I do not like sport of any description. Football was something that my friends watched and played. The off-side rule was what I called my brand of tie-wearing rather than the bizarre practice in football which still manages to elude me. Playing sport was a dull activity, watching it was frankly brain deadening – I always thought time would have been better spent reading, or writing. However in the wake of the 2012 Olympics I thought I would take a look at some of off-the-beaten-track pubs and bars in York so I can cope with the sport whilst enjoying a good beer and comfortable surroundings.
I quickly discovered that plans for a large screen had been scrapped in York. Although I can see the attraction of watching the games in a huge crowd, the thought of a sticky floor and plastic cups seem rather more Glastonbury than a place in which to discuss the finer points of gymnastics. The obvious venues such as Wetherspoons, The Terrace, and The Swan will showcase sport on huge screens in their larger venues, but I rather craved the intimate atmosphere provided by some of the lesser frequented taverns in and around the city. I ask you to flee the crowd and join me in some of York’s less travelled pubs.
The Fulford Arms is quite a way out from the city proper, down Fishergate and onto Fulford Road. Its a strange pub, to say the least. For starts, what kind of landlords keep their dogs on the roof? Its eccentric mix of being both a strict “no swearing” local, and an venue for rock gigs will provide an interesting surroundings for the 2012 sport.
In a similar vein, the Beeswing could be the perfect place to grab a few ales from local breweries while eating some of their great grub. Again – a little way out of the city centre, but worth the walk up Lawrence Street and onto Hull Road. You will pass the Rose and Crown and the Rook and Gaskell on the way up, two piquant, non-tourist places to stop off at and taste a range of their real ales. The Beeswing is a largish place to drink as well, so the patriotic atmosphere will be electrifying when Team GB are playing.
Over on the opposite side of town sits a very under-visited pub outside of Monkbar: the Tap and Spile. The actors at Upstage theatre often go for a post-show beverage here, and maybe before depending on the nature of the show. The outdoor garden is lovely if you want to break up the field events with a cigarillo, or perhaps, if GB are winning, a chunky cigar. The thought makes me wonder whether I have in fact been missing out in watching sport at public houses after all.