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The Maltings
Tanner's Moat, York
01904 655387

Listing the huge number of local and national awards this brilliant pub has won over seven and a half glorious years would take more space than I've got. So just be content with knowing that it was once named national Ale House of the Year and has more Campaign For Real Ale and Evening Press gongs than is thoroughly decent!

'the ultimate shrine for beer lovers'

In true 'phoenix rising from the ashes' style Shaun and Maxine Collinge have turned the former, tacky, grubby and closed down Lendal Bridge pub into the ultimate shrine for beer lovers up and down the country.

Twice a year, customers can witness the bizarre sight of hundreds of beer 'tickers' queueing up outside the pub for the start of Shaun's beer festivals - all ready to battle their way to the bar in a bid to sample, then tick off, any ales they haven't tried yet.

And the things these enthusiasts do with sample bottles just don't bear thinking about. Ale through the mail? I kid you not. But I guess it beats train spotting...

'a cosy, traditional feel'

The one-roomed pub features a bar that's made out of doors and boasts a tiled floor, swathes of hops and various old tin signs - all of which give this boozer a cosy, traditional feel. Then the quirky games machines, toilet bowls in odd places and a strict no-swearing policy combine to create a friendly and unique environment.

Many first-time punters feel as though they've been visiting for years before they've even tasted a beer.

'the pub has long been Black Sheep Brewery's number one outlet'

But that beer is the real key to the Maltings' success. Over the years Shaun has built up a fine relationship with many of the country's smaller, independent breweries and the pub has long been Black Sheep Brewery's number one outlet. Their bitter is always available.

Usually, too, there's a beer in the cellar from Rooster's small-but-perfectly-formed Harrogate brewery, alongside several other guest ales.

'you know exactly what concoction is sending you wobbly'

These drinkers' delights are all detailed on the beer menu - so you know exactly what concoction is sending you wobbly. The selection is always wide and varied - so woe-betide any punter who walks in and asks for a pint of Worthington's.

In fact, the only sin more cardinal than that one is to enter the pub wearing a Manchester United shirt. This is not recommended under any circumstances!

'the big,bald one truly likes a laugh'

Behind the bar the lively staff tend to follow their boss's ideas on customer relations - basically, if you haven't had the mickey taken out of you in the first ten minutes then Shaun (aka 'Big Vern') will want to know why. This pro-active approach to punter abuse works on Vern's theory that it's better to get the jibe in first. Don't say you haven't been warned - the big, bald one truly likes a laugh. Just as well, really - with a face like his you'd need a sense of humour.

'the food is fun, filling and excellent value'

But it's not just a good giggle and a fine pint that's available at The Maltings - the food is fun, filling and excellent value.

Maxine opens 'The Dragon's Pantry' from noon till 2pm each day serving everything from cheesy chips to a full Sunday roast - and all at great prices. A word of warning though; do not attempt to order food after 2pm, it truly is not worth incurring the dragon's wrath!

'hospitality Big Vern-style '

You can sample a virtual Maltings via - but Tippler recommends a visit to the real thing. Once you try hospitality Big Vern-style I guarantee you'll return again and again.

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