The Polar Bear (like the Botanic next door) was named due to it standing opposite the former Hull Zoological Gardens, a forgotten Victorian attraction that stood on the corner of Spring Bank and Princes Avenue.
The Bear is one of the most notable pubs not only in the city but also in the UK as it is one of only 11 pubs that have retained a ceramic bar. In the Polar Bear’s case it is a wonderfully impressive, huge, curved affair that is now Grade II listed along with the pub’s equally attractive stained glass dome ceiling. Coincidentally, one of the other ceramic bars is also in Hull, in the White Hart on Alfred Gelder Street.
The Polar Bear has had a chequered recent history and, despite being a popular pink venue for several years, has never fully realised its obvious potential. All that has changed recently as legendary Hull pub/ nightclub owner Dave Mays has struck a deal with the owning brewery to allow him to bring his considerable experience to bear on the Bear.
The plan is to open at night only in the week and all day at the weekend. The pub is ideally placed for visitors to the nearby KC Stadium so expect Saturdays to be packed with Hull City supporters and there will be bands on some of the evenings. The quieter back bar will still be a haven for pool players but the Polar Bear is noticeably trying to draw a younger audience to come round the corner from Princes Avenue, so it may not suit all tastes. However, with with real ales and ciders and the rightfully popular Hull Pie company supplying pastry-based sustenance, the Polar Bear is most decidedly back in business and the future of one of the city’s drinking gems would appear to be secure.
Sadly there are no plans to reinstate the bar billiard table in the main bar.
229 Spring Bank, Hull, HU3 1LR. 07872 329602.