YOU’D struggle to miss York’s newest drinking venue. It’s not exactly subtle, nor hidden away.

Walk down Parliament Street, Pavement, Coppergate or Piccadilly and there it is, right in front of you, where the ignominious splash palace once stood: Thor’s Tipi.

This is the centrepiece of York’s Christmas market. The chalets lining both sides of Parliament Street are buttressed at the southern end by a few street food stands and this vast tipi tent.

York Press:

The notion of drinking in a tent mightn’t sound appealing, but this place is fantastic. It’s vast inside, the roaring open fire-pit generates a lot of warmth and a pleasant atmosphere. And, good news, the beer is very good.

Brass Castle Brewery at Malton have set up the bar and have three of their beers available: Helles Lager, Northern Blonde and Snow Eater. The last of those, in particular, is fantastic - pale, hoppy and very moreish.

Alongside those is Thor’s Thunder, a specially-named and branded session IPA by Brew York, just down the road in Walmgate.

The venue is obviously aimed more at tourists and visitors than locals, with prices reflecting that, but if you’re in town for some late night shopping, or to show off the city to any visiting friends, then this is worth a visit.

If you’re there this week, you may want to pop across the road to another fine venue, which will celebrate its first birthday on Wednesday.

Pavement Vaults, on the corner of Piccadilly and Coppergate, has been the most heartening element of the long, long-awaited restoration of the old White Swan Hotel building. Over the past 12 months, it has established itself with little fanfare as a tremendous venue, with top-quality food and consistently excellent beers.

York Press:

I popped in on Thursday night, and was greeted with a fantastic line-up of beers: Kent Brewery’s Session Pale, Thornbridge’s Jaipur and Exalted, Cromarty’s Red Rocker, Tapped’s Mojo and Rodeo, Exit 33 Stout, Magic Rock’s Contortion and High Wire, Arbor’s Hop Loader, Bernard and Founders All Day IPA. Not to mention a few dozen canned and bottled options in the fridge.

Such breadth of choice has become the norm at this place.

I had a half from Kent, a very pale, refreshing bitter from a brewery I'd not before seen in York, and followed that with a half of Red Rocker.

This is a superb beer from the north of Scotland, and one that always reminds me of York City's FA Trophy success in 2012. After a happy afternoon at Wembley, colleagues and I stepped off our train at York Railway Station and toasted the win with a couple of pints of this rye-based beer, packed full of hops from America and New Zealand. It remains a classic.