CHANGE is afoot at one of York's smallest pubs.
You might not notice if you walk past outside. But at the back of the building, hidden from the street, the latest phase of a long-planned redevelopment that could eventually turn this into a vibrant brew-pub is taking shape.
The Slip Inn, in Clementhorpe, has undergone seismic shifts in recent years. Up until 2010, it was one of the simplest, most-tranquil, small-c conservative pubs in York.
Licensee Brenda Robinson was the longest-serving landlady in York and had run The Slip for 29 years with little fanfare. It was a lovely pub with a charming atmosphere, but there was little beerwise to draw casual customers down from the beery brilliance and blissful bustle of The Swan, up on the main road.
Today, however, The Slip is one of the liveliest and most-discussed beer pubs in York and a venue where constancy and continuity have been replaced by bold ambition.
Paul Crossman and Jon Farrow bought this pub in 2008 and took over the reins when Brenda retired in 2010.
Almost immediately the beer change became more varied and changeable; exciting new events and festivals have been organised; and it's hosted frequent live music.
The extension takes shape
There have always been bigger plans for the site though, and those are now beginning to come to fruition.
If you're familiar with the pub and visit today, you will find the back wall of the pub is about ten feet further back than you remember. The front bar area of the pub is unchanged but the back room has been extended, increasing capacity day-to-day but also crucially creating more space for performing bands.
The more open view of the side room
The partition wall between the back room and the darts room, or snug, has been kept but lowered creating an open-plan feel. Some may well miss the solitude and privacy that the smaller room offered, but the case for greater open-ness, particularly during festivals and events, is compelling.
And in any case, if the whole redevelopment continues as planned, then a new snug may be created down the line.
Paul and Jon's plans, you see, don't end with the extension. They've already done some work to improve the garden (pictured below) and hope later to convert the outbuilding into a glass-fronted microbrewery. Planning permission is already in place.
On top of that, they hope to create a new purpose-built cellar in the yard beside the pub building, giving staff direct access from the bar to the cellar. And, in doing so, they intend to take the current 'cellar,' which is essentially a large walk-in cupboard, and turn it into a snug.