THE new licensee of one of York’s most famous and historic pubs says it needs to evolve in order to survive.

Antony Pratt has taken over the running of the Minster Inn, which re-opened on Saturday after closing earlier this month.

Antony, 33, who owns Yorkshire-based pub group Ainsty Inns, says the Marygate pub will start selling food in the near future and it has already introduced a wider range of spirits and bottled beers. There are also plans to refurbish the pub, which will involve creating a new kitchen.

Mr Pratt said: “There are plans to do refurbishment work to the property but sympathetic to the heritage of the building. We want to keep this pub alive for the community.

“Many of the pubs I have taken on have been in a similar position to this one. The pub does need to evolve to survive. We want to keep it alive for York. But it is evolution not revolution.”

Mr Pratt is delighted with how well the pub has done since it re-opened.

“He said: “It’s been great, it’s been really well received. We’ve exceeded expectations so far. We’re pleased with how things have gone.”

He added: “I’m pleased to have a pub in York city centre. I really like the area we are in.

“I want it to be warm and welcoming, offering quality products, including quality craft ales and premium craft spirits and an exciting wine offering.

“For us it is about providing great hospitality and a great welcoming.”

The pub, which is owned by Marston’s, had closed after its previous licensees, Dave and Sally Roberts, said it was no longer financially viable.

The Minster Inn is a “venture that is part of Ainsty Inns”, according to the new licensee.

Ainsty Inns is made up of The Chequers Inn at Bilton-in-Ainsty; The Swan and Talbot in Wetherby; The Beehive in Thorner; and The Duke of York at Gate Helmsley.

The pub group has recently been shortlisted for a hat-trick of prestigious accolades. The Chequers Inn hopes to win the national accolade of Best Wine Bar/ Pub in the Publican Morning Advertiser’s Great British Pub Awards. It also joins sister pub The Swan and Talbot on the shortlist for the title of Best Yorkshire Pub at the White Rose Awards.