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23rd July 2019 Joe Willis

Nightlife in North Yorkshire and the Dales

A great nightlife awaits in North Yorkshire and the Dales! Whether you are looking for sophisticated bars to see and be seen, lively nightclubs playing the latest hits, an evening of live music with local musicians or a quiet country pub with a roaring fire and real ales, you will be pleasantly surprised at the range of options available to help you unwind after a day of exploring.

Suntraps and sunset drinks

Harrogate is perhaps the place to go for a glitz and glamour. For example, you will not look out of place wearing feathered headwear in Revolution de Cuba, in Parliament Street. The bar also does a good line in tapas and Latin cocktails.

Sports bar The Pit, in The Ginnel, gets busy at weekends with crowds enjoying the craft beer, 2-4-1 cocktails and table tennis. Meanwhile, Montey’s Rock Café, also in The Ginnel, is the place to go if you like great rock music and cocktails. The cocktail menu is vast, with many being served with sweets that will remind you of your childhood.

There are several decent pubs down the road in Boroughbridge, including the Black Bull, in St James Square, and the Crown Hotel, in Horsefair.

Cocktails nightlife North Yorkshire and the Dales

Don’t miss out on your favourite cocktails on your trip to North Yorkshire and the Dales

In Thirsk, the renovated Black Lion bar and bistro, in Market Place, has a nice patio which catches the sun. There are several popular pubs in Ripon town centre. For real ale lovers, One Eyed Rat, in Allhallowgate, is a good choice, with up to eight beers on tap at any one time.

It’s impossible to discuss the nightlife of Northallerton without a mention for Club Amadeus. Known affectionally as Bongo by the locals, the venue is the place to go if you want to dance until the early hours and pick up a kebab from the takeaway opposite afterwards.

For a quirky night out, try The Potting Shed, in High Street, where you can eat and drink from your very own garden shed! The contemporary Tithe bar and brasserie, in Friarage Street, is another good option if you’re like craft ale and local-sourced food. As well as some good traditional pubs, Bedale has the Bridge Beer Café, which has a wide selection of beers from around the world, as well as a number of local gins and unusual vodkas.

Harrogate is perhaps the place to go for a glitz and glamour. For example, you will not look out of place wearing feathered headwear in Revolution de Cuba

Lock ins and locals

As you move into the Yorkshire Dales, you will find that as other services such as post offices, village halls and shops have shut, the humble village pub has stepped up to fill their place and is increasingly the focal point for many rural communities. In the Dales, a number of small breweries have opened in recent years and you can sample their products in most local pubs.

Anyone for a lock-in? In many villages, it is tradition for locals to go out for a drink later than you might in a town. Often pubs will not get busy on a weekend until 10pm and even before late licenses were more readily issued, village pubs would stay open until the early hours or the last drinker had had enough and was ready for bed. You could call it a lock-in although the door was rarely actually locked.

The biggest market towns in the Dales all have pubs which become lively, especially on a weekend. In Richmond, the King’s Head is popular with dressed-up drinkers, as is the Turf Hotel, which generally attracts a younger crowd. Micro-pub No 29, in Frenchgate, is a relatively new addition, but has been warmly welcomed by those looking for a more intimate night out.

The imposing Bolton Arms at the top of the Market Place in Leyburn is a safe bet for a good night, while the nearby Black Swan, also, is due to be renovated for the 2019 season and is frequented by both locals and visitors.

In Grassington, the Black Horse Hotel, in Garrs Lane, and the Forresters Arms, in Main Street, are among the most popular pubs, although there are several others to choose from. The narrow streets of Sedbergh also boast a number of good pubs. The family-owned Dalesman Inn has four real ales on tap at any one time, often including local Dales beers such as Black Sheep from Masham.

The Red Lion, in Finkle Street, is another traditional pub where you can play a game of darts or dominoes if you fancy. Skipton has a lively nightlife, with a number of good pubs which get busy on a weekend, including the Woolly Sheep, situated in Sheep Street, which has open fires when it’s cold, as well as wooden floors throughout and sheep’s fleeces on the chairs.

In the Dales, a number of small breweries have opened in recent years and you can sample their products in most local pubs

Nightclubs and cosy pubs

For those looking to let loose, nightclub Kooky, in Keighley Road, is the place to go. Royal spotting Swaledale and Arkengarthdale have some great pubs for a drink and some food. The Farmers Arms at Muker is usually busy. During the grouse shooting season royalty can occasionally be spotted over the tops at the Charles Bathurst Inn near Langthwaite.

