Pub of the week: The Whalebone, Hull

The Whalebone has long held a fond place in the hearts of Hull drinkers. Situated in the distinctly untrendy Wincolmlee industrial area, just north of the city centre, it has quietly served proper ales and ciders to those in the know for the past couple of centuries.

The Whalebone, Hull.
The Whalebone, Hull.

I’ve always championed it as the place to go to get a feel of what a proper ‘Ull dockers’ pub was like before the decline of the fishing industry. Honest, tough and defiantly unchanged, but filled with marvellous old characters and great humour.

Then, overnight, it turned into the busiest, hippest pub in East Yorkshire. In January, Banksy decided to create a new artwork on the nearby Scott Street bridge, then (possibly) another appeared a couple of hundred yards away, then (possibly) another.

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Immediately, the pub was overrun with bemused media types and thirsty culture-seekers. The flat-capped old fellas who’d sat swearing in the corner for decades stared in disbelief at the tattooed hipsters coming in asking if they could “get a latte?”

The Whalebone had long been the best pub in Hull and now it’s become the best-known, too.

Newish landlord James Reading has revelled in the attention and even made changes to accommodate his new clientele. He’s thinking of doing pork pies, much to the chagrin of the regulars.

Banksy’s brazen vandalism has led to the city council turning a long wall outside the Whalebone into a permanent street art gallery, which artists are encouraged to freely use.

The Whalebone, 165 Wincolmlee, Hull. 01482 226648.