finding a pub with character within the city walls of York is easy enough but finding one filled with characters is much trickier. Many aim their offering firmly at the tourist market. There’s nothing wrong with that but pandering to the city’s many visitors can rob a pub of a sense of fun.
The Maltings, however, is a quite different proposition; they don’t seem to pander to anyone, and this is a good thing.
Located just inside the walls by the river, The Maltings has been serving since 1842, first as the Railway Tavern and then the Lendal Bridge Inn. It’s run (as it has been for nearly 20 years) by the inestimable “Big” Vern, a man for whom the phrase no nonsense may well have been coined. He runs the one-room pub under the guiding principles of good drink, good food, good time.
The pub, it’s appearance and its retro furnishings are nothing to write home about – bare wooden seats, tin signs everywhere, a bit 80s feeling – but this a place where you can get a fine pint and a great, no-frills plate of food and leave without being patronised or ripped off.
For such a small place (not much bigger than a large living room) it boasts a bewildering array of drinks; 25 whiskies, a dozen fruit wines and I stopped counting at 20 ales. When was the last time you saw a pub offering six different scrumpies? All are handily described on chalk boards or by the very friendly staff and they’re very well kept.
The grub is similarly satisfying. It’s all sarnies, spuds and so on but it’s cheap, tasty and filling. I had a chip butty which I couldn’t finish and it wasn’t even the biggest one on the menu. If you don’t like their style the menu even offers directions to the nearest McDonalds – a nice touch.