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Cellars ready to roll
IF you have been in the city centre in the past week, there’s a fair chance that you’ll have noticed the return of one of York’s most popular pubs.
Lendal Cellars, in St Helen’s Square, closed late last year for some fairly hefty building work, but opened again last weekend.
The refurbishment was done alongside the creation of Jamie Oliver’s new Italian restaurant, due to open above the pub this summer, but it was all rather mysterious for a while. The builders’ boardings hid the site from public view and owners Greene King were quite coy about it when contacted – so it was with some curiosity that I headed down the familiar ramp on Wednesday to take a look.
It’s all change at the entrance, which now shares a tidier approach with the restaurant alongside, but the alterations in the pub itself were less obvious at first glance.
New furniture and lighting made it look a bit smarter than at times in the past, but there was no evident radical new approach – until you went downstairs.
A new back bar has been added and the far end of the lower cellar area now leads out into an all-new garden area, a welcome addition in a pub that could sometimes be quite stifling. Work is still going on, but should be completed over the next few days.
Back inside, there was a varied and reasonably priced menu, while the beer choice was impressive, with a fair range of lagers and more ales than before. My pint of Nottingham Brewery’s Legend, an easy-drinking bitter with a nice biscuit taste, was excellent. The brewery claims it’s a beer that will be talked about for generations, which seems a tad optimistic, but I did recommend it to a fellow enthusiast at work the next day.
John Arnold has returned as manager here, and if the past week is a fair barometer, then the signs are promising.
• LENDAL Cellars isn’t the only pub to have added a garden for York’s sun-seeking drinkers.
The Golden Lion in Church Street has created one on its roof, with about half a dozen tables and space for around 30 people.
Manager Rick Almond says the pub has been thriving since it was refurbished last autumn and he hopes the outdoor area will add more appeal.
“At the height of summer, there is nowhere to go – with an outside beer garden, it’s a better place to come for a drink,” he says.
“Business has been going fantastically and we have had a lot of good feedback.”
• THE festival season is getting into full swing once again. Here are some dates for the diary:
Friday to Sunday next weekend: The Slip in Clementhorpe has a festival with 25 beers, ciders and perries, as well as live music and hot food.
Friday to Saturday next weekend: Suddaby’s in Malton has a folk and beer festival, with 14 beers and music and workshops.
Next Thursday to Saturday: If you’re in East Yorkshire, the Hull Camra beer festival at Holy Trinity Parish Church should appeal, and will have about 70 beers.
April 27 to 28: The second Poppleton beer festival takes place at the Community Sports Pavilion in Millfield Lane, with an emphasis on Yorkshire micro-breweries.
April 27 to 29: The Fulford Arms has a festival with 16 Yorkshire ales.
• TWO breweries will be going head to head at The Waggon and Horses in Lawrence Street next Sunday. The Brew Co and Great Heck Brewery will each have three unmarked beers on the bar, with the first to sell out declared the winner. Brewery staff will also be there to answer questions.
• WOLD Top Brewery has launched a new IPA, called Scarborough Fair, the brewery’s first IPA.
• Common sense or nonsense? Follow Gav on twitter @pintsofview for beery news, views and chat throughout the week.