15 Best Pubs in York, England

Steve Rohan Author Bio

The historic city of York is one of the most pleasant places in England. There are so many awesome things to do such as exploring the city walls, York Minster, and the quaint Shambles, but there are also lots of great pubs to discover too. Below, you’ll read about some of the best pubs in York.

I’ve been visiting the city for years, and that includes many of the York pubs. Some of the best are to be found along the River Ouse, where you can sit and watch the world go by with a pint of something refreshing or a bite of traditional pub grub.

Find out about the best pubs in York city center, the best pub food in York, and some of the best pubs in York with beer gardens. One thing’s for sure, with so many wonderful pubs around the city, you won’t have far to go to find the perfect place for a pint and bite to eat.

Best Pubs in York for Food and Drinks

After eating and drinking my way around York for many years, I’ve put up this list of my favorite pubs in the city based on the quality of food, service, location, authentic pub vibe, the real ales on tap, my personal opinion, and customer reviews (so that it’s not just based solely on my opinion).

I’ve eaten at many more York pubs in that time, but I’ve narrowed this list down to 15 based on those criteria. If you’re looking for authentic local dishes and some great restaurants in York and beyond, be sure to check out this foodies guide to Yorkshire too.

1. The Kings Arms (Best Pub in York Overall)

It’s difficult to pick the best pub in York as there are so many contenders. I’ve chosen my personal favorite, the Kings Arms, due to its prime location on the river and its excellent beer garden. It offers a great selection of ales, ciders, and wines, and is one of the cheapest pubs in York.

With pints for as little as £3.20, (in the south you’ll rarely find a pint under £5), this is a great place to come for a few drinks on a sunny afternoon or evening. The pub dates back to the 1890s so has a real homely feel to it, and there’s an open fire in winter which makes it a cozy escape from the cold.

Pint of beer on a bar in a traditional style pub.

The Kings Arms has a no-phone policy which some people don’t like, however, I think it’s excellent to be able to unplug for a few hours and just enjoy the ambiance without distractions. The pub doesn’t serve food but has a fantastic selection of bar snacks to ward off hunger if you’re feeling peckish.

Kings Arms Information

Address: The Kings Arms, 3 Kings Staith, York, YO1 9SN
Phone: +44 (0)1904 659435
Operating Hours: 11 am-11 pm, Mon-Sat, 12 pm-10:30 pm, Sun
Must-Try Items: Samual Smiths Old Brewery Bitter
Average Cost: £3.20-£5.00 per pint

2. The Lowther

The Lowther bills itself as York’s favorite pub, but don’t just take its word for it. This central riverside place is one of the best pubs in York for food and serves some interesting pizzas, (the chicken kiev is a must-try), homemade burgers, salads, sandwiches, and tapas. What’s more, the extensive menu is also very reasonably priced.

With mains under £10, this is the perfect place to take the whole family for a sumptuous feast in beautiful surroundings. As a lover of Spanish cuisine, I love the menu here and highly recommend the seafood linguine. There’s also an extensive drinks menu with local beers, ciders, wines, and cocktails to choose from.

There’s both indoor and outdoor dining available overlooking the river and at night things liven up with music across the two bars. So, whether you’re looking for a quiet afternoon pint or a pumping evening, the Lowther should definitely be on your list.

The Lowther Information

Address: 8 Cumberland Street, York, YO1 9SW
Phone: +44 (0)1904 622987
Operating Hours: 12 pm-1 am, Sun-Thu, 12 pm-2 am, Fri-Sat
Must-Try Items: Chicken Kiev Pizza, Seafood Linguine, Lowther Platter
Average Cost: £3-£4 per starter, £9-£13 per main, £5 per pint
Website: thelowther.co.uk

3. Brew York Tap Room and Beer Hall (Best for Real Ales/Craft Beer)

Real ale aficionados should head straight for the Brew York Tap Room which has over 20 craft beers brewed on-site. They also offer a fantastic selection of ciders and wines too. This is one of York’s more hip venues and the tap room is located in an old warehouse with exposed brickwork and funky murals.

The tap room serves up a tasty selection of Japanese street food dishes to munch on while you drink, with a menu that includes ramen, bao buns, rice bowls, and more. There’s an onsite shop that sells Brew York beers and merch, and it’s even possible to take a tour of the brewery.

