In the 19th century, the market town of Boroughbridge boasted 22 inns, today there is only one even though there are pubs a-plenty.
The last remaining inn is the Black Bull which has been taking care of travellers on the Great North Road between England and Scotland since the 13th century.
The Black Bull is tucked away in the corner of Market Square and despite looking a little small on the outside, inside, the higgledy-piggledy rooms and trim corridors stretch way back.
There’s a tap room and a snug furnished with traditional wall settles, which is err… snug; it only seats a handful of drinkers and is my favourite of the rooms. The main bar has a handsome inglenook fireplace and in winter tables close by are hard to get. Service in this bar is through a small hatch, so queuing is inevitable but no one seems to care; there’s a very relaxed approach here.
The Black Bull still draws travellers, tourists and truck drivers from the nearby A1, though with the abundance of regulars frequenting the bar, getting in at certain times can be a bit of a gamble, but worth a go.
Once in and having squeezed your way to the bar, on draft there’s always reasonably- priced Timothy Taylors, John Smiths and guest ales. Wines are agreeable and the food down to earth, hearty and decent – this is not and hopefully never will be a gastro destination. There is always someone to talk to and frequently nowhere to sit but this is the way it has been for well over 700 years and is what makes this such a captivating pub. Long may it never change.
The Black Bull Inn, Market Square, Boroughbridge, YO51 9AR, Tel: 01423 322413.