Pubs of the Year & Season

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.

List of previous Pub of the Year winners

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

SeasonCity Pub WinnerTown & Country Winner
Spring 2024The Falcon, MicklegateThe Grapes, Slingsby
Winter 2023The Black Horse, MonkgateThe Wadkin Arms, Osgodby
Autumn 2023The Waggon and Horses, Lawrence StreetThe White Bear Inn, Stillington
Summer 2023The Fox, Holgate RoadThe Feversham Arms, Farndale
Spring 2023The Last Drop, ColliergateThe Lord Nelson, Nether Poppleton
Winter 2022The Winning Post, Bishopthorpe RoadThe Thompsons Arms, Flaxton
Autumn 2022The Phoenix Inn, George StreetThe Fleece Inn, Bishop Wilton
Summer 2022The Snickleway Inn, GoodramgateThe Woodman Inn, Bishopthorpe
Spring 2022The Minster Inn, MarygateThe Doghouse, Selby
Winter 2021The Ackhorne, St Martin's LaneThe Bay Horse, Burythorpe
Autumn 2021Not awarded due to Covid-19 Not awarded due to Covid-19
Summer 2021Not awarded due to Covid-19 Not awarded due to Covid-19
Spring 2021Not awarded due to Covid-19 Not awarded due to Covid-19
Winter 2020Not awarded due to Covid-19 Not awarded due to Covid-19
Autumn 2020Not awarded due to Covid-19 Not awarded due to Covid-19
Summer 2020Not awarded due to Covid-19 Not awarded due to Covid-19
Spring 2020Not awarded due to Covid-19 Not awarded due to Covid-19
Winter 2019The Shambles Tavern, ShamblesThe Marcia Inn, Bishopthorpe
Autumn 2019The Knavesmire Hotel, Albermarle RoadThe Coach House Inn, Rosedale
Summer 2019The Volunteer Arms, Watson StreetThe Doghouse, Selby
Spring 2019The House of the Trembling Madness, LendalThe Market Tap, Pocklington
Winter 2018The Fox, Holgate RoadThe Three Hares Inn, Bilbrough
Autumn 2018The Gillygate, GillygateThe Golden Lion, Helperby
Summer 2018The Wellington Inn, Alma TerraceThe New Inn, Cliffe
Spring 2018Three Legged Mare, High PetergateThe Lion Inn, Blakey Ridge
Winter 2017The Swan, ClementhorpeThe Blacksmiths Arms, Lastingham
Autumn 2017The Ackhorne, St Martin's LaneThe Hare and Hounds, Holme-on-Spalding Moor
Summer 2017The Slip Inn, ClementhorpeGeorge & Dragon, West Haddlesey
Spring 2017Brew YorkBay Horse, Burythorpe
Winter 2016The Blue Bell, FossgateMoors Inn, Appleton le Moors
Autumn 2016Eagle & Child, High PetergateLord Collingwood, Upper Poppleton

List of previous award winners

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.

Christopher Tregellis
York CAMRA Branch Chairman.