If it wasn’t for a whacking great big sign spanning the width of Stonegate in York then you could easily miss Ye Olde Starre Inn – the oldest licensed venue in the city.
Having played it’s part in the English Civil War this pub oozes – or should that be River Ouses – history and is full of little nooks and crannies in which to eat, drink and be merry. There is a small courtyard (pictured) at the front and a bigger beer garden at the back.
I arrived late one Thursday evening to find the fire crackling in one room and some cracking entertainment in another. The pub was packed with many punters aiming to be the shining star of the Starre’s open mic night.
Enthusiastic onlookers spurred on the talented performers in what was quite possibly the best open mic night I’ve ever been to.
Amongst those taking to the mic was a Norwegian singer called Marius who seemed to bring a fair following from Norway and a chap named David Ward McClean who turns out to be something of a local celebrity, not least because he is Father Christmas’s doppleganger.
There was a good choice of ales on tap and on a cold, wet and windy night, I couldn’t help but go for Wentworth Brewery’s Liquorice Stout (4.8%). I took a few sips and mingled with mob assembled infront of the musicians.
There were plenty of other spots in this pub for those looking for a quieter kind of night and the clientele was an assortment of locals and tourists.
On this evidence, the Starre’s irresistible combination of live music, history, charm and, most importantly, real ale, made for a memorable night. It’s certainly a great boozer for a cosy winter’s pint.
If you find yourself wandering around York then remember to keep an eye on what’s down those snickleways, there might just be a new pub awaiting your arrival.
THE INNSPECTRE’S SUMMARY…
ADDRESS: The Starre Inn, 40 Stonegate, York, North Yorkshire, YO1 8AS. MAP HERE.
ATMOSPHERE: **** Thanks to some lovely winter ales and some great live music this joint was jumping.
DECOR: *** Traditional with pictures of yesteryear.
SERVICE: *** A bright bubbly blonde who was very friendly with regulars.
SELECTION: **** A good array of ales including Swedish Blonde (Maxim Brewery), Galaxy ale, Empress IPA, Steel Town (Consett Ale Works) and Wentworth Liquorice Stout.
ANY OTHER BUSINESS: Like with many pubs in the city, the Starre is supposed to be haunted, not by a man in a hat and cloak, oh no, but by a cat who was bricked into the walls.