Just down the road is the Red Lion, which has been run by landlady Rowena Hutchinson for almost 40 years. In Hawes, all four pubs – the Crown, Fountain, Board and White Hart – offer food, real ales and open fires. All the pubs are popular with visitors and locals, especially at the weekend when they can get very busy.

Not far from Hawes is the Green Dragon at Hardraw, which during the day serves as the gateway to the famous Hardraw Falls. Although the National Park’s main towns offer a wider choice, some of the liveliest pubs are off the beaten track outside the larger towns and villages.

Live singer

Watch some live performances in local bars

An example is the quirky Tan Hill Inn, near Reeth, which, at 1732ft above sea-level, is Britain’s highest pub. As well as being a regular stop-off for hikers, bikers and day-trippers, the pub has regular gig nights with the chart-topping Arctic Monkeys and Mark Ronson among the artists to have played the remote venue. The pub, which is a regular setting for TV dramas and commercials, has a bunk barn and camping available outside – and despite being a long way from just about anywhere, is well-known as a good place for a party.

The Moorcock Inn, near Garsdale Station, is another oasis of good beer and company among the hills, as is the Foresters Arms, in Carlton-in-Coverdale. The Foresters was rescued from the brink of closure a few years ago when it was bought by the local community. The pub is now operated on behalf of the villagers by tenants.

Continue up Coverdale and eventually you will come out at Kettlewell, in Wharfedale, which is very popular with visitors in the summer and is well-served by three pubs. If it’s a sunny evening, the tables outside the Blue Bell are a great place to spend a few hours sampling local beers and enjoying the views across the dale.

For those looking to let loose, nightclub Kooky, in Keighley Road, is the place to go

Pints in picturesque settings

Further up Wharfedale you come to the Buck Inn, at Buckden, which has to be one of the prettiest pubs in the Dales from the outside. Inside, you can expect to be greeted by a roaring fire in the traditional stone-flagged Dales bar. On the east coast, Scarborough is packed full of good bars and there’s definitely a party spirit in the summer months when the town is swelled by thousands of holidaymakers. You will find numerous options on St Nicholas Street and St Thomas Street, including Sanctuary Bar, which runs cocktail-making classes.

The trendy Ink Lounge Bar, in Villa Esplanade, has quirky décor and a large cocktail menu. L’Amour bar and nightclub, in Westborough, has regular live music nights and drinks promotions.

It’s only right that after dark Whitby, which inspired Bram Stoker to write Dracula, can be an exciting place, especially if it’s the annual Goth Weekend when lovers of goth clothing and music descend on the town in the hundreds. There’s several popular bars and pubs on either side of the River Esk that get busy on a weekend, including the Fleece and the Dolphin.

Pint of beer

Enjoy a refreshing pint at the historical Buck Inn

In Skinner Street you will find the Arch and Abbey pub, which is close enough to be convenient to the town centre but far enough away to escape those on a pub crawl. The Quirky Den, in Grape Lane, lives up to its name and is worth checking out.

For a quieter night, the Waiting Room, at Whitby Station, is the town’s first micro-pub. There’s no music or TVs meaning drinkers have no choice but to talk to each other! If you’re spending the night in Helmsley, you can’t go far wrong that the Feathers Hotel, in Market Place, which has a choice of two bars – Eversham or Pickwick. Elsewhere in the town there’s the Royal Oak Hotel.

Both pubs will hopefully have on tap real ale made by the local Helmsley Brewing Company. In Pickering, the Bay Horse has a long history of providing hospitality to weary travellers with Oliver Cromwell among its former patrons. Today, it’s a good place for pint, a bit to eat and a game of pool.

Malton is increasingly well known for its dining options, but there are some good pubs, including the Royal Oak which has a nice beer garden at the back. No 46 Café:Bar, in Market Place, is a contemporary hang-out that does a great line in cocktails and cream teas – a combination that is sure to catch on!


Everything you need to know about North Yorkshire and the Dales

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Your guide to arts and culture in North Yorkshire and the Dales

Image credits: ©Elevate/Walter Lee Olivares/Unsplash; Rawpixel.com/Adobe Stock; Shutterstock

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