Sunday 31st March 2013
St Martins Lane is an ancient street in the Micklegate district of York. Micklegate itself is the name of the street that leads from the Micklegate Bar (the gate through the city walls) northwards to the river, once a ferry, later a bridge, where access is gained to the main part of the city and the Minster (Cathedral). St Martins Lane gains its name from the church of St Martin cum Gregory on the corner of Micklegate.
Of course, our destination pub, the Ackhorne is in St Martins Lane, yet it cannot be seen from Micklegate. Walking along the narrow thoroughfare gives the impression that you are on the set of a Victorian costume drama. I'm pretty certain that the cobbles are very old indeed and at the beginning there are two parallel stone inlays that would have provided a smoother ride for horse-drawn carriages.
Once you have walked a very short way along, the pub comes into view. Although the history of York generally is very easy to research I found I could find out very little regarding The Ackhorne. The name is an Old English spelling of Acorn. It is said that the house dates from the eighteenth century and that is probably correct. Whether it had that strange spelling back then would be conjecture. However it was recorded as being the Acorn in 1834. I cannot find out which brewing company it belonged to in its later years, although it is currently owned by Enterprise Inns.
The current name was adopted in 1993. This information is out there so I would be grateful to learn more, if only for the sake of completeness.
Inside, the pub is one main room, although the stain glass windows indicate that there was at least a Tap and a Smoke Room at one time. The floors are part wooden and part flagstones. The bar is at the Micklegate end of the pub opposite the Smoke Room Window. At the far end is a lovely area with a fireplace that is used during the colder months. At the back of the pub is an outside drinking (smoking) area up on a terrace. The pub is very welcoming and is often frequented by students.
The beers on offer when I called in were as follows: firstly the two regulars; Caledonian (Edinburgh) Deuchars IPA (3.8%) and Rooster's (Knaresborough, North Yorks) Yankee (4.3%). The remainder were: Hadrian Border (Newcastle) Ouseburn Porter (5.2%); Abbeydale (Sheffield, South Yorks) Dr Morton's Face Tube (4.1%); Timothy Taylor (Keighley, North Yorks) Golden Best (3.5%) and Wychwood (Witney, Oxfordshire) Hobgoblin (4.5%).
For cider and perry lovers there was Weston's (Much Marcle, Herefordshire) Scrumpy (7.3%) and Ginger Cider (4.0%), also Broad Oak (Clutton, Somerset) Perry (7.5%).
Food is served Monday to Friday: 12.00 to 15.00, Saturday: 12.00 to 17.00 and Sunday: 12.00-16.00. On Sundays there is a quiz from 20.30 onwards and traditional pub board games are played on Mondays from 20.00. This is a lovely little boozer that is a welcome retreat from the hubbub of the Micklegate pubs, yet is worth a visit at any time.
The Ackhorne, 9 St Martin's Lane, York YO1 6LN. Tel: 01904 671421
Open: Sunday to Thursday 12.00-23.00; Friday to Saturday 12.00-24.00
The pub is about ten minutes walk to 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 bus routes stop outside the station including the Coastliner route from Scarborough via Malton, continuing to Tadcaster and Leeds. It is also about five minutes from the city centre with many other buses.