IT'S out with the old and in with the new at three York pubs, with new looks, new plans and new management.

Let's start at The Nag's Head in Heworth.

Jason Hawkins has taken over as licensee there, following the departure of Jim Melsom. He had been overseeing the pub for a few weeks, and officially became licensee between Christmas and New Year, with Kevin Savage as day-to-day manager.

This is Jason's fourth pub - and it marks yet another homecoming for him.

In the 1970s and 80s, his mum and dad Mary and Ron ran The Three Tuns in Coppergate, The Corner Pin in Tanner Row and The Nag's Head. Jason grew up in those pubs - and has now followed in his parents' footsteps at all three.

He also took on The Corner Pin in the middle of last year, but left again in October after he and the owners Marston's found they couldn't reach a long-term agreement.

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The move to The Nag's Head came as a surprise, he says. Indeed when he spoke to The Press last June, he said he didn't envisage ever adding that to his portfolio.

But, he says, Enterprise Inns approach him out of the blue and asked if he was interested, and he leapt at the chance.

"It's going really well," he says. "We have just refurbished the bedrooms and have plans for a new beer garden at the front, and we are re-doing the food menu. We're also re-introducing a lot of the teams - football, darts and dominoes and any other teams."

Jason's children go to Heworth CE Primary School, opposite the pub, and he plans to help raise funds for school activities, to help cement the pub at the heart of the community.

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Across the city in Fawcett Street, changes have also been happening at The Woolpack.

It has been closed for the past week for a mini refurbishment, but will have reopened at 6 o'clock last night, all being well.

Landlord Steve Bradley says the work has been a "general spruce-up" rather than a major overhaul, but says the pub is also refining what it sells, to focus on the most popular products.

He says 90 per cent of sales were from beer, so a few of the other options are being reduced. There will be four rotating cask ales at all times, still with a Yorkshire focus, as well as Kozel, Grolsch, Staropramen, Carlsberg, a rotating guest keg beer and two ciders. The spirit range will be kept to a small selection of "premium products," Steve says.

"We won't quite be a micro-pub," he says, "but we will be a bit more specialist."

Steve has been at The Woolpack for just over a year now, and says they are managing to do well in a tough climate. He now has plans for more live music.

Finally, we should belatedly also mention the recent facelift at The Golden Lion in Church Street, where work was completed a few weeks before Christmas. New fittings and furnishings have been added to freshen the pub up a little, but the pub remains fundamentally as it was before.

Manager Gary Willis says: "Customers like it, and it has been received really well."