IT is, says Malcolm Tolladay, the opportunity he has been longing for.

Few pubs in York, he believes, offer as much potential. Now, he is determined to turn his hopes into reality.

At 5pm on Friday, following its very brief closure, Malcolm and his wife Fiona threw open the doors of their new business and first pub, The Winning Post in Bishopthorpe Road.

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"When we heard it was coming on the market, it was so ideal for us," says Malcolm. "It has such a great neighbourhood around it - it has the award-winning Bishopthorpe Road high street, the proximity to the racecourse, the new Chocolate Works site; it just seemed an excellent opportunity that we could both go into foot-first. There are very few pubs that could match this opportunity."

The pub is owned by Enterprise Inns, so its fortunes are not entirely in Malcolm and Fiona's hands, but certainly there are few remaining suburban pubs in York with as much space and scope as The Winning Post. It has a large function room, several distinct and spacious seating areas inside, and outdoor space at the front and back and, as Malcolm says, it has a potentially very favourable location.

It could certainly gain a broader local custom, and possibly even draw in business from elsewhere in the city, although changes so far have been gentle rather than radical.

The lounge area and toilets have been smartened up a bit and Malcolm and Fiona have added three cask ales: Saltaire Blonde, Caledonian Deuchars and Otter Ale. Other options on the bar include Moretti, Kronenbourg, Becks, John Smith's Smooth and Guinness.

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Barman Nick Scott at The Winning Post

Malcolm and Fiona plan to introduce cold food options very soon, then traditional hot pub meals in the New Year, once the kitchen has been improved. They plan also to give the overgrown beer garden a make-over, but other changes inside will be carefully considered.

"The pub has not been touched in a long time, but that could be in our favour. It is quite an art deco building, with old light fittings, original urinals in the toilets, and such like. We have been modernising and refurbishing but keeping its original character; renovating with regard for original features.

"After this initial phase, we plan to do further work on the function room then move to other areas. We want to make use of the function room for all and sundry really: birthday parties, family events and gatherings, live bands and also for local interest groups around the area.

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  • The Winning Post will be open from 5pm to 11pm on Mondays to Thursdays, 5pm to midnight on Fridays, noon to midnight on Saturdays and noon to 11pm on Sundays.