’s beer scene at all. So... what’s it like and has it lived up to the hype, I hear you ask. You won’t be surprised that I went to find out.
It’s never ideal to judge a place in its first week, before it has smoothed any rough edges. But such has been the interest level here that it’s impossible not to try. Everyone I know seems to have been asking me about it, and twitter was abuzz on Wednesday as enthusiastic punters gave their thoughts.
Is it perfect? Not yet. The circular bar means a prominent beer list on the wall is essential, and hand dryers didn’t go in the gents until yesterday.
There has also been a slight hiccup with some of the beer valves, but those things can be easily rectified and, once they are, there should be no looking back.
For on the bigger issues, the ones that will keep people coming back over and over and over again, the Tap excels.
The restoration work is spectacular, showcasing the 100-year-old building superbly. It’s quite galling to think how long the stained glass and intricate fixtures were hidden away, behind black boards and the model railway.
The building is listed for a reason, and owners Pivovar have shown it off beautifully. It’s £250,000 well spent.
Inside, the central island bar gives the pub a great balance, spreading customers around the room. You’re never too far from the bar, wherever you are. And the beer range, the thing that people have talked about more than anything else, is just sublime.
Fancy a light, golden ale? Bingo – there’s Jarl from Fyne Ales in Scotland, 3.8 per cent ABV and almost implausibly refreshing.
Fancy a rich, chewy porter? Try the Tempest Elemental, packed full of roasted malt and oozing flavour.
Fancy something completely different all together?
How about the cranberry pilsner from Opat in the Czech Republic? Distinctive, but delicious.
Whatever you fancy, you’ll find a beer here to suit.
Manager Yan Pilkington has done a fantastic job, hunting down rare beers and persuading breweries to give him unique products or first shout on new ones.
There are, in total, 32 beers on tap and dozens in the fridges and – despite some fears to the contrary – the prices are eminently reasonable: cask ales start at £2.60 a pint, comparable with many city pubs.
I was privileged to get a sneak preview on Tuesday, and I loved it. I returned on Wednesday, and loved it some more.
The beers are awesome, the building stunning, the branded glasses chic, and the whole experience a joy. It’s unlike anything else in York. And if you’ve not been yet, then get yourself along. Waiting for trains will never be the same again.
Here’s what some others on Twitter thought of York Tap this week:
feralstrumpet My new local, The York Tap, is open. Five minutes away, a world of #beer in a listed Victorian building full of stained glass. Heaven.
Follow Gav at twitter.com/pintsofview for beery news, views and chat.