Pouring beer into glass with bbq chicken wings.

There’s a beer garden out the back, a pub quiz every Sunday, (well-behaved) dogs are always welcome, and children are allowed in the tap room until 8 pm. This is definitely one of the top pubs in York and somewhere I like to head to on a Friday or Saturday night.

Brew York Tap Room Information

Address: Unit 6, Enterprise Complex, Walmgate, York, YO1 9TT
Phone: +44 (0)1904 848448
Operating Hours: 12 pm-11 pm, Tue-Sat, 12 pm-9 pm, Sun
Must-Try Items: Big Eagle IPA, Brass Castle Jack An’ t’ Beanstalk, Prawn Katsu Curry
Average Cost: £2-£7 per starter, £7-£12.50 per main, £6 per pint
Website: brewyork.co.uk

4. The Phoenix Inn

The Phoenix Inn is one of the most homely pubs in York with an open fire, a beer garden overlooking the city walls, and an unpretentious air devoid of gaming machines and blaring TVs. This is one of the best pubs in York city center and is the perfect place to unwind after a day of sightseeing or shopping.

The pub is known for serving local ales and always has at least five on tap. The building dates back to the 18th Century and is the last surviving original pub inside the city walls. They don’t serve food, but there are plenty of places nearby to eat before dropping in for a pint.

The Phoenix Inn Information

Address: 75 George Street, York, YO1 9PT
Phone: +44 (0)1904 656401
Operating Hours: 4 pm-11 pm, Mon-Thu, 3 pm-11 pm, Fri, 2 pm-11 pm, Sat-Sun
Must-Try Items: Landlord, Black Sheep, Marston Moor
Average Cost: £4-£5 per pint
Website: www.phoneixinnyork.co.uk

5. The Angel on the Green

York’s trendy Bishopthorpe Road (Bishy to locals, and one of the best places to stay in York) is the place to go to discover some of the best shops in the city. It’s also home to The Angel on the Green, one of the best pubs in York.

Here, you’ll find some excellent ales and wines, plus an extensive pizza menu. With all pizzas under £10, this is a great place to come for a bite to eat (I recommend the prosciutto funghi) and a glass of something pleasant.

Prosciutto Funghi Pizza on a wooden board

The Angel on the Green also has open mic nights and live music, so it’s a great place to visit for some lively weekend entertainment.

The Angel on the Green Information

Address: 2 Bishopthorpe Road, York, YO23 1JJ
Phone: +44 (0)1904 866073
Operating Hours: 4 pm-11 pm, Wed-Fri, 12 pm-11 pm, Sat-Sun
Must-Try Items: Prosciutto Funghi Pizza, Rocket, Parmesan and Balsamic Salad, Ainsty Blonde Ale
Average Cost: £3.50-£4.95 per starter, £5.95-£9.50 per main, £4-£6 per pint
Website: www.angelonthe.green

6. The Eagle and Child

This gorgeous old pub is in a grade II listed building that dates back to 1640. The space stretches over three floors and there’s outside seating at the back. The Eagle and Child is famed for its fresh, local ingredients and is one of the best pubs to eat at in York.

This is one of the best places to come for a Sunday lunch. The roasted Yorkshire Dales pork belly (and Yorkshire puds of course) are to die for. The menu is a little more expensive than other pubs on this list but totally worth the extra for the caliber of food on offer, the ambiance, and the historic surroundings.

Eagle and Child Information

Address: 9 High Petergate, York, YO1 7EN
Phone: +44 (0)1904 631536
Operating Hours: 12 pm-11 pm, Mon-Wed, 12 pm-12 am, Thu-Sat, 12 pm-10:30 pm, Sun
Must-Try Items: Roasted Pork Belly, Fish and Chips, Leeds Steak and Ale Pie
Average Cost: £6-£7.50 per starter, £14-£21 per main, £5 per pint
Website: eagleandchildyork.co.uk

7. Walmgate Ale House

The Walmgate Ale House is a cozy pub with an attached French restaurant. Along with the Eagle and Child, it offers some of the best pub food in York. The pub is located in a listed 17th Century building which also doubles as the headquarters of the York Food and Drink Festival (so you know you’re in good hands).

