Two more York pubs to get a new look – and one reopens

Changes afoot for York drinkers… Photograph: Matan Segev

Two more well-known pubs in York city centre are to be refurbished, but plans to rename one of them have been scrapped.

The owners of The Golden Fleece in Pavement and O’Neill’s in Low Ousegate have both lodged plans with City of York Council.

The Golden Fleece is one of York’s oldest pubs. The earliest known mention, according to Hugh Murray’s Directory of York Pubs, was in 1666, although the owners say part of the building dates to 1503.

Successive managers have also marketed it as one of York’s most haunted buildings.

The Golden Fleece on Pavement. Photograph: YorkMix

The current owners, EI Group (formerly known as Enterprise Inns) want to refurbish the terrace behind the building, repaint the front signs, replace other signs, repair damaged floors inside and also improve fire protection in the guest rooms upstairs.

They have already been granted planning permission to repair and strengthen the distinctive stone arch above the front window.

Agents for EI Group say: “Our proposals will assist in further developing the success of this local business, through an improved customer offer to the many visitors attracted to the City of York.”

Paint it black

In need of a brush – O’Neills on Low Ousegate, York now… Photograph © Google Street View

A few minutes’ walk away in Low Ousegate, more changes are planned.

O’Neill’s is owned by Mitchells and Butlers, who want to redesign the pub. The most obvious change will be outside, with plans to do away with the blue exterior and repaint it black.

There will also be new signs inside and out, and a revamped and enlarged back bar area, decorated with new brick-effect finishes and reclaimed barrels.

The back yard and conservatory areas will also be refurbished. There will be no structural changes inside the building.

…and how it will look after the refurb. This artist’s impression was submitted to City of York Council planners

The company applied in 2014 for permission for a revamp that would have seen the pub renamed as The Merchant Tavern, but those plans were later abandoned.

The building has been a pub since around 1840 and has been O’Neill’s since 1996. Previous names were The Board, Hillyard’s Wine Lodge, The Lodge, Yates’ Wine Lodge and Dukes of York.

Vaults reopens

New stage… Victoria Vaults on Nunnery Lane. Photograph: YorkMix

Mitchells and Butlers’ planning agents say in the O’Neill’s application documents: “The proposed works largely concern a new, carefully coordinated, decorative treatment to both the internal, and external, customer trade areas.

“The works are all reversible and they cause no harm to the heritage significance of the building, or the contribution that it makes to the character and appearance of the surrounding conservation area.”

January is often when pubs choose to carry out refurbishment works, as trade is generally quieter. Earlier this week, YorkMix reported that The Keystones, beside Monk Bar, had closed for a two-week refurbishment.

Changes there will include a new games zone, and new beers.

The Victoria Vaults in Nunnery Lane will also reopen this Sunday, after a closure of a few days.

A new stage and PA system have been installed to cement its reputation as a popular and successful live music venue.

It reopens on Sunday (January 7), when Audiosouls will be performing from 4pm.