Other outlets for alcohol in the our area
As well as public houses there have been a number of other outets for alcohol locally.
Working men’s clubs
Two such remain from an original four. These survivors are the South Bank Club in Ovington Terrace, formed in 1899, and the St Clements Club, now in Count de Burgh Terrace, but which started life in 1899 in nearby Queen Victoria St. Now lost is the Promenade Club, that was in St Benedict’s Rd, after its original building was demolished when the area was redeveloped in the 1960s. It was then the only remaining drinking venue in that area. It closed in 2005, with the site being redeveloped for housing. The other lost club was the New York Club and Institute on Blossom St, which closed in 2018, just after its 90th anniversary.
My use of this word is for places open to the public for a drink without having to buy food, but which are not appropriately called pubs. In our area two are in Blossom St - The Longboat and the Everyman Cinema (ex Odeon). Brubaker’s Bar existed between 1993 and 2001, in what is now part of the Premier Inn. The only other place that might be labelled as a bar is The Angel on the Green on Bishopthorpe Rd. While being basically a pizzeria, you can go into part of it just for a drink. It opened in 2016 and the name comes from someone called Angel who ran a butcher’s shop in part of the premises many years ago. The ‘Green’ bit of the name comes from the grassed area across the road. Curious features are small gilded carved bunches of grapes set on the external woodwork. These seem to indicate a past use as a wine seller but there is no record of such a business here.
Off-sales of alcohol
Over the years there have been many shops that might be called off-licences or ‘offies’ in our area. This is not a comprehensive listing but simply draws attention to a few aspects of the trade which now includes such outlets as Sainsbury’s and Costcutters. The rather ephemeral side of this business can be demonstrated by Bargain Booze which lasted just a few years recently in premises in Bishopthorpe Rd, premises now occupied by the restaurant Trinacria.
A more traditional type of off-licence, and the last one in our area, was on the corner of Bishopthorpe Rd and Vine St. Beyond selling crisps and other snacks such offies focussed on booze to take away, although at this one in 1891 he was listed as a pianoforte dealer and beer seller! Modern corner shops that sell booze tend to major on groceries and, ignoring supermarkets, there are now three in our area - on Albemarle Rd, Bishopthorpe Rd and Upper Price St.
None of the above can be labelled as specialist wine sellers but we have had a few in the past. There was a wine seller in the 19th century at no.1 (and later at 3) Bishopthorpe Rd. This business attempted to get a licence to sell spirits but was thwarted by the temperance movement. In the late 20th century we had Atkinson’s at 61 Blossom St, which closed towards the end of the century and Mathew Quinn who lasted about a year at 9 Scarcroft Rd.
A final place where off-sales took place was Best Cellars, which opened in the 1970s and closed in the 1990s - the premises are now part of The Angel on the Green. This was primarily a shop selling kits and equipment for making beer and wine at home, but it has one very distinctive claim to fame which I will come to shortly, in talking about brewing in our area.