The Three Cranes

The Three Cranes

St Sampson's Square

Tel: 01904 653367


DESCRIBED as a 'proper city centre pub' by licensee Barry Sissons, The Three Cranes certainly fulfils that description: 'City centre' in the sense that it's located in St Samspon's Square and 'proper' in the fact that it's a warm, friendly, no-frills alehouse in the oldest tradition. The huge sign on the pub's facade showing three cranes of the flying variety is misleading - the name is actually thought to derive from three lifting cranes situated at the back of the pub in the days when the square was called Thursday Market. In 1592, on the orders of the then Lord Mayor of York, cloth was sold in the market each Friday and cranes were used for loading and unloading the goods.

Also, despite its relatively modern-looking exterior, licensing records show that the building definitely housed a pub from at least 1799. In fact there could have been an alehouse on the site as early as 1250 - but Barry can't remember quite that far.

More recently, the pub's been run for nine years as a tenancy by the landlord and his wife, Judy. Both are Yorkies born and bred and both will tell you their hostelry boasts fine ales and good music but no food. So if you're hungry, hard luck, although certainly pay a visit if you value a decent pint and good company in congenial surroundings.

But while you can grab a pint of Bass or John Smith's, Barry does not have the space for any guest ales - a fact which has saddened him over the years. The beer you will get, though, is spot on. And regardless of its central location The Three Cranes has a real role as a spirited community pub with darts and dominoes teams on the go. In fact, if you want an indication of the type of punters you'll find there just take a look at the brilliant photo-montage adorning one of the walls. Yep, Tippler is in there somewhere!

Perhaps precisely because it sticks exactly to what it's good at, the Cranes is one of the pubs most-visited by other licensees. In fact some are there almost as often as you'll find them in their own boozers (no names, of course!).

While on the subject of licensees, Barry's background is an interesting one: hoofed out of the army he became a trucker before eventually running the New Inn at Cliffe, near Selby. Down the years he's been a huge supporter of Acorn Rugby League Club and the 'Little Hooker' has even been known to score a few tries in his time. These days, though, the landlord is better known for his glass-handling skills - which he practises often - and his affectionate nickname of 'Bibbling Barry' refers to a tendency to waffle when he's had a few. Mind you, his talking skills have done him proud - he's currently junior vice president of the Licensed Victuallers Association.

Aside from Barry and his more-than-capable missus, the staff at the Cranes go a long way to making the pub what it is. Tony, Geoff and Nathan are always ready with a bit of banter and a laugh - although poor Nath is often seen close to tears after yet another dire performance from his beloved York City. Hankies and violins at the ready, please...

In conclusion, although visited by tourists all year round, the vast majority of regular trade is still from York residents. Yep, it's a traditional locals' pub slap-bang in the city centre - and there's not too many of those left!

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