Pub of the Week: Pave, Hull

Pubs can make many historic claims; some say they are the oldest in town, or the place where someone famous drank or died. Others can claim to have the longest bar or the smallest barmaid. Only one, though, can legitimately claim to be the place that inspired Hull to become City of Culture. That pub (or, more accurately, bar) is Pave.

Pave, Hull
Pave, Hull

At the fag end of the last millennium, Hull’s drinking and eating culture was centred around the (mainly) chain-owned establishments in the city centre. Then, two friends – Steve Shaw and Lee Armstrong – with no previous experience of owning pubs corralled every penny they could and opened Pave in a former butcher’s shop on Princes Avenue. It was the first place in the city that felt like it could be in the cooler parts of London or Berlin. It sold proper ale and decent food and very soon attracted an enthusiastic crowd.

Within months, other budding Hull entrepreneurs had copied the model and drinking culture moved to Princes Avenue, then into Newland Avenue and, before you knew it, Hull had changed forever. Pave started putting on music, poetry, comedy and even dance nights and soon the cultural folk of the city started finding they had somewhere to meet and express themselves without upsetting blokes trying to play darts. Artistic types became more visible and eventually Hull became the universal byword for culture it now is. This didn’t happen just in Pave but it happened, to a very large degree, because of Pave.

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Not a bad legacy for an old butcher’s shop and two mates with more sense than money.

• Pave, 16-20 Princes Avenue, Hull. 01482 333181,