Trafalgar Bay puts community at its heart, reports MAXINE GORDON. And it has a beer garden!

Sarah and Phil Roper are the duo behind this week's pub of the week, Trafalgar Bay in Nunnery Lane, York

What makes your pub special?

Trafalgar Bay is a community hub that is striving to provide a safe space for those that want it. We run a staggering amount of events for those interested in local history, walking, wellness pursuits, reading, writing, languages, puzzles, games, trivia, socialising, tasting experiences, sewing, knitting and other crafts. There is always something going on for York residents and those from further afield.

York Press:

What is the best thing about this pub?

Trafalgar Bay is perfect for those looking for a quiet "hidden gem" where they can chat, craft, play games, make new friends and have a laugh. It's a traditional public house that encourages conversation, does not have music, TVs or wi-fi and is a mobile, laptop and technology-free zone. It is a very sociable pub where everyone is made welcome and new customers and tourists quickly feel at home. We are a cash only establishment.

If you would like to nominate your local to be our Pub of the Week – or if you are a landlord that wants to tell us what makes your place special – fill out our online form.

What is the history of the pub?

Trafalgar Bay dates back to the early 1800s. In 1842 the pub had its own brew house and the records show it being used for inquests around that time. It was rebuilt in the 1890s, with a tiled front that has been noted as typical of the Tadcaster Tower brewery, which then owned the pub.

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In 1926 the licensing justices declared the pub to be redundant, but that was overturned on appeal. In the 1960s and 1970s its interior was greatly modified and opened out into a large bar.

A few years ago, the owners restored the building to it's original multi-room layout. It is a fine example of a Victorian public house with its traditional and neatly kept exterior, including a lovely hand-painted sign.

York Press:

The Trafalgar Bay landlords Phil and Sarah Roper

How do you it keep its customers happy and coming back for more?

We have worked hard to create an inviting and engaging pub. There’s plenty to do. There is a pool table (70p per game), darts, lots of other games, books, jigsaws and much more to keep customers entertained.

Our beautifully well-kept beer garden is an oasis in the heart of this bustling city. Plus, there are open fires in every room to keep you cosy when the weather is colder. Our genuine enthusiasm and pride for the pub is by far the biggest draw. Patrons are happy and keep coming back, because of the warm welcome, friendly atmosphere and exceptional customer service.

York Press:

Beer garden at The Trafalgar Bay

What challenges have you faced during the Covid-19 crisis?

The Trafalgar Bay plays host to a large number of regular meet ups that have been unable to convene post lockdown due to the fact that only two households can be seated together indoors. 

But in the beer garden, we've added additional picnic benches and umbrellas on every table. This means that Meet Up Mondays (2pm - 4pm), Writing Groups, History Hub & German Stammtisch are able to go ahead outside; socially distancing of course.

York Press:

Inside Trafalgar Bay, Nunnery Lane, York

How have you adapted so you can reopen?

The Covid procedures are well thought out and make you feel very safe. Everyone is asked to wait at the front door to be seated and table service is provided. There is hand sanitiser on entry, exit and throughout. A one-way system is in operation and we have put up clear signage to guide you around the pub once inside. Tables and chairs have been carefully placed to keep everyone socially distanced and safe. Locks have been added to the main doors into the toilets, so that a one in, one out system can be operated. Staff are careful to adhere to all government guidelines and follow strict cleaning procedures including disinfecting toilets and tables.

Has you won any awards?

In June 2019, Sarah was nominated for three Women Mean Business awards. The categories were Community Business, Socially Responsible and Tourism, Leisure & Events. Her hard work was rewarded, she was a finalist and made it into the top four for the first two categories.

York Press:

Customers in flat caps at Trafalgar Bay

What is your favourite story about the pub?

If you were to call in to the Trafalgar Bay prior to the Covid-19 crisis, you would often find customers in the beer garden wearing Flat Caps. There are two hat stands out there filled with more than 20 flat caps! They will be back as soon as we're allowed to get back to "normal".

What drinks do you sell?

Everything we stock is from the oldest brewery in Yorkshire, Sam Smith's – high quality, inexpensive and made from natural ingredients. We serve a wide range of beverages including hot drinks, mocktails (non-alcoholic cocktails), cocktails and a great selection of organic and vegan products.

Our organic fruit beers, and the four beer cocktails called cockt-ales that we’ve created using them, have proved to be popular. Old Brewery Bitter (4 per cent ABV at £3 per pint) is our best seller and we take great pride in the fact that real ale fans regularly complement us on how well we keep this full-bodied malty, toffee-ish tasting cask beer.

You can nominate your local to be our Pub of the Week by filling out this online form.