Large York bar to close for major revamp – and reopen with a new name

Photograph: Gonzalo Remy

One of York’s biggest bars is to undergo a major redevelopment and will reopen under a new name, to secure its long-term future.

The owners of The Graduate in Lendal plan to relaunch it as The Old Bank. The firm has submitted planning application to City of York Council, revealing the new look.

The bar is owned by Stonegate Pub Company, which runs more than 770 pubs and bars around the country.

How the redevelopment would look. Image: planning documents
The application submitted to the council is for new signs, and redecoration of the outside of the building.

The application documents say the change would support the “economic wellbeing” of the business and say the changes will “help ensure that it is worthy of being frequented for many more years to come”.

Previously a bank

The Graduate as it is now. Photograph: Richard McDougall
The Graduate opened in 2011, in the building that had previously been Varsity.

The building had historically been housing, shops and then a bank during the latter half of the 1900s, but it was converted into a pub in the 1990s, and was extended at the back when it became The Graduate.

A planning agent for Stonegate said the plans were to “essentially rebrand, replace and update the existing signage scheme on these buildings”.

And there are jobs available. A post on its Facebook page said:

  • The Graduate is about to undergo a huge refurb & rebrand and we need amazing people to lead our team!

    We can offer competitive rates of pay, an award winning development programme along with local & national discounts.


The relaunch will be the latest in a wave of fast-paced change in Lendal in recent years.

The long-standing Robson & Cooper building was converted to the second House of The Trembling Madness bar in 2018, Zaap Thai opened in the former Gourmet Burger Kitchen premises last year and the old post office building is set to be converted into a Miller & Carter steakhouse.

The agents said the street was a “vibrant and active” area by day and night, and said their proposed signs were sympathetic to the surrounding buildings. They said the works would cause no permanent change to the building.

YorkMix has asked the company for full details of their proposals, and is awaiting a response.