If, like me you love homely French cooking then this is the place to go for a special dinner. There’s a great selection of local ales, ciders, and wines.

Yorkshire Pudding with Pulled Beef

The menu is a little pricier than other options but a visit is worth every penny for the quality.

Walmgate Ale House Information

Address: 25 Walmgate, York, YO1 9TX
Phone: +44 (0)1904 629222
Operating Hours: 5 pm-11 pm, Wed, 12 pm-11 pm, Thu-Sun
Must-Try Items: Confit Duck Leg with Cherry Glaze, Yorkshire Pudding with Pulled Beef, Roasted Cauliflower
Average Cost: £6.50-£8.90 per starter, £15-£23 per main, £5 per pint
Website: thechoppingblock.co.uk

8. The Fat Badger

The Fat Badger (formerly the Lamb and Lion) is truly one of the best pubs in York city center, not least for its secret gin garden, excellent cocktails, selection of beers and wines, and cozy rooms for rent. The pub is located in an old Georgian building adjoining the city walls and has a real homely feel to it.

The garden offers views of York Minster and is a great place to sit at any time of year thanks to the outside heaters. The menu offers lots of traditional pub classics from fish and chips to homemade burgers, steaks, sandwiches, and more. This is definitely one of my favorite places in York – I love the cocktails and ambiance.

The Fat Badger Information

Address: 2-4 High Petergate, York, YO1 7 EH
Phone: +44 (0)1904 612078
Operating Hours: 12 pm-11 pm, Mon-Sun
Must-Try Items: Steak and Landlord Ale Pie, Truffle Mac and Cheese, Slow-Cooked Pork Belly
Average Cost: £4.95 per starter, £13.95-£18.95 per main, £5 per pint
Website: www.thefatbadgeryork.com

9. The Blue Bell

The Blue Bell is the smallest pub in York and comprises just two small rooms. It’s a great place to go if you want a traditional homely pub vibe and it recently won CAMRA’s 2022 pub of the Year, (CAMRA is the Campaign for Real Ale and the most authoritative body on the subject of pubs and beers in the UK).

The building dates back to 1798 and still retains the original decoration from 1903. If you’re looking for a real British pub, then the Blue Bell is certainly the place to go. There’s a large selection of ales on tap and I recommend Timothy Taylor’s Landlord as one of the best.

a slice of pork pie.

The Blue Bell doesn’t have a food menu but it’s teamed up with neighborhood butcher Darren to offer locally made pork pies with a side of mustard, brown sauce (a favorite up north), or apple and ale chutney.

The Blue Bell Information

Address: 53 Fosgate, York, YO1 9TF
Phone: +44 (0)1904 654904
Operating Hours: 12 pm-11 pm, Mon-Sun
Must-Try Items: Timothy Tailor’s Landlord, Rudgate Ruby Mild, Pork Pie with English mustard
Average Cost: £9.50 per pie, £4-£5 per pint
Website: bluebellyork.com

10. The Walnut Tree

The Walnut Tree is an excellent pub and restaurant in the York suburb of Heworth. You can expect real ales, traditional pub food, one of the largest beer gardens in York, and the warmest of welcomes. The inside has recently undergone a massive refurbishment and is a great place for a pleasant meal.

They serve a great Sunday roast and other traditional British dishes like beer-battered fish and chips, burgers, all-day breakfasts, and curry. If you’re looking for a full belly for great value then be sure to head to the Walnut Tree.

The Walnut Tree Information

Address: 73 Heworth Village, Heworth, York, YO31 1AN
Phone: +44 (0)1904 233083
Operating Hours: 11 am-11 pm, Sat-Thu, 11 am-12 am, Fri
Must-Try Items: Hand-battered Cod and Chips, Hunter’s Chicken, Sunday Roast
Average Cost: £10-£15 per main, £4-£6 per pint

11. The Habit

The Habit is an excellent pub, bar, and cafe that has a roof terrace, live music every weekend, and an open mic night on Wednesdays. It has a great menu with burgers, all-day breakfasts, salads, and sandwiches to keep your tummy satisfied while you enjoy the entertainment.

The building was once a stonemason’s and a priest’s house and is now one of the top places for a night out in York. It’s a haven for local artists whose work adorns the walls of the bar and is definitely one of the top pubs in York – it’s one of my favorite places for a drink.

