JAMIE Hawksworth beams excitedly as he wanders round his site, stepping carefully to avoid cables, cones and a bucket catching drips.

He is oozing eager anticipation, like a cup-winning captain about to receive his trophy.

"This project is giving something back to York," he says, looking around proudly.

He taps a bare unfinished wall and begins a guided tour of what will be. "This is where the bar will start," he says. "It will sweep right round this front section."

We move to the corner, where the front door will eventually stand, and look back inwards. I see a building site; Jamie sees his vision taking shape.

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Jamie Hawksworth and Sam Wheatley, seen from what will become the main entrance

This is the all-important vantage point, he says - customers' first view as they enter. Over there will be a spiral staircase; here will be some stools; there the staff area.

And the whole thing will be surrounded by huge windows, so passers-by can see in and customers can see out - from certain tables, all the way up Parliament Street.

The spiral staircase will lead down to a room with space for 24 customers, and through that will be one of Jamie's proudest features, a central room with four close-knit booths, with the bar's name in lights above: The Pavement Vaults.

This is York's new bar and restaurant in waiting. For the past six months it has been a construction site, hidden from view behind the boards next to Sainsbury's, where Jessops once stood. But in around seven weeks, the hoardings will be out, the hordes will be in, and the renovation of the White Swan hotel, empty and neglected for 30 years in York, will be complete.

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Most of the old White Swan building was empty for 30 years

What will it be like? Jamie says he can't wait for the windows to be put in, all around the frontage, so people can see what lies in wait. For now, all he says is that the closest match he has found in a New York bar called Schiller's, another client of one of their suppliers.

"The guy we had bought our roof tiles from said he would show us what they looked like, so we looked at pictures of this bar and it felt ridiculous, because this was exactly what we had been edging towards all along."

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Jamie and his York-based company Pivovar have already brought us Pivní and York Tap, as well as Sheffield Tap, Euston Tap, Harrogate Tap and Tapped Leeds elsewhere.

Now, having well and truly mastered beer bars, this marks a diversification. Here, food, beer and cocktails all stand shoulder to shoulder.

Andy Annat, a world barbecue finalist and three-time UK champion, will be in charge of the food, developing the menu and training up a new team in the kitchen. This will be a proper smokehouse, a carnivore's paradise, and the kitchen and butchery will be visible through a replica of a vintage shopfront, modelled on those in nearby Shambles.

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Four booths will be fitted in this downstairs room, with The Pavement Vaults in lights on the wall

Full-time beer and cocktail sommeliers will also be appointed and customers will be advised on ideal drink and food pairings, under the guidance of manager Sam Wheatley, formerly of Sotano in Little Stonegate.

Sam is currently looking to recruit his staff, and he and Jamie are keen to hire as locally as possible.

"We have had some good CVs though but we think we can have a better diversity of people to train up," Jamie says. "We have the world's best barbecue chef, and we don't want to just take people from Leeds.

"This is a York venue for York people, and we would much rather be training up York's aspirational chefs. We are talking unique skills here. We are looking to fill positions at all levels, from supervisors to cocktail staff to high-end bar tenders."

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Work is ongoing in the site

And as for the beer?

There will be 20 beers on the bar all told, covering keg and cask, from around the UK, Europe and beyond.

"We are working on a few different things," says Jamie. "It ought to be different here with different things to elsewhere. Pivovar has access to some of the best breweries in the UK, and we are working on some collaborations."

But while he's keeping most things up his sleeve, he lets one slip....

Four years ago, Jamie and colleagues took a cask of Thornbridge's St Petersburg stout, poured the contents into an old whisky cask, then left it in their warehouse. A few weeks ago, overcome by curiosity, he drilled a small hole in the cask and was blown away by the way the beer had changed and developed.

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If that makes it on to the bar, beer enthusiasts from all over the country will be hot-footing it to York. But whatever lies in wait, The Pavement Vaults looks like being another high-class addition to York's food and drink scene.

The opening is pencilled in for mid-November, with a trial menu for the first few weeks.

Top image above: By Pixonomy on flickr. Used under Creative Commons licence.