Tuesday 31 August 2010

Whitby pub crawl ~ 24th August

On the Tuesday of Folk Week, Jean organises her annual Whitby pub crawl and invites us along ~ she's good that way. There are many fine pubs in Whitby, considering the size of the town, and we can't visit all of them. The pub crawl covers most of the best real ale pubs.

Beginning on the West Side:

The Elsinore, Flowergate
A very friendly local, which a couple of hundred years ago was the first building you came to when entering Whitby. It is a popular Folk Week fringe venue for various folk musicians, was the first pub to welcome Goths during their weekends in the town and also lets the Lunchtime Legends play during Folk Week (see previous posting). It's slightly cheaper than most pubs, and serves Cameron Strongarm, Tetley Bitter and John Smiths Cask.

The Little Angel, Flowergate
The Little Angel
Just across the road is this cosy-looking local, which is however rather bigger than the outside suggests and has three drinking areas. Just outside is a worn old mounting block for people to get on their horses. When we visited it was serving Adnams Bitter and Tetley Bitter.

The Station Inn, New Quay Road
Situated near the railway station and opposite the harbour, this pub has had several names previously: the Tap & Spile, the Cutty Sark, but originally the Green Man. It has three separate rooms, sometimes each with a different music session during folk week. It serves eight real ales and a real cider (Weston's Old Rosie). The beers included Ringwood Boondoggle, Whitby Old Dog, Timothy Taylor's Golden Best and Old Hooky.

Across the swing bridge to the East Side:

Black Horse, Church Street
The Black Horse
This is an extremely small, traditional, two-roomed pub. A pub since the 16th century, it has also been used as a funeral directors, spirit warehouse, and brothel. It is frequently packed during folk week; the musicians and singers tend to meet in the rear room. Both rooms have a real ale bar, with 3 beers on.  The beer I had on the crawl was Whitby Rhatas.

The Duke of York, Church Street
The Duke of York (centre front)
with the 199 steps and
Whitby Abbey behind
This pub is full of character and has wonderful views over the harbour. It is at the foot of the 199 steps that lead to Whitby Abbey and St Mary's Church (both worth a visit).  The pub does good food, especially the steak and ale pie, so if you're lucky enough to get a window seat while eating your dinner, then it's very enjoyable.  Tables can be scarce at peak meal times.  The beers on offer included Copper Dragon, and Courage Directors.

The Shambles, Market Place
This large open plan pub with a central bar was once a Burberry factory until it was closed and production moved elsewhere. It has wonderful views over the harbour, serves food which I've been told is good, has a family room and a games room with a snooker table. The beers are mainly from Theakstons and the Copper Dragon range, including the IPA.

Endeavour, Church Street
A single-roomed pub with, during folk week, a constantly changing range of real ales (4 handpumps). It has singers and musicians all day and evening during folk week and I understand it also has music quite regularly at other times. The various beers I had there included Adnams Broadside, Ringwood Boondoggle. Close to a chip shop if you need it.

Middle Earth Tavern, Church Street
The furthest pub on the crawl, the Middle Earth has outside seating with good views over the harbour.  Popular for music sessions during folk week, when it can get packed, it nowadays serves only one real ale, which was from the Copper Dragon range when I was there.

I had to take back two pints during the entire week, none on the pub crawl, but as they were satisfactorily replaced, I see no reason to name the pubs concerned. I found beer in Whitby was well-kept for the most part. This crawl was undertaken in August at the height of the holiday season. Beer ranges will probably be more limited off season, but I've been to Whitby at quieter times and the pubs are generally still good.


  1. That's a smashing line-up of hostelries, young Mr G.

    Is the Shambles still serving the costliest ale on the coast?

    Will there ever be a replacement worthy of the title 'better than the Tap and Spile'?

    Can I ever erase the memory of spinning round in the bandstand after five pints of Old Rosie, in the process narrowly avoiding being the victim of Whitby's first ever and clearly fated BASE jump?

    Halcyon days. And I'd do it all again in a heartbeat.

  2. Whitby is beautiful but EXPENSIVE! Had some good times in the Station, though, and the two Sam Smith's pubs in days gone by.

  3. Whitby is expensive, except for the Sam Smiths pubs. The Shambles is still the most costly, but some of the others are catching up.

    I didn't go into any Sam Smiths pubs, even though they are by far the cheapest, as they don't have any music. They got a strop and refused to apply for music licences required by the licensing reforms of a few years ago. They've cut their own nose to spite their face, seeing that the Plough used to be heaving with 3 or 4 separate sessions at once. It's now almost empty during folk week.


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