Tasty looking full English breakfast

You’ll find a bar stocked with regularly changing guest ales as well as craft beers from around the world, (Gamma Ray APA, Jop House 13, and Estrella to name a few). If you’re looking for something a little stronger, then try one of the expertly mixed gin or whisky cocktails.

The Habit Information

Address: 40 Goodramgate, York, YO1 7LF
Phone: +44 (0)1904 611072
Operating Hours: 10 pm-12 am, Mon-Sun
Must-Try Items: Full English Breakfast, Bacon Cheeseburger, Grilled Veg and Halloumi Sandwich
Average Cost: £9.50-£12.95 per main, £5 per pint
Website: thehabityork.co.uk

12. House of the Trembling Madness

This interestingly named medieval ale house is one of the quirkier pubs in York. It has one of the most impressive ale collections of any pub in York and these can be enjoyed in unique surroundings with taxidermy and quirky curios. If you like a good Belgian Trappist beer then this is the place to find it.

Food is served all day and the House prides itself on local ingredients and Yorkshire-sized portions (i.e big). Sharing platters are the order of the day with large plates of local meats, cheeses, and other products from around the region. Try the Yorkshire Platter or the Madness Platter.

Trembling Madness Information

Address: 48 Stonegate, York, YO1 8AS
Phone: +44 (0)1904 289848
Operating Hours: 10 am-12 am, Mon-Sun
Must-Try Items: Yorkshire Platter, Yorkshire Rarebit, Trappist Rochefort No
Average Cost: $2-$4 per starter, $6-10 per main, $6 per pint
Website: www.tremblingmadness.co.uk

13. Ye Olde Starre Inn

Ye Olde Star is York’s oldest pub and dates back to the mid-16th Century. This old timber-framed public house has been serving ales for hundreds of years and is definitely worth a visit for its history. The pub has three outside terraces for al-fresco dining where you can enjoy classics like pie and mash, fish and chips, and burgers.

The Starre was used as a hospital and mortuary during the English Civil War (1642-1651) and some say the pub is haunted by the soldiers that died there, along with a pair of black cats that can supposedly be seen lurking in the shadows.

A classic steak and ale pie

Whether you believe in ghostly apparitions or not, Ye Olde Starre is definitely worth a visit.

Ye Olde Starre Inn Information

Address: 40 Stonegate, York, YO1 8AS
Phone: +44 (0)1904 623063
Operating Hours: 11 am-11 pm, Mon-Thu, 11 am-12 pm, Fri-Sat, 11 am-10:30 pm, Sun
Must-Try Items: Beer-battered Cod and Chips, Steak and Ale Pie, Salmon and Cheddar Fishcakes
Average Cost: £4.50-£7.25 per starter, £9.95-£16.95 per main, £5 per pint.
Website: www.greenking-pubs.co.uk

14. Pivni

Pivni is an award-winning real ale and beer house (i.e a pub) close to the Shambles in York city center. This quaint bar is the perfect place for a romantic, candle-lit evening of local beers and ciders and carefully selected wines from around the world.

The bar is located in an old 16th Century townhouse and the old-world ambiance makes this place an absolute joy to visit. Be sure to try some of the craft beers on tap such as those from the Tapped Brew Co, Arbor, and Thornbridge Brewery.

Pivni Information

Address: 6 Patrick Pool, York, YO1 8BB
Phone: +44 (0)1904 635464
Operating Hours: 11:30 am-11pm, Mon-Thu, 11:30 am-11:30 pm, Fri-Sat, 12 pm-11 pm, Sun
Must-Try Items: Mr Black Coffee Liquer, Slingsby Rhubarb Gin
Average Cost: $2-$4 per starter, $6-10 per main, $6 per pint
Website: pivni.co.uk

15. The Fleece in Bishop Wilton

The Fleece in nearby Bishop Wilton is one of the best country pubs near York and is very popular with walkers and cyclists. There’s a large beer garden in beautiful, village surroundings and it has an excellent range of beers, ciders, and wines as well as a large food menu.

The menu includes classics like my favorite, scampi, caught in nearby Whitby, steaks, fajitas, and British and European dishes. Each June the Fleece hosts a beer and gin festival, which is well worth popping along to.

