Having traipsed and trawled through York’s Christmas markets on a freezing cold Saturday afternoon, the good Lady InnSpectre and I felt exhausted as we made our way to the pub. I imagine this is how Jason and the Argonautsmust have felt during their rather less arduous quest to find the Golden Fleece.
Delirium was just setting in as we made our way along Whip Ma Whop Ma Gate when we were stopped in our tracks by the golden glow of the resplendent Fleece from across the road. It was a truly magical moment.
Once through its doors we had just enough strength left to order our drinks and took up a much-needed seat at the bar.
I took a much-needed first swig of Wychwood’s Hobgoblin and almost spat it out when I looked to my right and saw a skeleton sat there with a drink.
I was in a hell of a mess, so I rubbed my eyes just to make sure they weren’t playing tricks on me. Sure enough, they weren’t, there really was a skeleton at the bar. It looks like the poor chap had a long old wait to until he got served.
Whoever the skeleton belongs to – perhaps it’s Jason himself – it appears that once he’d discovered the Golden Fleece he was in no hurry to leave it, and who can blame him, it’s a lovely old boozer.
It seems that almost every pub in York is cosy, inviting, historic, and haunted, these terms could easily be applied to the Fleece which is in the Top 20 of the most hauntedpubs in the UK.
Split into two bars which are linked by a gradually descending hallway the Fleece feels homely with ornaments and pictures the like of which you would expect to find in the living room of an eccentric old relative.
The front bar is small and cosy with dark amber-painted walls.
Above the bar at the rear of the pub you’ll find all kind of items hanging from hooks including jugs, tankards,keys, spoons, knives and forks. If they had the room I’m sure they would hang the proverbial kitchen sink up there too.
It has to be said the punters inside were all good-natured but, like the good lady and I, they were just worn out after a full day’s shopping.
The best thing I bought all day was a pint. Next time I’ll give the shops a miss.
THE INNSPECTRE’S SUMMARY…
ADDRESS: THE GOLDEN FLEECE, 16 Pavement, York, North Yorkshire, YO1 9UP www.thegoldenfleeceyork.co.uk
ATMOSPHERE: **** Busy on a Saturday night but not so bad as to be uncomfortable.
DECOR: **** Rustic, with pictures of yesteryear and framed newspaper cuttings in the hallway. There are some lovely old wooden beams and a red-painted ceiling.
SERVICE: *** Nice chap in front bar and some chatty barmaids on duty in the back bar.
SELECTION: *** Ales included Skipton Brewery’s Copper Dragon, Timothy Taylor Landlord, Hobgoblin,Theakston’s Old Peculiar and Theakston Black Bull.
PRICE: *** My Hobgoblin was £3.20 which isn’t at all bad.
ANY OTHER BUSINESS: There are some nice rooms for those brave enough to stay overnight. Each room comes with its very own resident ghost…well, it should do anyway. The Fleece is York’s oldest boozer. A pub on this site was first mentioned in archives which date back to 1503.
FOR ACCOMODATION IN YORK VISIT LATE ROOMS.