As we head out of lockdowns and into summertime, the temptation for a night out in York is overwhelming. The social vibes of bars and restaurants are craved, as their absence has made our hearts grow even fonder. 

As folk flock into the city looking to replenish their thirst for a good time, many are leaving cars at home to avoid the hassles of parking and restrictions of sobriety, and removing the cost of taxis too. Instead, York is easily accessed from all sides of the city by bus, as a regular affordable alternative, and from the drop off and pick up at Stonebow, there are plenty of attractions nearby. 

Trio

Step off the bus and within a few steps are an abundance of options to go to on Colliergate. Just off here, one of the first places you’ll encounter on everyone’s favourite street name Whip-Ma-Whop-Ma-Gate is also one of the best. Trio is a double delight, as a daytime patisserie and evening mezze tapas bar. Mediterranean plates of the highest quality alongside wonderful wines and classy cocktails in a warm and friendly setting – what’s not to love? 

Cave du Cochon 

Just round the corner from Stonebow is York’s independent hub of Fossgate and Walmgate. The streets, which join into one another, are filled with cafes, bars, restaurants and shops of unique excellence. One Walmgate standout is the cosy wine bar Cave du Cochon, sister to neighbouring restaurant Le Cochon Aveugle. The cave serves expertly selected vino by the glass, carafe or bottle, plus charcuteries and cheeses chosen with equal care, and pizzas made with love and excellence.  

The Blue Barbakan

A short walk from Walmgate to Fossgate takes us from France to Poland. The Blue Barbakan cooks up traditional Polish cuisine such as bigos and pierogi alongside dishes with a more modern European twist. The atmosphere is of warm comfort and you’ll be sure to leave with a full belly, a smiling face and a nourished soul. 

Ambiente

Continuing the European tour within a few yards, this vibrant Spanish tapas joint is a fabulous visit for a social night out with a touch of class. Small plates and large paellas make for a perfect sharing experience, although the likes of albindagas, gambas and pimento are perhaps too tasty to not eat all for yourself. All washed down with a classic Rioja or their speciality flight of sherries! 

Yakamoz

Heading a little further into town, it is still only a five minute stroll from Stonebow to Goodramgate, where you’ll find some excellent eclectic eateries, including Turkish great Yakamoz. The menu is filled with mouth-watering choices of hot and cold mezes, traditional pides, mixed grills and sweet baklavas. Whichever you go for, there’s plenty of raki to shoot you into the right spirit. 

Sapori

York’s famous ancient cobbled street Shambles is only a couple of minutes from the bus stop, and amongst the history and tourism here is a piece of Italian goodness. Sapori opened in 2019 and has established itself as a place of relaxed quality, from the cosy vibes to the comforting food of classic carbonaras, romana pizzas and godfather burgers. 

All of the above and the many more surrounding bars and restaurants make for a fabulous evening out for food, drink and good times in York, all within minutes of Stonebow. Convinced to leave the car and save on the taxi, you can make the bus ride even easier by planning ahead on the First Bus app, on which you can buy your mobile ticket of choice, including the group friendly First Taste of Freedom, where five passengers travel for a fiver on weekends and bank holidays. Let the social reuniting commence! 

Images: Trio, The Blue Barbakan, Ambiente, Sapori