As a Northern city, you might think your average night out in York doesn’t compare to its those of its neighbours.
Leeds and Manchester are ‘So Edgy’ you’ll probably cut yourself if you’re not appropriately dressed. Sheffield beats York for sheer size. And let’s not even start with the behemoth of drunken debauchery that is Newcastle.
But considering this is a city famous for having more than 365 pubs (that’s enough to visit a new haunt every single day of the year!) when it comes to York nightlife, you’re pretty much spoilt for choice in this historic city.
But if you haven’t a clue where to start?
That’s what we’re here for. We’ve rounded up the top spots to get your party on so you can enjoy what the city’s all about – without getting lost down an alley off The Shambles (you definitely will) (sorry).
The best pubs on a night out in York
Now, if you need a place to start in York, get down to a proper old-fashioned British pub. Here’s a list of what not to miss.
Ye Olde Starre Inne
While it might seem that every other boozer in York may lay dubious claim to the title, Ye Olde Starre Inne is genuinely believed to be the oldest continuously licensed establishment in the city.
Regardless, it’s Grade II-listed and, although the food ain’t great, it’s ragged charm makes it worth popping in for a beer – if you can find it. Look for a small alleyway off Stonegate, and a sign stretching across the main street. Then, prop yourself up at copper-topped bar and soak up some of the city’s history. If that worn old carpet hasn’t beat you to it, that is.
The King’s Arms
If you’re boozing in York on a budget, The King’s Arms will welcome you with open, er, arms. Here you can get a decent pint for well under £3 – and on top of that, the riverside location is fantastic in summer.
With plenty of bench seating outside, on the cobbles overlooking the Ouse, you can sit back and watch the world (and water) go by – or if you’re feeling brave? Do as the locals do and dangle your legs off the quayside.
Hugely popular with visitors and locals alike, The Maltings is a proper drinkers pub serving up decently priced beer and tasty pub fare – think jacket potatoes, toasties and that lasagne in the white dish with the molten hot melty cheese. Mmmm, this one’s worth burning the roof of your mouth for.
You’d be forgiven for overlooking this little slice of peace and quiet (as it sits sandwiched between massive modern neighbours) but don’t. Head just over Lendal Bridge from the city centre and look for the blue building, and the sign banning ‘kids’ and ‘rowdiness’.
Looking for more nightlife in York?
The best bars on a night out in York
Looking for something a little more… Swish? These are York’s coolest cocktail bars. Sure, you can still get a pint, but they’re also good if you’re looking to party (or pull, for that matter).
Just a stone’s throw from The Shambles lies Pivní – a cosy, candle-lit 2-storey bar serving up more than 80 artisan beers from keg, bottle and cask.
Housed in a beautiful timber-frame townhouse, this hip spot (named after a Czech beer, btw) is the perfect place to enjoy York’s quintessential 16th-century features. Sneak up the creaking stairs and get stuck into a craft ale… And if you’re peckish? The bacon-flavoured popcorn might sound dodgy, but it’s actually pretty good.
The Biltmore Bar & Grill
One of York’s more modern watering holes, this contemporary spot is finished with touches of art deco – making for a classy-looking interior. And while weeknights at The Biltmore are frequented by the suited and booted enjoying after work drinks, weekends are actually not bad.
Service is decent and the wine list is long, if a tad pretentious. Basically, this place is worth a punt if you prefer the finer things in life. Just prepare for a soundtrack of forced corporate laughter if your York night out falls on a Monday – Friday.
Shameless plug alert. Yeah, course we were gonna put ourselves in here.
Having just had a super sexy new refurb, Revolution York is looking fresher than ever. Luxurious and contemporary, with plush comfortable seating and a spacious restaurant area. Plus, the incredible riverside views from our outdoor garden terrace. It really can’t be beat.
From here, we serve up innovative and modern cocktails, fresh seasonal dishes from our Kitchen and party it up ‘til late in our clubroom. If you’re planning a night out in York? You’d be mad not to pop in and say hi.
