I walked into the Ackhorne in York with the good Lady InnSpectre to be greeted by a chap swigging ale from a silver tankard who said in a cheery tone: ‘Hello you lovely people’ and this was before the door had time to swing shut.
Coming from the mean and moody streets of London I was a bit taken aback by such a warm welcome but before long we were chatting away at the bar about what else but pubs and real ale – York has both of these in abundance.
It turns out the chap is called Muzzy and according to the notes I made on my iPhone we were soon joined by his pal from the Post Office called Christ.
This of course wasn’t true, it wasn’t Christ at all, but a chap called Chris, who did have a beard, like Christ.
Muzzy, a native of Hertfordshire, told me he’s been boozing at the Ackhorne for 20 years and to mark his 60th birthday his pals bought him an engraved silver tankard from which he was enjoying some ale.
Before long, a couple more guys turned up – Sam and Stuart – and joined in our conversation. We’d only been in the pub twenty minutes but it felt as if we had been boozing with this bunch for years. I bought a pint of Yankee (4.3%), a lovely golden ale from the Knaresbrough-based Roosters brewery.
Like so many of York’s best pubs, the Ackhorne is tucked away down one of the city’s backstreets. It has a fairly large main bar with a smaller, cosier room with red-painted walls – ideal for those who want a break from listening to Muzzy’s drinking stories, of which there are many.
At the back there is a rather modern-looking but smallish beer patio/smoking area.
Muzzy and his mates provided us with a wealth of knowledge about York’s pubs and tipped us off that another nearby pub – the Slip Inn – was hosting a winter beer festival. We took his advice and slipped off to find out more.
My visit to the Ackhorne and the Slip Inn reaffirmed my view that Yorkshire folk are some of the friendliest people you’re likely to come across in the UK.
THE INNSPECTRE’S SUMMARY…
ADDRESS: THE ACKHORNE, St Martin’s Lane, York, North Yorkshire, YO1 6LN.
ATMOSPHERE: *** It was early evening and a bit on the quiet side.
DECOR: *** Nice and clean with picture of distinguished chaps and York Minster on the walls, although my phone tells me they were pictures of the famous York Monster. I hate that predictive text.
SERVICE: ***** A nice lad, friendly and knowledgeable.
PRICE: *** £3.20 is pretty good.
ANY OTHER BUSINESS: Follow Muzzy’s advice, from the Ackhorne head to the punters’-owned Golden Ball, then the Slip Inn and onto the Swan – wham! – four pubs within a short walk of each other and all serving a fine array of local brews. Apologies for the poor quality of the picture. If you look hard enough there is a pub in there somewhere.