THERE have been facelifts aplenty in York's pub and bar scene in the past week or two.

The Minster Inn in Marygate reopened eight days ago, after a substantial refurbishment and redesign.

Smaller scale work has been going on at The Three Tuns in Coppergate - described as a "spruce up" rather than a wholesale refurb, and with no closure necessary.

And on Friday, two very different venues reopened after a lot of work.

The Slug & Lettuce on Ouse Bridge has undergone a £380,000 overhaul, while over in Stonegate, Ye Olde Starre Inne opened its doors again at 5pm after a two-week closure and a £250,000 investment.

As one would hope and expect at York's oldest (and perhaps most famous) pub, the work has been sensitive rather than drastic.

York Press:

Adrian Denney in Ye Olde Starre Inne

It immediately feels a little more spacious when you go in, with more use of barrel-based tables, which take up less room. The older floorboards have also been restored and re-exposed, making it look sharper, but the pub fundamentally feels like what it is - an old pub, oozing character, with lots of little nooks and crannies, stained glass, snugs, stories, charm, and good food and drink.

Two extra keg lines have been added, running Spaten and East Coast IPA. That builds on the earlier enhancements to the beer range here, which have seen the number of cask handpulls increase from four to eight in the past five years.

The opening range is: Okell's Bitter, Partner's American Craft Ale, Old Peculier, Wold Top Keeper's Light, Taylor Walker's house 1730 Special Pale Ale house beer, Hardy and Hanson's Olde Trip, Golden Sheep, and London Glory.

There are also 18 gins and around 50 whiskies, for those who prefer alternatives to beer.

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Adrian Denney, who has been general manager since 2011, said: “We are aware of the affection in which the Ye Olde Starre Inne is held by people in York as one of the oldest pubs in the city and the building’s history has been at the front of our minds during this careful refurbishment.

“The work we have done is all about maintaining and emphasising the character and the charm of the pub because we know how important that is to our guests. In this respect, we have exposed the pub’s original floorboards to give it back its original look and feel.

York Press: The star returns to Ye Olde Starre Inne in Stonegate

“We have introduced new outside seating and refurbished the upholstery of some of the furnishings within the pub, while we also have a new accessible toilet facility."

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The pub was featured on TV recently, in The Hairy Bikers' Pubs That Built Britain, and Adrian says the resultant increased interest from tourists has been huge. They are also utilising the popularity of Jonathan Strange and Mr Norrell, which mentions "The Old Starre Inn" in its opening chapters, so catering to tourists without being too twee to attract locals.

A new menu is due to be launched in mid-October, the regular live acoustic nights with Rob Hughes will continue on Thursdays, and a beer festival is planned later in the autumn.