Golden Ball, York

2 Cromwell Road
01904 849040

In 2012 189 people bought a share to buy the lease of the Golden Ball, making it the first community owned cooperative pub in York and only the 12th in the UK.

The Golden Ball is a community pub in all senses, with meetings by local groups, a quiz night, exhibitions by local artists and a rare bar billiards table!  Music is big here with weekly open mic sessions and folk nights, monthly live bands, and blues nights and frequent Latin nights. A good selection of cask beer is sold and the pub has been the local Camra branch’s Pub of the Season.

The pub is a real gem, pretty much unchanged since it was given a stylish makeover in 1929 when the exquisite glazed brick facade and tiled signage was added (photo 1). The refurb was carried out by then owners John Smiths Brewery and their ‘Tadcaster Ales’ and ‘Magnet Ales’ straplines were both proudly displayed (photo 2). The ‘Jug & Bottle Dept’ was where you went to buy takeaways of draught ale (photo 3).

The interior is unspoilt as well, with four rooms, including a main bar with a tiled counter, a bar-side alcove or snug which is thought to be unique (photo 3), the old smoke room, now called the garden room (photo 5) and a small lounge with a bar billiards table. Bar billiards tables are mostly found in the south of England, but York has two – there is also one at the Phoenix across the river. The paintings by local artists can be seen on the walls of the smoke room and the billiards room (photos 3 & 5).

The pub name was one used by tradesmen in the past because it was both a striking and simple symbol, and for once has no connection to heraldry. The 3D inn sign is indeed striking, especially when it catches the sun (photo 4).

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