View this post on Instagram
Boozy, delicious, and anything but innocent… *Bulleit Bourbon frangelico, half and half, chocolate liquor and gomme syrup! Served with a miniature flask of Bulleit Bourbon blended with coffee for extra bite! ?? #revolutionyork #revolutionbars #york #yorkshire #bourbon #bulleitbourbon #bourbonbiscuits #cocktails #drinks #flask #miniature #thinkingaboutfriday #tuesdayfeels #garden #terrace #riverside #coneystreet #bourbonbadboy
Evil Eye Lounge
As far as York nightlife goes, this spot comes incredibly close to the cocktail daddy (us, obvs) serving up a vast range of spirits, bitters and assorted mixers. Situated just off Stonegate, the interior is cool ‘n’ quirky – with unusual hippy-ish décor and opium den-style seating upstairs.
Downsides? The Evil Eye cocktail recipes are typically quite complex and so it takes a lot of time to prepare each drink. Although they serve bottled beer, it can be a frustrating place for the non-cocktail drinker as waiting times at the bar can be a lot longer than you’d like.
Located on York’s Castlegate, this quiet little cafe-cum-cocktail bar is a relaxing place to while away an afternoon, with decent food and a chilled vibe. For a night out in York, The Nook pretty good too – thanks to regular live music and DJs of an evening.
It’s a bit more low key than your typical York bar – given the size of the place – but definitely worth a visit if you’re looking for a cosy hidden gem, away from the hustle and bustle of the city.
And for later on in the evening?
The best York nightclubs
Live for the sesh? Love shots and loud music? Say things like ‘go hard or go home’ on a night out? Then here are the best nightclubs in York, where you can party ‘til the early hours… Or until you puke.
York’s largest nightclub spread across three floors. As far as clubs go, it’s pretty clean and the drinks are reasonably priced, but expect to pay on the door.
The music’s loud and it’s always busy – so if clubbing’s your thing you’re guaranteed a good (late) one. Remember though, Kuda will also be a night where you never have enough money to get a taxi home as you’ve already blown your wad on the pricey entry and drinks. Walking it is then.
Sticky floors, flooded loos and lots of fancy dress, but if you’re fairly young and frivolous? Still quite good for a laugh.
To be fair, that’s the standard for the midweek student parties; Salvation does up its game somewhat on the weekends, where the drinks are fairly cheap and the fun times roll. Just be prepared for things to get messy – and if you’re over 25? Hit the road, hun. You’ll probably hate it.
You’ll find a better standard of York night out at the city’s Society bar – across the road from Salvation on Rougier Street. This place tried for a while to reinvent itself into a sort of hipster-style cafe, but fortunately, the owners soon saw sense and went back to what they’re good at.
With a mix of live DJs and cheap drinks promotions, it’s a pretty decent party destination on the weekends. If you’re visiting the city on a budget but you still want to stay out late, you can’t miss this spot.
And if you’re not drinking…
Sober things to do on a night out in York
If you made the mistake of adding a pint to MyFitnessPal and learning about something called calories (don’t do it) (seriously) and you’re looking for some sober things to do in York, you won’t be disappointed.
You can have some LOLs at the York Barbican, a stand-up sanctuary and host of live shows ranging from acoustic sessions to touring classical orchestras, perfect if you’ve got a free evening.
Or if you’re after a little more culture – you are in York after all – get a ticket to one of the shows at the amazing York Theatre Royal, for some of the best famous plays and emerging drama that Britain has to offer.
But for the best night out in York?
We know just the place.
If you’re looking for seriously good eats, a cocktail-fueled affair PLUS a late night at a bar on the riverfront, get yourself down to Revolution York.
We’ve spent the past few weeks pretending to be on an episode of Grand Designs and refurbing our bar, and we’re finally ready to show off our fancy new look – at our HUGE relaunch party this Friday.
Wanna be first to see how shiny we are? Get on the guestlist by calling 01904 676 054 or drop an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
It’s gonna be anything but ordinary, so get involved, ‘cause this is one York night out you won’t wanna miss.