Sunday 31st March 2013
The Maltings first opened its doors to the thirsty public in 1842, although it wasn't known by that name. It opened as the Railway Tavern. It may seem to be a strange name nowadays but it was relevant back then. York's second railway station was very close, being built in the Toft Green area, within the city walls, no more than 200 yards (metres) from the pub's front door.
The present station was opened in 1877 and the old premises closed to passengers, although it remained in use for carriage storage. Its handsome main buildings are still standing.
Sometime later the pub's name was changed to the Lendal Bridge Inn. The bridge's approach rises in front of the pub and was completed in 1863 replacing a ferry that became very overcrowded following the opening of the station. It was a toll bridge until 1894 and the two stone toll booths can still be seen, nowadays functioning as cafés.
I believe, by the 1930s the pub was owned by the Tadcaster Tower Brewery. This started brewing in 1882 and led a rather uneventful life until it combined with Hammond's Brewery of Bradford in 1946 becoming Hammonds United Brewery.
The next merger was with Charrington's of London and thereafter was known as Charrington-United. Not for very long though, as this company joined with two other brewing giants, Bass of Burton and Mitchells & Butler of Birmingham and Wolverhampton to form Bass-Charrington.
Bass eventually quit brewing but not before they sold the pub to Anita Adams in 1992. It is run by her daughter Maxine and her husband Shaun, who is the well known "face" of the Maltings. As can be seen from the photographs the interior is not unlike a museum of retailing with innumerable signs decorating the walls.
It is a warm and welcoming pub and is often very busy. To alleviate this a little a new extension has been built and opened in July 2012. At the same time new toilets were unveiled and the kitchen was relocated and enlarged.
On the subject of food, the kitchen is known as the Dragon's Den and it produces uncompromisingly solid pub style food. This is served from 12.00 to 14.00 Monday to Friday and from 12.00 to 16.00 Saturday and Sunday.
There are normally seven cask beers available, with just one being a regular, Black Sheep (Masham, North Yorks) Best Bitter (3.8%). When I called in the other six were: Roosters (Knaresborough) Cogburn (4.3%); York Brewery (York) Guzzler (3.6%); Poachers (North Hykeham) Santas Come (6.5%); Brass / Riding (Pockborough) Xmas Kitty (5.5%); Wood Street (Sheffield) Honey Locust (4.6%) and Hand Drawn Monkey (Huddersfield) Porter (4.8%). Why there should be two Christmas beers amongst this selection in March is anyone's guess!
Cider drinkers are not forgotten as there was choice of Biddenden (Biddenden, Kent) Medium (8.0%); West Croft (Brent Knoll, Somerset) Janet's Jungle Juice (6.0%); Black Rat (Melksham, Wilts) Dry (6.0%) and Gwynt y ddraig (Pontypridd, South Wales) Blackberry Cider (4.0%).
The pub is noted for its selection of whiskies from around the world and also stocks a very large range of fruit wines. There is music on Monday night and every Tuesday evening there is a Folk Club.
As this pub is about halfway between the station and the Minster there can be no excuses for not visiting should you be in York.
The Maltings, Tanner's Moat, York YO1 1HU. Tel: 01904 655387
Open: Monday to Saturday 11.00-23.00; Sunday 12.00-22.30
The Maltings is just over five minutes walk from York station, which is well connected to the rest of the country. Main operator is East Coast trains and they link the station with London, Peterborough, Newcastle and Edinburgh. They also have through trains to Aberdeen and, once a day, Inverness. Transpennine Express connects York with Newcastle, Middlesbrough, Scarborough, Leeds, Huddersfield, Manchester and Liverpool. Cross Country trains run through York from Glasgow, Edinburgh, Newcastle, Sheffield, Derby, Birmingham, Bristol and South West England, right down to Penzance. Local services are in the hands of Northern Rail and go to Hull and Harrogate amongst other destinations. There is the occasional train operated by East Midlands Trains.
Several local bus routes stop in nearby Rougier Street.