Swan, York

16 Bishopgate Street
YO23 1JH
01904 634968

The Swan is an unaltered 1930s pub just across the river from the centre, famous now for its range of quality cask beers. There are eight of them, with four regulars and four changing beers. The regulars are Masquerade (a dark mild) and Swan Blonde, both from Half Moon Brewery and Taylor’s Landlord. The Swan was once a Tetley pub and loyally, the fourth regular beer is Tetley’s Bitter. The changing beers are well chosen with a usually interesting selection from across the country. The pub is “wet-led” and there is no food.

When it was still owned by Tetley (the once famous Leeds brewery) they presented the pub with one of their Tetley Heritage Inn plaques, and it still stands on the wall outside (photo 6). This celebrates the largely unchanged layout and fabric of the pub since it was given a major makeover by Tetley in 1936. It still has the traditional “West Riding” style stand-up drinking lobby with a terrazzo floor and leaded glass screen above the bar (photo 3). These lobbies were once quite common in Leeds and Bradford pubs, and a few made it as far as York. There is a smaller one in the Phoenix, just over the river. The public bar (photo 4) and the smoke room (photo 5), both with hatches to the bar, are also still intact.

The Swan actually dates from 1861 and was a beerhouse until well into the 20th century (photo 1).  The inn sign recalls its Tetley years but the image in the photo has recently been replaced by a new one (photo 2).

Paul Crossman, the current owner of the Swan also owns the nearby Slip Inn and the Volunteers Arms, close to the railway station. He is also chair of the Campaign for Pubs, a UK-wide membership organisation campaigning to support, promote and protect our pubs.

View in What Pub
Pub Website
Pub Twitter Account

Click photo to enlarge