Fresh scampi and chips with dipping sauce on the side.

The pub also has rooms available if you’re looking for an escape from the city.

The Fleece Information

Address: 47 Main Street, Bishop Wilton, York, YO42 1RU
Phone: +44 (0)1759 368251
Operating Hours: 11 am-11 pm, Mon-Sun
Must-Try Items: Whitby Scampi and Chips, Brisket and Ale Pie, King Prawn Sizzler
Average Cost: £4.50-£6.75 per starter, £12.50-£24.50 per main, £4-£6 per pint
Website: www.thefleeceinn.info

Must-Try Drinks in York (If Applicable)

Below, you’ll find a couple of famous brews from Yorkshire.

Male group clinking glasses of dark and light craft beer on a brick wall background

Samuel Smiths Bitter

Samuel Smith’s Brewery in Tadcaster, near York is one of the most famous breweries in the region, and you’ll find many Samuel Smith pubs across York, including my favorite the Kings Arms. There are many to choose from, but the flagship Old Brewery Bitter is a good one to try.

John Smiths Bitter

Although no relation to Samuel, John Smiths is another famous Yorkshire brewer and you’ll find these beers in pubs across the city. John Smith’s Original Cask is the one you’ll find in most pubs.

Black Sheep Brewery

Black Sheep is one of Yorkshire’s best independent breweries. You can find Black Sheep Best Bitter in many of the top pubs around York and this is a must-try in Yorkshire.

Visiting York Pubs: FAQs

What are the best pubs in York?

Some of the best pubs in York include the Kings Arms for river views, the Brew York Tap Room for real ales, The Lowther, Eagle and Child, and Walmgate Ale House for food, and the Fat Badger and Walnut Tree for beer gardens.

What‘s the oldest pub in York?

Ye Olde Starre Inn is York’s oldest pub and has been serving pints for centuries. The building dates back to the mid-1500s and as early as 1600 it was already named “the Starre”.

What pub has the cheapest drinks in York?

The King’s Arms has the cheapest drinks in York with pints from as little as £3.20. Expect to pay around £4 and £6 in most pubs around York.

Do you tip in York?

Tipping for drinks in York is not necessary or expected, but tipping for good service with a meal is always appreciated (10% to 15% is normal).

What neighborhood has the best pubs in York?

The city center has the best pubs in York. There are also many excellent pubs and inns around the river and in outlying neighborhoods like Heworth.

Where should I stay in York?

If you want to experience York’s vibrant nightlife and spend time exploring its historic pubs, then the city center is the best place to stay in York. Check out this guide on the best neighborhoods in York for more info.

Where is the best pub food in York?

The best pub food in York can be had at the Lowther, Eagle and Child, Walmsgate Ale House, Fat Badger, and the Angel on the Green.

What’s the best pub in York with a view?

The King’s Arms has the best river views, but the Fat Badger has incredible views across to York Minster from its secret gin and winter garden. The rooftop terrace at the Habit also has some of the best views in the city.

To Summarize

Now you know about some of the best pubs in York with beer gardens, for food, ambiance, and views. There are so many wonderful pubs in York town center where these historic inns add to the charm and character of the place.

From my favorite, the Kings Arms on the river, to the secret gin garden at the Fat Badger, to the Food at the Walmgate Inn and Eagle and Child, there’s a pub to suit every occasion in York. The only question left should be, which one to try first? There are so many good pubs in York that I recommend you try as many as possible.

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A full English breakfast with a beer in several York pubs
Full English breakfast, scampi and chips, steak and ale, and a beer at some of the coolest pubs in York
A pint of beer and Prosciutto Funghi Pizza on a wooden board in several York pubs
Steve Rohan Author Bio

Written by

Steve Rohan

Steve Rohan is a writer from Essex, England. In 2015 he moved to China to teach English where he lived for over six years. He has lived and taught in the cities of Harbin, Luoyang, Sanya, and spent a few months in Hong Kong, before returning to England in 2022. He has visited over 60 countries to date and usually opts for overland travel (yes, even between the UK and China). Steve has travelled extensively across China, and Central Asia. Having lived much of his life within a 50-mile radius of London, the city is his second home and he knows it like the back of his hand.

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