A York pub is celebrating after being named 'Pub of the Year 2022' by York area CAMRA.

The Campaign for Real Ale, which has over 1100 members in the region, gave the honour to the Blue Bell in Fossgate.

The award means that CAMRA members had judged the pub, which first opened in 1798, as the best in the branch area, which spreads from Middlesbrough to the mouth of the Humber.

York CAMRA branch chairman Chris Tregellis told the Press that while his group has seasonal winners, this was for the entire year and was 'the big one.'

"We have a rigorous selection process where members vote and then surveys of a shortlist and then voting. It's incredibly difficult to pick a winner as there are such a large number of pubs in our area. It's not just the city but the country too," Chris explained.

Pubs are judged on their consistent beer quality, welcome, service and atmosphere.

York Press: John Pybus, landlord of The Blue Bell in York

"It's a little gem," Chris said of the Blue Bell,"the pub is really well run, there's the attitude of the owner and it makes for a place you like to go to. They are doing a really good job."

The past two years has seen the hostelry struggle with Covid-related lockdown restrictions, which for months forced its closure.

As the Blue Bell is quite small, social distancing regulations prevented it from re-opening with others for a time until it created outside seating.

Now, Chris says the industry is easing back to normality and that includes CAMRA, which staged its annual conference in Eastbourne at the weekend.

York Press: The Blue Bell in Fossgate, York

The York branch meets frequently, which it also managed to do during the restrictions, whilst obeying the guidance.

It's regular publication, the Ouse Boozer, has just returned after a couple of year's break, the regular Friday 5 pub visits are taking place once more, the group is running coach trips to East Yorkshire and Selby in the coming weeks.

It's nationally-acclaimed beer festival is also brewing after a two-year break, with a provisional date set for September 14-17 2022.

"We are back," Chris added.

Pub landlord John Pybus told the press he was very proud and happy to receive the award, also thanking the dedication, hard work and skills for his staff.

"It's not an easy job but I thank their dedication in keeping the beers so well and a big thank you to all the CAMRA members and to all the breweries, especially Brass Castle who supply our IPA."

York Press: The Blue Bell in Fossgate, York

John continued: "It's been a difficult few years. We were massively affected by covid. We were evicted. Winning this award has made it all the worthwhile. We always knew the Blue Bell would rise from the eviction and covid. A massive thank you to the customers who believed in us and never doubted us."

The Blue Bell can be found at https://bluebellyork.com/ and details of CAMRA's activities are at https://york.camra.org.uk/