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York pubs still thriving despite high closure figures around the UK

With various new pubs and bars appearing every few months, why are York’s businesses still going strong, despite the drastic decline in pubs around the UK?

However, York seems to be breaking the trend with the number of pubs rising instead of declining.

Gusto restaurant first came to York in early 2017, making competition for the new Carluccio’s which was being built around the same time.

Since it first opened, Gusto has received rave reviews from York Press and customers alike.

Head bartender at Gusto Restaurant, Steven Derbyshire said; “I’ve been around the UK quite a bit, working in different cities and for different companies. I think with York, it’s more the people.”

This November, Italian restaurant Gusto opened the doors on a new bar sponsored by Italian beer, Peroni, after a £25,000 refurbishment.

The refurbishment started work on Monday 19th November, finishing just four days later.

Nevertheless, while waiting to interview Mr Derbyshire, a passing member of the public expressed their concern as they could not locate the new bar.

“I’ve read about it in the press, but I can’t find it.”

Gusto restaurant bar
Gusto restaurant is located in Little Stonegate, next to the Stonegate Yard pub

“Any street you go down now, you’ve got at least two or three options of different bars,” he said.

“I think that the trade is just so big in York, especially people coming through to York, just purely for drinking.”

The new venue will feature various drinks such as a selection of cocktails and beers, along with sweet treats and bar snacks.

In an interview with York Press, the marketing director of Gusto Italian, James Newman, talked about how the introduction of the new bar is the first of four units he plans to take over in York next year.

“You’ve got a few smaller pubs that will cater more to the locals with a more of a friendly home environment and then you have a lot of the big chain bars which do like to look after people but are more just providing the service and making the profit,” he continued, “There’s a mixture of both in York.”

This new bar goes against the figures released by ONS last month, however York is full of bars which have been trading for over 400 years.

Ye Olde Starre Inn front
Ye Olde Starre Inne, the city’s oldest pub, is the neighbour of the Evil Eye Bar in Stonegate.

Ye Olde Starre Inne is York’s longest trading pub, assistant manager, Emma Firth thinks the business is still popular today, also due to the people of York.

“For us personally, we’re not really a local pub. We have maybe four locals, if that, but it definitely does help,” she said.

“We’ve got a lot of people who want to come and will come back now and again.”

Ye Olde Starre Inne has been booming since 1644, it was originally used since the English Civil War when their 10th Century basement was used for wounded soldiers.

“[York is] a tourist city which always helps but every pub has some of its own. We’re the oldest licenced pub, but every pub has its own little selling point,” she continued. “It makes it somewhere where everyone wants to go.”

Ms Firth thinks Ye Olde Starre Inne will continue to grow and stand out in years to come, “I think it’s a bit of everything. The stories about it, we are the oldest pub, everything is evolving.”

Inside Ye Olde Starre Inne, looking very festive for the coming months

“We sell eight different ales, so there’s always a lot to choose from,” she continued.

Their highly crafted cask ales are all brewed in Suffolk brewery along with their craft beers, Big Bang and Bitter Sweet Black IPA.

“People love it, they’re always coming in and being like ‘What’s this? Can we try this?’, so we’ve always got that little bit of advantage.”