One of the greatest things about living in the area of York I do, is that it’s practically impossible to get into the city centre, without passing one of York’s finest boozers, The Fox . Crowned the Winter Pub of the Year by York CAMRA, the pub is always full of regulars and visitors alike, and is a credit to the east side of York.
As the pub is leased by Osset Brewery, there is always a fantastic selection of their beers on, as well as two/three great guest ales on at any one time. Stalwarts include Osset’s Excelsior, Yorkshire Blonde and Silver King from the core Osset range – but you can almost always guarantee a cracking White Rat will also be on from one of Osset’s micro breweries.
Another core beer you can always find on the pump at The Fox is Tetley Cask, one of the underrated cask ales meaning alongside Osset’s finest, you can pick up another local ale. Guest ales normally include at least one dark beer and another Rat Brewery offering totalling nine hand pumps at full capacity. You’re never short of choice and if 3-5% solid ales are your tipple of choice, this really is the pub for you in York.
I can honestly say in the six years or so I’ve been going to The Fox, there are fewer places I feel more relaxed and at home in. The clientele and customers are always on top form and there’s always a friendly face for you to make friends with.
It’s homely with five distinct areas to choose from. The pub once served the railway works and the decor reflects that in a couple of rooms wonderfully. Being a Grade 2 listed building, it certainly has a vibe that allows you to be taken back in time; some excellent posters show how York’s beer history has changed and overall, there’s a warm, happy atmosphere throughout.
Image: Osset Brewery
One of the main things Mandy and The Fox team have tried to do in recent years is build on their events portfolio – especially utilising their vast beer garden to put on family friendly days throughout the spring and summer. Two annual beer festivals add an extra six or seven beers to their already excellent portfolio and almost weekly weekend events during the summer, draw the crowds. From barbecues to community games, the pubs beer garden has it all from April right through to September.
The pub’s bonfire night spectacular is one of York’s finest also and never have I seen the place more lively than on November 5th (there or thereabouts). Some of the live music recently has also been on point from covers bands in the beer garden, through to folk musicians in the main bar. Poker nights, quizzes and regular ad hoc events all add to the pub’s packed events agenda and it’s this, along with their quality beer that makes it a must visit place in York.
All in all, The Fox is a really superb pub that signifies all it means to be a traditional York boozer. Heritage, history and some fine ales all combine to make this Holgate venue one of York’s ultimate gems. Since 2014, when it looked uncertain the pub would survive, Osset have done a brilliant job in restoring this place and making it a community hub right on the edge of the city.
Address: The Fox | 168 Holgate Road
| York | YO24 4DQ