Phoenix Nights: Celebrating our Pub of the Year 2023
Members gathered under ominous clouds in what was a warm summer evening on one of the longest days of the year to recognise the Phoenix which had been voted York CAMRA Pub of the Year 2023.
We were treated to the Wold Top Finch, Saltaire South Island, Roosters Go Backer and Timothy Taylors Landlord.
After 6pm the well known York pub started to fill up steadily and the intrepid CAMRA members took up station in the beer garden nestled beneath the City walls. Licensee Paul Rodgers provided plenty of umbrella cover for those that didn’t want their beer diluted with rain drops.
Branch Chairman, Chris Tregellis, opened proceedings with a few words about the pub and why it was chosen. It’s an old pub and rumours that Dick Turpin was a regular may or may not be true but he is buried conveniently over the road. It is certainly true that the pub was a welcome resting place for people attending the former York cattle market where the Barbican now stands.
Many years ago the pub was a fairly basic boozer and Chris remembers playing pool in the small front bar which made some shots understandably tight to play. The pub had been closed for a while before its major transformation some 15 years ago by Tim and Val Everton. Theirs was a labour of love which restored the pub to the attractive style that you see today. Their love of jazz paved the way to establish the Phoenix as an important music venue. Paul, Mark and the staff of the pub have built on this legacy and have conserved a really attractive pub which is appreciated by locals and visitors alike.
Delicacy prevented Chris from praising the gents which are so tastefully decorated.
Real Ale features prominently on their neat website and the tripadvisor reviews are almost all glowing. One of the very few negative reviews was from a customer from Leeds which starts: ” Now I know some people like pubs which are still pubs…” Well, we do! And that’s why the Phoenix is our 2023 York CAMRA Pub of the Year.
Paul thanked CAMRA for this recognition and said that he will proudly display the trophy which is his for a year and the plaque which is permanent. He acknowledged the good work of Val and Tim in renovating and re-energising the pub and is delighted to carry on the good work.
Members then got down to the serious work of addressing the very tasty wraps and pies kindly provided by the pub, ignoring the light rain and enjoying the daylight of this long Phoenix day. Here’s to many enjoyable Phoenix days and nights to come. Well done!
York CAMRA have been choosing a Pub of the Year since 1995. We start to choose this in autumn. Members on our email network are invited to nominate up to three York and three non-York (outside the outer ring road) pubs for the award. Any pub that sells real ale in the branch area can be nominated, except for last two year’s winners (as of May 2022).
A standard, scored survey form is needed for each nomination. From all valid nominations, a shortlist of around six is compiled from those receiving the most nominations. Survey forms are then invited from the full membership over the winter. During this time, social opportunities are organised for all shortlisted pubs and members are encouraged to try them out. All valid survey forms are then collated in mid-February and the result declared in March.
Since 2015 we have also been presenting an award Club of the Year and Cider Pub of the Year.
Pub of the Season
Every quarter we select a Town and a Country Pub of the Season. This is done by ballot at our branch meetings. We make a conscious effort to spread the net as widely as possible and we are still finding new pubs that we feel are worth bringing to the drinking public’s attention; we see no point in choosing our own personal favourites again and again. There’s a full list of all the previous winners below.
Shortlists of up to three are agreed from all nominations received at the preceding branch meeting. Any pub that sells real ale in the branch area can be nominated, except any that have won the award in the previous two years. You need to be prepared to briefly address the meeting (or find someone else to do it on your behalf) on why your pub(s) should be chosen. Alternatively, you can submit a written report for the Chair (or another nominated person) to read out to the meeting. We arrange a celebration event at the winning pubs and it is traditional for the nominator to present the coveted framed certificate.
Current Pub of the Season winners
|Season||City Pub Winner||Town & Country Winner|
|Autumn 2023||The Waggon and Horses, Lawrence Street||The White Bear Inn, Stillington|
|Summer 2023||The Fox, Holgate Road||The Feversham Arms, Farndale|
|Spring 2023||The Last Drop, Colliergate||The Lord Nelson, Nether Poppleton|
|Winter 2022||The Winning Post, Bishopthorpe Road||The Thompsons Arms, Flaxton|
|Autumn 2022||The Phoenix Inn, George Street||The Fleece Inn, Bishop Wilton|
|Summer 2022||The Snickleway Inn, Goodramgate||The Woodman Inn, Bishopthorpe|
|Spring 2022||The Minster Inn, Marygate||The Doghouse, Selby|
|Winter 2021||The Ackhorne, St Martin's Lane||The Bay Horse, Burythorpe|
|Autumn 2021||Not awarded due to Covid-19||Not awarded due to Covid-19|
|Summer 2021||Not awarded due to Covid-19||Not awarded due to Covid-19|
|Spring 2021||Not awarded due to Covid-19||Not awarded due to Covid-19|
|Winter 2020||Not awarded due to Covid-19||Not awarded due to Covid-19|
|Autumn 2020||Not awarded due to Covid-19||Not awarded due to Covid-19|
|Summer 2020||Not awarded due to Covid-19||Not awarded due to Covid-19|
|Spring 2020||Not awarded due to Covid-19||Not awarded due to Covid-19|
|Winter 2019||The Shambles Tavern, Shambles||The Marcia Inn, Bishopthorpe|
|Autumn 2019||The Knavesmire Hotel, Albermarle Road||The Coach House Inn, Rosedale|
|Summer 2019||The Volunteer Arms, Watson Street||The Doghouse, Selby|
|Spring 2019||The House of the Trembling Madness, Lendal||The Market Tap, Pocklington|
|Winter 2018||The Fox, Holgate Road||The Three Hares Inn, Bilbrough|
|Autumn 2018||The Gillygate, Gillygate||The Golden Lion, Helperby|
|Summer 2018||The Wellington Inn, Alma Terrace||The New Inn, Cliffe|
|Spring 2018||Three Legged Mare, High Petergate||The Lion Inn, Blakey Ridge|
|Winter 2017||The Swan, Clementhorpe||The Blacksmiths Arms, Lastingham|
|Autumn 2017||The Ackhorne, St Martin's Lane||The Hare and Hounds, Holme-on-Spalding Moor|
|Summer 2017||The Slip Inn, Clementhorpe||George & Dragon, West Haddlesey|
|Spring 2017||Brew York||Bay Horse, Burythorpe|
|Winter 2016||The Blue Bell, Fossgate||Moors Inn, Appleton le Moors|
|Autumn 2016||Eagle & Child, High Petergate||Lord Collingwood, Upper Poppleton|
The York branch of CAMRA contains many excellent pubs both in the city and in the outlying towns and villages. We are pleased to recognise the best of the best and to recommend their inclusion in CAMRA’s Good Beer Guide and to make specific awards. Currently these are Pub of the Year, Cider Pub of the Year and Club of the Year.
All recommendations are made annually after a fresh review and vote of our full membership. The Pub of the Year award is made after voting and subsequent detailed surveying by our members with an emphasis on real ale and the overall offering made by the pub. The Club of the Year is a similar award but recognises clubs and the Cider award emphasises the provision of real cider.
We appreciate that our branch is blessed with many more pubs and clubs than can be recognised in the Good Beer Guide but in the interests of ensuring wide geographic coverage the editors have limited the number of entries in any one area. Not being in does not mean that a pub is not appreciated and recognised, it’s just that the book can only be so big.
We welcome new branch members to what is a thriving and lively branch so if you are not already a member please consider joining us and playing your part in future awards.
York CAMRA Branch Chairman.