The Minerva should by rights be a hugely popular Hull pub. Back in the fishing days it was the best-known and busiest pub in the city.
Standing, as it does, between the entrance to many of the old city centre docks and the Pierhead, there was no better-positioned pub for fishermen, visitors and those working in the fruit market.
It’s huge, high and handsome with half a dozen different drinking rooms (including the smallest pub room in the country – all three seats of it!) and it even used to have its own brewery attached. It offers views of the river, the marina, the Deep and the Pierhead and has welcoming open fires. Even though it doesn’t have many houses nearby and it’s a bit off the route for town drinkers, it should still be a landmark pub. Instead it’s struggled to find custom and been closed down a few times.
For the past year or so, though, it’s been in the hands of experienced publican Lee Kirman and the difference is both noticeable and very encouraging. It’s been spruced up, there’s an excellent choice of hand-pulled ales, real ciders and continental bottles, the food is far better than it has been for a good while (try “Christine’s legendary steak pie”) and the whole place just feels more welcoming and positive.
Sadly – if understandably – the brewery has not been reinstated, now acting as a function room, but the new governor is finally drawing a crowd and people are starting to speak well of the old place again.
With the City of Culture award in the bag and the Fruit Market heading towards proper redevelopment, the Minerva’s time may well have come again. Finally, it may soon be Hull’s best-known boozer.
Nelson Street, Hull Marina, Hull HU1 1XE. 01482 423453.