York has a new ‘Big Beast’ on its drinking and dining scene.

The Knapton Lion re-opened last night, after being closed a year, and was buzzing with customers.

For proud landlord Tom Brown, who with his family runs the Lord Nelson at Poppleton, the venture was the culmination of months of hard work since he took possession of the former Red Lion and gave it a total makeover.

When the Press called at 6pm, two hours after it had opened, the picture-postcard pub was full of couples, families and groups of friends enjoying a fine range of beers, wines, cocktails and lots of home-cooked food.


Alex Storey of Dringhouses had enjoyed lamb rump from the Specials Board with Anne Driffield of Acomb.

“It was absolutely gorgeous, the sauce especially. It was a great meal, the lamb was beautiful.”

Anne agreed the meal was beautiful, adding the red wine sauce with the pan-fried lamb was ‘amazing.’

York Press: xx

Jane Albon of Acomb said had attended meetings about owning the pub, which she was unable to make happen.

“I am so pleased Tom has taken it over. I love the décor, the atmosphere, the menu. I think he’s going to make a great success of it.”

Diane Raworth of Acomb said: “The pub is lovely. I like the atmosphere, the décor. I like the people who run it, I have been to their other pubs. It’s great to see the Kapton pub come back to life.”

Elsewhere, friends Richard Long, Betty Cadden, Jean Hussein, Eileen Breender-Snich, Audrey Allan and Christine Wilson, had walked a short distance for a sociable drink. They loved the beer and described the Knapton Lion as “really happy and friendly,” with “helpful staff.”

Mandy Cayton of Knapton said: “It’s great to have a local pub in the village again. It’s great to see somebody in the pub trade take it over.”

Noting the planned coffee mornings, Sunday roasts and other attractions, she added: “It’s going to be a great asset to the village.”

York Press: An extensive range of wine is on offer

Ania Hunter of Shipton-by-Beninborough also said the pub was lovely, with a great atmosphere and good service.

Both applauded seeing a pub that was dog-friendly.

Chris Tregellis, chairman of York CAMRA said: “York CAMRA has recently recognised the good work at the Nelson in Poppleton with a quarterly award and now it looks like Tom is at it again. Let's hope that the Lion proves to be a similar success and we wish him well.”

Tom said: “The re-opening went really well. The locals are absolutely over the moon. No-one thought they would get their village pub back and they clapped at the re-opening.

“People said they loved the atmosphere, they loved the food and the ale. I’m very chuffed.

And despite the Knapton Lion getting so much attention, the Lord Nelson is “still booming,” he added.