Few bar openings have been awaited so keenly as that of the Pavement Vaults. Now the waiting is nearly over as it opens to the public on Sunday (November 22).
There are many reasons to welcome the new venue. Firstly, it has turned a long-boarded up corner of Piccadilly into a thing of beauty, continuing the overdue rehabilitation of the Old White Swan building.
Secondly, it is brought to us by the Pivovar Group. These good people are all about individualism, quality and friendliness, as anyone who has drunk at their other city pubs, Pivni on Patrick Pool or the York Tap at the station, will testify.
And thirdly, this large and lively new venue brings jobs and buzz to the city centre just as we head into our biggest Christmas season yet.
A landmark venue
He has lived in York for 20 years, and for all that time the White Swan Hotel had been a beautiful landmark “left to rot”.
In a wide-ranging interview with YorkMix pubs and beer correspondent Nick Love, he explained how, in one sense, he is taking the location back in time.
But it’s just been knocked about and abused.
Jamie confessed he felt “a little bit embarrassed to be opening another bar in York”.
“But this is a landmark venue,” he said. “And if I didn’t do it, somebody else would do it.
“I just had my eye on it first, and it’s the old classic of having the eye for the industry, thinking there should be a pub round here – and there once was.”
Chef has cooked for the Queen
This is not just a bar, but a “progressive beer, smoke & barbeque canteen”. Jamie said:
That trend – which began in the States – is just catching on here. And among the 30 or so jobs created by Pavement Vaults will be master butchers.
He was the head barbecue chef for the whole party there. It seems like make-believe – but it’s rock’n’roll in my world.
So the food will include properly aged, smoked and grilled meat – like nothing else around.
Drinks for all
But the Pavement Vaults will have a more extensive drinks menu, including modern classic cocktails selected by hospitality veteran Sam Wheatley (ex of Star Inn The City).
Thanks to the big windows which look out over Piccadilly and towards Parliament Street, the ground floor has a lovely airy feel.
At the back you can see through to the brand new kitchen, and watch the chefs prepare the food.
2 Piccadilly, York YO1 9NU
Opens from Sun Nov 22
The lighting is much more moody, and you can sit in specially designed, horseshoe shaped booths.
Events are planned for the future, including “Meet The Brewer” and a whisky masterclass.