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Work is now underway on a half-million pound makeover set to transform a big York pub.

Bootham Tavern, the three-storey hostelry which dominates the corner of Bootham and Bootham Row, is now closed for a six-week refurb.

It will reopen on Wednesday, December 7, after £500,000 has been lavished on it by pub operator Punch, creating ten new jobs.

The landmark red brick building is undergoing a full internal refurbishment, both to the pub and its six letting rooms.

When it opens again, Bootham Tavern will feature a new back bar area, updated and improved facilities, new signage and an upgraded external courtyard area.

There will be new lighting and wall coverings throughout to create what Punch calls “a quirky, modern space for customers to enjoy”.

This atmosphere will be helped by an abundance of bric-a-brac throughout the pub.

‘Very exciting’

Molly's Tearooms, part of the Antiques Centre on Stonegate
Molly’s Tearooms, part of the Antiques Centre on Stonegate

The project is a collaboration between national pub operator Punch and local entrepreneur, Nicola Hunter, who also runs Molly’s Tearooms on Stonegate.

She said: “This is a very exciting new venture for me. Many years ago I worked in the Bay Horse on Marygate.

“I thoroughly enjoyed my time there and am looking forward to going back to my roots at The Bootham.”

The pub began life as the Black Horse on Bootham, which dates from at least 1745.

According to A Directory Of York Pubs by historian Hugh Murray, it was offered for sale in 1866 “and was rebuilt, reopening as The Bootham Tavern, a beerhouse… A full ‘on’ licence was granted on 14 February 1961.”

Encased in scaffolding: the Bootham Tavern
Encased in scaffolding: the Bootham Tavern

The refitted Bootham Tavern will have a strong focus on craft ales and live sport, broadcasting major football and rugby matches as well as other sporting fixtures.

Punch openings manager Sam Ward said:

The Bootham Tavern is a traditional pub with masses of potential. It is ideally located for shoppers, evening drinkers, tourists and visitors to the racecourse.

With its stunning new look and Nicola at the helm, I am sure it is going to be a real hit with customers old and new.

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