Café-bar, micro-brewery and distillery planned for Micklegate

A view of the building from the city walls, looking down Micklegate. Photographs: Richard McDougall
11 Jan 2018 @ 6.12 pm
| Business, Food & Drink

Three years after they helped the rejuvenation of Fossgate, a brother and sister team have revealed ambitious plans that could help accelerate Micklegate’s revival.

Sarah and Michael Lakin launched the Fossgate Social in October 2013.

Their new plan is to transform an imposing property at the top of Micklegate into a café-bar, performance space, micro-brewery / distillery and off licence.

And they are determined to play their part in the regeneration of York’s royal street, investing “a significant sum of their own money to ensure the café, shop and brewery/distillery make a positive contribution to the vibrancy, vitality and character of the surrounding area”.

‘Same relaxed style’

A view from the ground

Sarah and Michael are in the process of taking over the lease for 148-150 Micklegate.

These buildings are now home to Your Bike Shed, comprising a bike repair shop at no 148 and a cycling-themed licensed café at in 150.

To see their plans come to fruition, the couple have asked City of York Council for permission to run a bar and brewery at the premises, and to extend the opening hours.

It would very much be in the fashion of a larger Fossgate Social, which they have established as an easy-going and friendly cafe during the day and bar at night.

“The Micklegate property is a good fit for a second venue along the same relaxed style,” they say in their application.

What’s planned

The imposing corner building dates from the mid-19th century

The café-bar
This will be on the ground floor of number 150, the corner building facing Micklegate Bar.

It would serve coffee and tea from 8am, breakfasts and brunches, hot toasties, soups and cakes, hot and cold tapas and platters throughout the day until two hours before it closed.

Beer and other alcohol would be served from 11am. It would be licensed till midnight and close at 12.30am.

The ‘cheapest pint equivalent’ would be £4.50 so “this will not be a place for heavy drinking”.

Outdoor seating would run next to the Micklegate side of the building and it would enjoy a makeover inside.

Introducing warm low level lighting, an attractive serving bar and a range of seating including dining tables and chairs and more relaxed lounge furniture, the extension of the existing licensed café will sit beautifully within the corner building with its large floor-to-ceiling windows.

– Design and access statement

Basement performance space
“The basement would be great resource for events and performances,” the application states.

“Located below ground level it enjoys natural sound-proofing.” That, and the separate exit to Bar Lane, could enable it to stay open till 1.30am.

It would be a space for “music and shows such as comedy nights, quiz nights, lectures and films”.

Doorstaff would be present for events and on the nights of race meetings.

Micro-brewery, distillery and off-licence

Number 148 is where the micro-brewery will be located

Michael and Sarah have started a microbrewery, brewing small-batches of craft beer for use at the Fossgate Social.

The plan is to carry out small scale brews and/or spirit distillation at 148 Micklegate.

Brew kit and spirit stills would be displayed in the large glass windows of the property, which dates back to the late 17th century.

That would signal “the establishment’s character as an artisanal producer of small batch quality alcohol products and give the place a unique selling point”.

The shop would sell the beer and spirits, as well as gifts on the same theme like T-shirts and guidebooks.

People could also go on brewery or distillery tours. The off-licence would be open from 9am-11pm.

You can read the proposals on the York planning website