GAVIN AITCHISON looks forward to the opening of two new pubs in York.

Few days can have been as eagerly awaited by York beer lovers as next Friday. Not since York Tap opened at the station two years ago has there been such chatter of anticipation among drinkers – and little wonder.

Just six days from now, the city will welcome not one but two brand new pubs, thanks to two of Yorkshire’s most respected breweries. Ossett Brewery is opening The Hop York in Fossgate and Leeds Brewery is opening The Duke of York in King’s Square.

Let’s start with Leeds Brewery’s transformation of the former estate agent’s at the southern end of King’s Square, a project that could easily have passed you by in recent weeks while hidden behind the city council’s own extensive reconfiguration of the area.

New fittings and furnishings have been installed but the developers have sought also to showcase some of the charms of the older parts of the site, which consists of several buildings that have morphed into one over the years.

The two lower floors will be open to the public, with the upper window offering a captivating view over the square and up Petergate towards the Minster. The two higher floors give even better views, but will be private offices and the manager’s flat respectively.

Leeds Brewery was founded (and is still run) by University of York graduates Michael Brothwell and Sam Moss, who both live in York. The firm has been looking for a site here for three years and is delighted with its choice.

The pub will showcase Leeds’s core beer range – including Leodis lager, Pale, Best, Midnight Bell and Yorkshire Gold – and will also feature a range of beers from other Yorkshire brewers.

There will also be a varied menu, similar to that in the brewery’s existing pubs in Leeds, says Michael, and he is confident the Duke of York will appeal to anyone and everyone.

“Whether you’re taking grandmother for Sunday lunch, your girlfriend for a meal on a Tuesday night or going out with your friends on a Friday night, our pub is right for all those things,” he says.

Two minutes’ walk away, The Hop is also shaping up to be a destination pub as well as an integral stop on many crawls or circuits.

Ossett has slotted beautifully into this late Victorian building, which was once a fishmonger’s shop and has more recently been Fellini’s Italian restaurant and then Leila’s tearoom.

The ageing, glazed brickwork is a stand-out feature here and Ossett has given it prominence, while also decorating the floor in a similar style.

The long bar dominates the front part of the building, with a more spacious area towards the back, where stone-baked pizzas will be served – a nod to the recent Fellini’s era.

On the bar will be Ossett’s core range of Yorkshire Blonde, Big Red, Silver King and Excelsior, plus four rotating guests, including from some of the Ossett-owned micro-breweries such as Fernandes and Rat. Ossett’s seasonal specials, such as the winter warmer Treacle Stout, will also feature.

This will be the brewery’s fourth “Hop” pub, following the success of others in Wakefield, Sheffield and Leeds, and manager Tom Baker comes with experience from working in all three.

As well as excellent beer and pizza, customers can look forward to regular live unplugged, acoustic music, says Tom. And, like Michael at the Duke of York, he says his pub will also appeal to everyone.

“I have never heard anyone say a bad word about York,” he says. “We just want to do it justice.”

The signs are certainly promising – and in just six days’ time, we’ll be able to see for ourselves.

Beer festival

All JD Wetherspoon’s pubs are taking part in the company’s beer festival from October 16 to 31.

The highlight is the inclusion of ten American craft beers, many of which have never before been available in the UK.

The York pubs are The Punch Bowl in Blossom Street and The Postern Gate in Piccadilly, while those in Selby can head to The Giant Bellflower in Gowthorpe.

Twitter: @pintsofview