Has summer finally arrived? I dare say I do think so! It’s time to get out of the house and out of the pub for long evenings on terraces and in beer gardens, with a glass of white, a bit of gin and a load of alfresco dining.
Summer, I missed you.
So as I’ve spent the past years scurrying around town for the best tables around which to settle and indulge awhile in summer’s thrill (when it dared visit), here is my list of the very best places to eat, drink and bask in the sunshine in York.
Mannion and Co.
A sign outside the door will draw you in with promises of the French Riviera in the back garden.
And you know what? The guys at Mannion and Co are not lying. Come here early in the morning before the queues starts spilling out the front door and take seat at one of Mannion’s sun-bathed tables. Mocha and Almond Croissant are always my choice (I know, I know, typical French…) but the full breakfasts are themselves quite divine and the selection of cakes always tempting. Perfect for that lazy weekend morning.
New Schoolhouse Art Gallery
Ever since I came to York, I have been admiring the gardens next to a certain section of the wall and wondering how in the world I could get to them. It’s just recently that I finally discovered Robert and Kate and got to sit in the sun amidst the garden's greens and colours. Robert runs the New Schoolhouse Art Gallery along with his wife Paula; definitely a lovely space dedicated to the arts set in the premises of an old schoolhouse amongst, you guessed it, beautiful landscaped gardens. Kate, a generous and bubbly gem of a woman joins the team every Thursday - Saturday, 12:00 noon - 2pm and brings along her delightful Mediterranean-inspired dishes for you to lunch on. Colours, flavours, smiles and chatter… Everything here speaks of summer. And if you come around on a tour, you will even get to discover a very special type of coffee seldom seen anywhere else in York...
Lamb and Lion Inn
Cold Pint. Sun. View on the walls and the Minster. Need I say more? Tucked around the corner of the city walls, the Lamb and Lion Inn is, in winter, a haven of warmth and coziness. Come summer however, the pub opens up the doors to its beer garden and people flock to the garden bathed in afternoon light while overlooking on the city walls on one side and the Minster on the other. Food here is great too and I can’t really think of a better way to finish off a Sunday afternoon than with a pint, a pie and a bit of banter with friends as we look onto the hundreds of years of York’s Beautiful History. (You will forgive me, yes? Thought this needed a bit more of a grand finale…)
Star Inn the City
Love the food, love the Star but I LOVE the terrace. I think the very first drink I had in York was here, one warm and sunny May afternoon, as the sun was just lowering slightly over the river. I was coming straight from Canada where we were still being swallowed by cold and snow and I do think the Star’s terrace set right next to the Museum Gardens and amidst blooming cherry trees had something to do with my deciding to settle here. The Star is still now a favourite of mine for those long summer evenings. I come here with friends and sit and drink and nibble and laugh until the sun goes down. Yep, life is tough.
Bistro No. 8
Gillygate’s a busy and noisy street but don’t let yourself get fooled by any of these appearances because in the back you will find beautiful gardens bathed in sunshine and views of the city walls. Bistro No. 8 is the perfect spot for a laid back lunch or casual alfresco dining that will deliver beautifully on flavour and atmosphere. Ingredients are local and prepared with both care and generosity. Where there is this growing trend of ‘looks over flavour’ in the foodie world (looking at you, Instagram) Bistro no.8 sticks right to the roots of what food really is all about. It’s easy to relax here and break into a laugh as you indulge with friends and family in a simple (and delicious) meal. The gardens are lush.
Love street food? Of course you do! York's newest venture sees shipping containers parked in the city center and turned to this awesome space where food, drink and community meet. Here you will find plenty open space to indulge in some of the best street food around (from fried chicken to crêpes with a stop, among others, in Bao - country along the way). With a few bars and a coffee shop around as well you are sure to find exactly the object of your cravings while maybe even doing a bit of shopping along the way? (yep, there are even a few shops in!)
This one makes the list because of the three little chairs sat outside the old Terry’s shop windows and overlooking on the square. Sip a coffee here italian-style with some busker surely playing in the background and people watch to your soul’s content. Don’t forget your sunglasses though, because the sun here shines strong from 10am onwards!
Oh and I also decided to throw up a little the usual conventions of 'selfie in the sunshine'. Instagram peeps, you will understand. Ok, maybe I've just had too much sun. :)