First look: Inside York pub after £500k makeover

Your hosts at The Gillygate, Brian and Suzanne Furey. Photographs: Richard McDougall
Your hosts at The Gillygate, Brian and Suzanne Furey. Photographs: Richard McDougall

Pints, platters and people – the three ingredients that will help make The Gillygate the centre of its community, according to landlord Brian Furey.

Brian has just opened the doors of the pub – on Gillygate, of course – after a £500,000 refurb.

The first regulars to see it “had a big smile on their faces” when they realised that it was still a pub, after its half a mill makeover.

He wants to turn The Gillygate into the sort of pub common in his native Ireland.

“You go into a pub in Ireland and it’s the centre of the community,” he said. “You go to meet someone, to buy a postage stamp – it’s there for everybody.

“Gillygate is perfectly positioned on a great street. The independent retailers here are unique.

“If someone comes into the pub, I want them to feel welcome.”

Inside the pub

Before the investment, the Gillygate had hardly been touched for 30 years, Brian said. “It reminded me of a 1980s B&B.”

Now it is beautifully appointed. The pub has four rooms: a main bar, an old fashioned tap room, a front room – and a new whisky snug fashioned from what was previously a gents’ toilet.

Perhaps the biggest change is the former car park round the back has been turned into a beer garden.

The pub has eight rooms for guests.

the-gillygate-pub-york-poster
 
the-gillygate-pub-york-fire
 
the-gillygate-pub-york-beer-garden
 
the-gillygate-pub-york-corner

Food and drink

A real ale fan, Brian has installed eight handpulls on the bar.

His plan is not to focus on local ales, but beers from around the country. He opened with a selection including Tribute from St Austell Brewery in Cornwall (4.2% ABV), Black Sheep Bitter (4.4%) and Farmers Blonde by Sheffield brewers Bradfield (4.0%).

Beers will be in the price range of £3.20 to £3.40 a pint.

Brian is gradually introducing his food offer. This will centre around sharing platters – for example, a Yorkshire platter or cheese platter.

Priced around £9.50 they are designed for sharing, and are part of his mission to get people talking to one another.

Other items on the menu will be traditional dishes like burgers or fish and chips.

You can choose from a large range of whiskies to be sipped in the snug, via a hip flask…

the-gillygate-pub-york-landlord-brian-furey
 
the-gillygate-pub-york-exterior
 
the-gillygate-pub-york-mirror
 
the-gillygate-pub-york-bench

Entertainment

When he ran the Lamb & Lion on Low Petergate Brian brought in theatre company the Flanagan Collective to stage shows in the pub.

And the tradition continues at The Gillygate. The first pub theatre is set for Tuesday, June 24 when Hedgepig Theatre present Double Barrel 3.

The Smart Phone Pub Quiz takes place every Wednesday.

Meanwhile, Brian is ask people to “pay what they want” for their morning coffees, with all money raised going to BBC Radio York’s Good Night Sleep appeal.