ANYONE whose walk or drive home takes them along Bootham will have spotted the transformation of this building from a rather tired looking coffee shop to this trendy wine bar and cafe.

North South only opened a couple of months ago but is already proving popular.

It’s just five minutes from the Minster and thirty seconds from Bootham Bar - where tourist groups spill into the junction at the bottom of Gillygate.

But this bar and cafe doesn’t feel like it has opened for visitors to the city - it feels like it is for us residents.

And I found it great value too - you would struggle to spend more than about £10 on a meal here unless you want to roll out the door.

Coffee fans will be pleased - with lovingly-made drinks created on a huge barista machine at the counter.

There is also a small selection of well-chosen cocktails chalked up on a board above the kitchen - all at £7. We stopped in for a vodka Martini the evening after this review and it was delicious. But not so strong that I was at risk of falling off my bar stool (been there...).

And in the run up to Christmas you can also stop in for mulled wine or a hot chocolate with all the toppings.

During the day families sit around the large wooden tables and friends sip cappuccinos at the bar - it’s a great spot for people watching.

But on the walk home from work in the evening (North South opens until 11pm), it’s quite difficult to resist popping in for a quick glass of wine with friends, and I’ve already done this more than once. Or twice. Or three times. Especially now that town is so busy with Christmas visitors, this has become a cosy little haven.

On this occasion, I took a friend for lunch on a Saturday. They were a bit sceptical - telling me it looked like we were about to have a sandwich in a shop.

If you have similar reservations - just step inside. North South has a chilled-out atmosphere. With wooden floors and panelled walls, it’s snug even on chilly days. And owner Rich Taylor - who seems to be smiling behind the bar every hour of the day the cafe is open - gives each customer a friendly wave.

Oh and the music is good every time I have been in. Playing anything from The Buzzcocks to Lizzo, from Blondie to Hanson (Mmm bop?) - it works.

When North South owners Rich and his partner, Laura Woods, opened in October they told The Press they wanted to run a café bar “inclusive for everyone” with a focus on a friendly and casual atmosphere.

They have managed it. We shared one of the bigger tables with a group of women who were heading into the city on a shopping trip. If you don’t like the sound of sharing tables - don’t worry. The owners have been inventive with their approach to creating snug places to sit. There’s a long bar in the window, small tables in alcoves and a seat running all the way along one wall.

Don’t expect a full menu of hot food. Given the size of the kitchen - which looks out across the tables - it’s understandable that meals extend to sandwiches, salads, pies, soup, deli boards and nibbles. There are also croissants, brownies, cookies and other sweet treats. Food is served from breakfast through to supper and is definitely sufficient for a meal - there are plenty of couples stopping by for dinner when I have been in the evening.

We chose the vegan mushroom and ale pie from York Pie Company, made with Brew York Viking DNA smoked porter (£3.75), bread and hummus (£3.50), the Cubano sandwich of thickly sliced ham, five-hour slow braised pork, Emmental cheese, pickles and mustard (£6.50) and the Italian sandwich of prosciutto, parmesan, tomatoes and pesto (£6.50). The pie was filling enough on it’s own - and so good have vegan substitutes become that I didn’t even realise it was vegan.

The sandwiches did not skimp on the fillings and the ciabatta was fresh and not greasy at all. Much better sandwiches than I could have made myself at home or bought from a shop.

This is a great addition to the neighbourhood and long may it remain a cosy haven for residents, just outside the city centre.

North South, 25 Bootham, York
T : 01904 654088
Food: Yummy 4/5
Service: With a smile 5/5
Ambience: Super chilled 5/5
Value: Good 4/5
Reviews are independent and meals paid for by The Press