'77-year drought' ends on Shambles

York Press: The Globe, pictured in the 1930s The Globe, pictured in the 1930s

GAVIN AITCHISON visits the first pub in Shambles in nearly 80 years

THE year is 1936. The location: Shambles in York. In The Globe, staff from the butchers’ shops up and down the street are drinking away their pay and discussing the day’s trading.

Most are drinking Magnet. A few with local loyalties are enjoying Hunt’s Nut Brown, brewed just a few hundred yards away in Aldwark. The evening is slipping away and with each beer sold, the conversation gathers pace.

Sports fans are discussing Sunderland’s relentless march towards the Football League title. By the bar, a few are swapping jokes about the new king, Edward VIII – blissfully unaware of the abdication crisis about to unfold.

The barmaid is enjoying one of those new Aero bars that her friends have been talking about, a gift from a regular after her heart. And then the bombshell drops. Landlady Mrs Powell, grim-faced, breaks the news. After more than a century, The Globe – aptly named, as it means the world to these devotees – is to close.

History has not recorded quite how the last few nights really panned out. But it appears The Globe closed for the final time in early 1936, and with its loss York’s most famous street became dry.

Who would have guessed then that it would be 77 years before beer flowed freely on Shambles again?

Drinkers of the 1930s would be amazed by the street’s transformation from a meat market into a tourist hot-spot. But were they to return, they would find solace towards the top end. Three years ago, the opening of a sausage shop brought butchery of a sort back to the street. And now, the shop next door, Number 44, has become Ye Old Shambles Tavern – a little goldmine for beer lovers; an oasis after a 77-year drought.

Those inter-war drinkers would be bewildered by the choice here too. Magnet and Hunt’s are long gone but there are two cask ales and 60 bottled beers to choose from.

Adrian and Vicky Pettitt, from the Yorkshire Ales shop in Snaith, have teamed up with Tavern owner Sue Woodward, who has developed the gift-shop and café that had stood here for the previous five years. They have supplied beers from 16 regional breweries, including Hop Studio, Wold Top, Acorn, Rudgate, Wharefebank and Brown Cow, all lined up proudly in the ground-floor front room.

The small bar is there too, and there are rooms to the back and upstairs for customers, who can also choose from a range of hot drinks, soft drinks, light meals, snacks and cakes.

The Tavern may well appeal more to tourists, keen on a piece of “ye old” York and on the pleasant views over Shambles. There are touches that feel a little out of place, not least the suit of armour standing guard by the upstairs door. But locals should give it a try, particularly those who want somewhere family-friendly that still offers consistently good beer.

At £4 a bottle, it is not cheap but the range is vast and some of the options exceptional. The bottles from Mallinson’s and Yorkshire Dales are always excellent, but Santa’s Tipple by Great Yorkshire Brewery in Cropton stood out for me.

It was described on the label as a “warm, spicy winter beer, infused with vanilla, chocolate, orange and anise”, a concoction that would no doubt have received short thrift had it been offered in The Globe eight decades ago.

Even by the standards of today’s experimental brewers and curious drinkers, it sounded bizarre. But it worked a treat. The orange was only scarcely detectable but the chocolate, vanilla and above all the anise were prominent.

The end result was a silky smooth, black beer that oozed rich, bitter-sweet flavours.

Even when the glass had been drained, the aroma hung in the air and I was still tasting aniseed as I walked home half an hour later, pausing only to glance at what was once The Globe, and to ponder again its long-lost regulars.

Twitter @pintsofview

 

Comments (8)

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9:20pm Sat 21 Dec 13

SIrPeter says...

You could have got a picture of The Globe from the York Council Picture archive. Search Shambles.
You could have got a picture of The Globe from the York Council Picture archive. Search Shambles. SIrPeter

8:21am Sun 22 Dec 13

CaroleBaines says...

Looks good - will give it a go. :-)
Looks good - will give it a go. :-) CaroleBaines

9:17am Sun 22 Dec 13

Fat Harry says...

FOUR QUID a bottle!?

Bet they'll blame the smoking ban and the Lendal Bridge closure when it all goes Pete Tong.
FOUR QUID a bottle!? Bet they'll blame the smoking ban and the Lendal Bridge closure when it all goes Pete Tong. Fat Harry

11:30am Sun 22 Dec 13

dmw2008 says...

Fat Harry wrote:
FOUR QUID a bottle!?

Bet they'll blame the smoking ban and the Lendal Bridge closure when it all goes Pete Tong.
You have to remember we are on The Shambles.

Whilst I agree £4 is slightly expensive, you must also remember the street is arguably York's "must see" street and is 95% of the time full of tourists where the aim is. Tourists down there will have no problem in paying £4 for a bottle, especially when the word "local" is thrown in there.

The other thing of course will be the rent..given it being on The Shambles, I imagine it'll probably need a fair bit to cover.
[quote][p][bold]Fat Harry[/bold] wrote: FOUR QUID a bottle!? Bet they'll blame the smoking ban and the Lendal Bridge closure when it all goes Pete Tong.[/p][/quote]You have to remember we are on The Shambles. Whilst I agree £4 is slightly expensive, you must also remember the street is arguably York's "must see" street and is 95% of the time full of tourists where the aim is. Tourists down there will have no problem in paying £4 for a bottle, especially when the word "local" is thrown in there. The other thing of course will be the rent..given it being on The Shambles, I imagine it'll probably need a fair bit to cover. dmw2008

1:09pm Sun 22 Dec 13

TomSan says...

Well done to all concerned,but will we be seeing the Shambles going back to the middle ages with drunken bodies laid in the gutters or is it catering for the more refined drinkers??????
Well done to all concerned,but will we be seeing the Shambles going back to the middle ages with drunken bodies laid in the gutters or is it catering for the more refined drinkers?????? TomSan

12:03am Mon 23 Dec 13

Wild Swan says...

Called in today. Two very good draught beers on offer, at a more reasonable £3.50 per pint (given the location). The focus is very much on quality beer from small, local producers - and as far as alcohol goes, it's beer only, so no wine or spirits. A very good effort which deserves to succeed.
Called in today. Two very good draught beers on offer, at a more reasonable £3.50 per pint (given the location). The focus is very much on quality beer from small, local producers - and as far as alcohol goes, it's beer only, so no wine or spirits. A very good effort which deserves to succeed. Wild Swan

10:37am Mon 23 Dec 13

Zetkin says...

Wild Swan wrote:
Called in today. Two very good draught beers on offer, at a more reasonable £3.50 per pint (given the location). The focus is very much on quality beer from small, local producers - and as far as alcohol goes, it's beer only, so no wine or spirits. A very good effort which deserves to succeed.
Beer only?

That's sold it to me.

Now, someone tell me there's no lager, and I'll take up residence.
[quote][p][bold]Wild Swan[/bold] wrote: Called in today. Two very good draught beers on offer, at a more reasonable £3.50 per pint (given the location). The focus is very much on quality beer from small, local producers - and as far as alcohol goes, it's beer only, so no wine or spirits. A very good effort which deserves to succeed.[/p][/quote]Beer only? That's sold it to me. Now, someone tell me there's no lager, and I'll take up residence. Zetkin

7:47pm Mon 23 Dec 13

Pinza-C55 says...

We need a survey of which streets in York don't have a pub. There must be some left.
We need a survey of which streets in York don't have a pub. There must be some left. Pinza-C55

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