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More to Maltings
GAVIN AITCHISON welcomes a new look for an old York favourite.
YOU don’t need to be a devoted pub-goer to have clocked the latest development in York’s beer scene.
If you have crossed Lendal Bridge in the past month or so, or walked along Rougier Street, you have probably seen it for yourself.
Builders, scaffolders and glazers have all been trudging in and out of Tanner’s Moat since the early summer, creating one of York’s most eagerly awaited pub extensions in years. Now, the work is complete – and The Maltings is a pub transformed.
For those who have not yet seen it, here’s what has happened: A new extension has been built on the small patch of waste land that sat to the left of the pub as you looked at it from the street.
Part of the left-hand wall as you enter has been knocked through and a whole new room constructed in the space.
A small outdoor area has been created just beyond that, facing on to the newer of the Aviva buildings. And a new kitchen and toilets have been added for good measure.
The end result is that the pub has almost doubled its floor space and owner Anita Adams-Weatherstone estimates the turnover will increase by 50 per cent, enabling it to continue to prosper.
You can’t fault the ambition, and most drinkers would no doubt wish this place every success. Landlords Maxine and Shaun Collinge (Anita’s daughter and son-in-law) have built a great reputation here in the past 20 years, maintaining The Maltings as one of the city’s best real ale pubs year on year, and they’ll be eager to build the business and add to what they do.
Not that it will have been an easy, risk-free decision. Part of The Maltings’ allure has always been its compactness; its small enclosed nature creating a buzz that’s hard to replicate in bigger pubs. I suspect I wasn’t alone in fearing that distinctive atmosphere may be diminished by the changes.
The loss of the original wall has also inevitably meant the removal or relocation of some of the quirky decor and furnishings that had come to characterise The Maltings, and that too seemed a shame.
But hey, progress is progress – and it’s amazing how quickly the novel seems natural. A fair number of us already seem to be making ourselves at home again, and everyone I’ve spoken to so far seems impressed.
The contractors have done an excellent job emulating the original style, notably with the dark-stained doors on the ceiling, and many of the old curios have been accommodated in the new room. On top of that, there are great new benefits to behold...
The glass doors leading outside mean that, when the sun shines, you see the pub in a whole different light – literally. For smokers and sun-seekers, the garden (albeit small) is a godsend. And for those happier indoors, the fresh air coming through is a pleasant relief.
It remains to be seen what Shaun and Maxine have in mind, but the new space should also lend itself to more events such as meet the brewer evenings, and also allow more people to enjoy the regular live music.
And, last but not least of course, there’s the very simple bonus of more space for us beery diehards, who just like to set up camp here after a long week at work, and revel in the fantastic drinks selection. The 20 or so beers and ciders on tap remain as diverse and impressive as ever, invariably focusing on Yorkshire but with selected stars from elsewhere.
Highlights this week have included Hop Studio Gold, Bristol Beer Factory Independence, and Bikini Porter from North Riding, all tremendous beers from tremendous breweries, two of them based on our own doorstep.
That, for me, is reason enough to keep The Maltings near the top of any list of York pubs – wherever you choose to sit.
• Follow Gav on twitter @pintsofview