ONE of York’s most popular pubs is to undergo a major refurbishment and expansion.

Brigantes, in Micklegate, is to extend into the empty property next door, adding a new dining room to increase capacity.

Landlord Kev Jones said the existing part of the pub would also be tidied up and refurbished, but promised the ambience and focus would not change.

He said the shape of the pub’s interior was currently narrow but deep, meaning it could often look more crowded from the street than it was.

He said: “On a Friday or Saturday night, if you are new to York and do not know what we are about, then you may see a big crowd of people round the bar and it will not look the kind of place you could go into for a nice relaxing meal.

“It does not do justice to the quality of the foods the chefs are producing. We want something more complementary for a dining experience.”

Mr Jones said his regulars were generally excited by the plans.

He said: “I tell them we are not going further down the food route and pushing drinkers out. Beers will remain just as important for us.”

As well as the addition of the dining room, the refurbishment will involve an overhaul of the toilets, the installation of a beer display cabinet to better showcase the pub’s bottled range and the addition of new seating.

The building next door, into which Brigantes will expand, was previously Relay Recruitment, but has been empty for over a year.

Brigantes won the best real ale pub category in The Press Pub Awards 2011 and was named pub of the year in 2008 and 2011 by the York branch of the Campaign For Real Ale.

The pub will close on Sunday night for the refurbishment and reopen on Friday, April 19, with a range of specially selected beers and samples from the new menu available.