Although I love living in Leeds, there is a type of old-world charm about its neighbouring city York, that can’t be found in Leeds’ hip culture and industrial heritage. Steeped in rich history, York’s cobbled lanes and medieval buildings that sit beneath its ancient city walls are full of independent bars and cafes. But as a city busy with tourists, many are overcrowded and have lost their charm. So with that in mind, here are 4 little gems that are a bit more hidden where you can go and relax in the city among the locals.
Hidden down a little-cobbled side street Sotano is a small Mediterranean themed underground wine cellar turned bar that is well worth a visit. The tiny space is occupied by little alcoves and booths which create a nice intimate feeling, heightened further by its soft lighting and friendly staff. Its drinks menu is extensive and offers a whole range of your more traditional cocktails as well loads of different gins and a great list of wine. Something I particularly enjoyed with my love for a good Rioja. Sotano does not just stop at drinks though, with a menu of Spanish tapas to delve into too. The dishes all arrive fresh from the kitchen as soon as they are ready (one of our dishes even arrived in flames), so they are perfect for sharing alongside a few drinks and of course some good company.
Where to find it: 1 Little Stonegate, York YO1 8AX
Mr P’s Curious Tavern
Despite being fairly new on the block, Mr P’s Curious Tavern has a lovely vintage feel about it and blends in well with its historic surroundings. Inside it is small and cosy but certainly lives up to the curious part of its name. With lots of weird and wonderful decor on the walls and tables that only adds more interest to the place. Its menu is made up of nibbles and small plates inspired by different tastes from around the world. These again flow from the kitchen as soon as they are ready and can be enjoyed alongside a drink or two from their equally distinctive drinks menu. You can expect to find a wide choice of global wines that explore unusual flavours such as wood smoke and wet stone. As well as a wide collection of unique spirits, and in particular different gins to try and tempt your palate with.
Where to find it: 71 Low Petergate, York YO1 7HY
Olivia’s Artisan Bakery & Cafe
Although not exactly small in size Olivia’s Artisan Bakery & Cafe could be easily missed, located on a little street just round the corner from York Minster. Selling their own artisan bread, cakes and pastries, Olivia’s is a perfect little spot to sample some freshly made locally sourced food. And with people constantly popping in and out to buy bread and cakes from their front counter the place had a nice buzz about it. Their menu has a wide selection of sandwiches and toasties, all made using their own homemade fresh bread, as well as breakfast specials, Cream Teas, and their cakes and pastries. They also serve a good choice of drinks, and I especially loved how all their tea was served in large colourful teapots with little vintage tea cups, which I thought added a lovely unique touch.
Where to find it: 30 Goodramgate, York, YO1 7LG
Brew & Brownie
A little further away from the all the main attractions, Brew & Brownie is located next to the river near the train station. It is a small and cosy coffee shop, with comfy seating, a relaxed vibe and an ethos that is all about locally sourcing their food and drink. Taking their coffee seriously, Brew & Brownie serve up a seriously good artisan roast that comes straight from the Lake District, as well as a selection of different flavoured loose tea. They also offer a comprehensive brunch menu, sandwiches and salads, as well as meat and cheese boards, making it is the ideal place to go for a bite whatever the time of day.
Where to to find it: 5 Museum Street, York, YO1 7DT