With summer now upon us, enjoying a cool drink in a beer garden seems like the perfect way to unwind and socialise. If you’re catching up with friends in York or taking a break from shopping, you might be searching for somewhere to stop for a drink in the city. York is home to a wealth of great bars and pubs, many with courtyards or terraces to relax in. Whether you prefer craft beers or cocktails, there really is something for everyone. Here’s a guide to a few of our favourite venues for drinks in York.

Dyls, Skeldergate Bridge

Located in the iconic Motor House on Skeldergate Bridge, Dyls is an independent cafe and bar with an interior that imaginatively blends old and new. It’s worth stopping for a drink here just to admire the wonderfully eclectic and bohemian decor, although the narrow and winding staircases mean that some parts of the building aren’t wheelchair accessible. If you’re after some fresh air, you can sit on the covered and heated terrace which overlooks the River Ouse. The drinks list at Dyls includes wines, spirits and draught and bottled beers, as well as plenty of hot and soft drinks to enjoy. You’ll also find some of the best cocktails in York, with inspired takes on many classics. Try the ‘Dyls Old Fashioned’ with muddled fresh rosemary and honey, Sexton whisky and Angostura bitters, or the ‘Pumpkin Spice White Russian’ featuring Conker coffee liqueur, vodka and pumpkin spice syrup, topped with whipped cream and a candy cane.

Los Moros, Grape Lane

Modern North African kitchen Los Moros was founded in 2015 by Tarik Abdeladim, who started his business with a street food stall in the Shambles Market. The restaurant has a smart yet playful interior with Moroccan zellige-style tiling and a colourful courtyard garden with palm trees. The wine list here features plenty of reds, whites and rosés as well as champagne, port and dessert wines. You’ll also find four delicious liqueur coffees to try, made with beans from El Salvador, Brazil and India that have been hand-roasted by Limini Coffee in Cleckheaton.

Stonegate Bar and Yard, Little Stonegate

Residing in a beautiful converted Georgian townhouse in York’s popular Swinegate Quarter, Stonegate Bar serves a menu of classic comfort food made with locally-sourced ingredients. You can enjoy real ales, bottled beers, wine, gin and sangria here, while tucking into a pint of mussels or a hearty beef burger. The restaurant is also home to Stonegate Yard – one of the best all-weather beer gardens in York, which is heated and covered with a canopy in cooler months.

The Phoenix Inn, George Street

The oldest surviving pub inside of York’s city walls, The Phoenix Inn is a traditional alehouse with a laid back, friendly atmosphere. There are no games machines or TVs here but you can enjoy live jazz or get cosy next to a real log fire in winter. The building dates back to the late 1700s and its interior still reflects the style of its late 19th century refit. Outside you’ll find a paved courtyard garden that catches the sun throughout the day. The Phoenix promotes Northern breweries and there are always five real ales on tap here, including Golden Pippin, Wold Top Bitter, Timothy Taylor’s Landlord and two regularly changing guest ales.

2 Many Wines, Bishopthorpe Road

If you’re a wine aficionado who loves to be spoiled for choice, Bishy Road might be the place to head next time you’re looking for drinks in York. Founded by Cyriaque Lajoinie and Beniamino Berluti in 2021, 2 Many Wines is a dedicated wine shop and bar with an impressive array of different varieties and vintages on its shelves. If you’re drinking in, there’s a relaxed sommelier service through which you can choose from 250 bottles at shop price plus corkage. There’s also a constantly changing selection of wines served by the glass. 2 Many Wines has recently extended its opening hours, so you can now stay until 11:30pm on Fridays and 12:30am on Saturdays. There’s even a small food menu available, with options such as sharing platters of cheese or charcuterie that are designed to perfectly complement the wines.

The Golden Ball, Cromwell Road

Situated in Bishopshill, this Grade II listed pub is brimming with history. The building is believed to be over 200 years old and mentions of its use as a pub have been found in newspapers dating back to 1773 – Charles Dickens is even rumoured to have once been a patron here. The Golden Ball made local headlines again in 2012 when it became the first pub in York to be run as a community co-operative. Behind its bar, you’ll find a regularly changing selection of hand-pulled cask ales, many of which are brewed in Yorkshire. Pub quizzes and live music events are held here on a regular basis and barbecues take place through the summer in the pub’s pleasantly shaded beer garden.

Jorvine, Fulford

Housed in a former bike shop, the building that is now Jorvine was lovingly renovated by Kris Cattaneo and Jess Hall, who realised their dream of opening a wine shop and tasting lounge in 2021. The couple wanted to create a comfortable and inviting space in which to try new wines and you’ll find something to suit all tastes and occasions here. Jorvine stocks over 500 different wines and the rarest vintage bottles are safely tucked away in their own ‘wine jail’ at the back of the shop. The bar’s interior has an industrial feel with exposed brick walls and there’s also a courtyard garden to relax in. You can even take part in a wine tasting and try a selection of different wines accompanied by charcuterie and cheese.

The Grand, Station Rise

Located in the centre of York, overlooking the city’s historic walls, The Grand is an imposing five-star hotel and spa that dates back to 1906. Within the hotel, you’ll find The Rise, a restaurant and bar with decadent decor featuring velvet chairs, parquet flooring and large modern chandeliers. You can take in the sumptuous surroundings while tucking into a variety of award-winning dishes, including a delightfully indulgent afternoon tea with Pimms. The Rise offers a hand-picked wine list along with classic and signature cocktails, like their Roman Spritz – an invigorating blend of Tio Pepe sherry and Italicus, with notes of bergamot and cardamom – or the sweet and sparkling Raspberry and Lychee Bellini. The Grand is also home to the 1906 bar, which offers a more intimate drinking experience. Here, you’ll find an extensive selection of premium spirits and whiskies to suit all tastes, along with Yorkshire ales, wines and champagnes.

Pairings Wine Bar, Castlegate

Serving beer, gin, whisky and cocktails, Pairings is more than just a wine bar. The concept here is all about pairing and you can taste and compare a selection of wines and spirits alongside each other, or with their recommended food accompaniments. You can try a flight of three different wines from £15 and the bar utilises the Coravin system, allowing you to purchase even the most special wines by the glass. Parings has a warm and welcoming atmosphere, created by owners Kelly and Kate who want guests to feel at home whatever their wine knowledge. Pairings’ drinks list includes aperitifs like Campari and soda or white port and tonic and you can have a bite to eat here in the form of tapas.

SPARK, Piccadilly

If you’re hoping to enjoy some outdoor drinks in York but can’t quite muster the energy for a bar crawl, a trip to SPARK might be the best alternative. Within this vibrant community space you’ll find a variety of fabulous bars serving all kinds of alcoholic refreshments to drink in the open air. There’s Spritz, which serves only spritz cocktails, and the Bohemian Bar – the city’s smallest piano bar. In Unit 25, on the first floor of the North Terrace, you’ll also find the Piccadilly Tap, where you can choose a craft beer from one of the ten keg lines or try their range of organic natural wines.

Photos: Stonegate Bar, Spark, The Golden Ball