The best pubs and bars in Yorkshire

the best pubs in yorkshire
From the coast to Leeds and the North York Moors, discover the best drinking spots in Yorkshire - George Clerk

Yorkshire is well known for its brewing tradition with some of the biggest names in the business, including Theakston and Samuel Smith. But it has a flourishing micro-brewery sector, too, producing ales with distinctive names such as Riggwelter and Seven Deadly Sins.

Not surprisingly, there’s a wealth of places to satisfy the county's thirsty drinkers from atmospheric drovers' inns in remote Dales' villages (dogs and muddy boots welcome) or brassy Victorian affairs in city centres to smart country gastropubs or hipster joints selling obscure craft ales for beer geeks. Below we reveal Yorkshire's best pubs.

For further inspiration, see our holiday guide to Yorkshire and the best hotelsrestaurants, beaches and things to do in the area.

Find a bar or pub by area

North York Moors and the surrounding area

Birch Hall Inn, Beck Hole

This eccentric little pub in the hamlet of Beck Hole really shouldn’t survive since it’s ludicrously tiny and well off the beaten track. But these qualities, of course, are its charm. Customers squeeze into a miniscule room, with space for three tables and a fire, and order from the serving-hatch bar. But the half-a-dozen real ales, including the house ale ‘Beckwatter’, are well-kept and there’s a small menu that includes pork pies, wedge-size butties and beer cake. In the summer, sit in the rear garden beside the stream. Before you leave, pop into the next-door sweet shop - the other side of the hatch - for old-fashioned midget gems and liquorice sticks.

Contact: 01947 896245;
Prices: £

birch hall inn, yorkshire
The Birch Hall Inn is tiny and out of the way, but that's all part of the charm

The New Inn, Cropton

This family-run pub on the edge of the moors makes a welcome stop for a refreshing pint in the middle, or at the end, of a day’s walking. Many of the six or so cask ales are from the pub’s own Cropton Brewery in the next-door field (book ahead for a tour) which began in 1984 long before micro-breweries became fashionable – indeed, the village has a brewing tradition dating back to the 17th century. Classic ales include Monkmans Slaughter and Blackout plus there’s a true Yorkshire lager. Traditional bar meals or more formal dining is on offer, too.

Price: £

The New Inn, Cropton, Yorkshire
The New Inn specialises in its own ales, which are brewed at the bottom of the garden

The Horseshoe Inn, Levisham

Run by the Wood brothers, Charles and Toby (front-of-house and head chef) this handsome stone and pantile-roof pub in charming Levisham has a decidedly personal feel and a smart (but not fancy) traditional style with polished-wood floors, open fires and wood-panelled bar. There are Black Sheep and Timothy Taylor’s ales on tap plus Yorkshire cider and around 15 wines by the glass. Food is hearty and filling – perfect for after a day’s walking on the nearby moors or in Dalby Forest -– and there are tables and benches on the village green opposite.

Prices: £

the horseshoe inn, yorkshire
The Horseshoe Inn has a decidedly personal feel and a smart, traditional style

The Durham Ox, Crayke

This 17th-century coaching inn, in the tiny village of Crayke, has all the traditional country inn essentials including flagstone floors, inglenook fireplace, exposed-brick-and-stone walls, beamed ceilings, plenty of brass and copper and old-fashioned settles, but has been given a smart brush-up. As well as four cask ales – predominantly Yorkshire in origin, such as York Brewery and Timothy Taylor’s – it has a good list of wines by the glass. Food is well-above-average – including lobster as well as steak and ale pie – and there’s a smart courtyard garden for warmer days.

Prices: £

durham ox, yorkshire
The Durham Ox has been serving drinks to thirsty patrons since the 17th century

Yorkshire Dales

The Red Lion, Burnsall

With its riverside setting in the heart of Wharfedale, beside a stone-arched bridge, beneath gentle green fells and in a village of impossibly desirable stone cottages, this has got location, location, location. This also means it’s popular with everyone from locals and muddy-boot hikers to friends and families here purely for the food (smartly cooked classics). But there’s plenty of space in its atmospheric nooks and crannies, including the long wood-panelled bar, dating from the 16th century. Choose from a good range of Thwaite’s cask ales and, if it’s warm, find a table in the riverside garden.

Prices: £

The Red Lion, Burnsall, Yorkshire
The Red Lion enjoys a decidedly pretty location in the heart of Wharfedale

The George & Dragon, Hudswell, near Richmond

This stout-looking hostelry in the hamlet of Hudswell outside Richmond, is Yorkshire’s first community-owned pub. Saved from permanent closure by an energetic local team, it re-opened in 2010 and now houses the village shop as well as community allotments in the back garden. With a raft of CAMRA awards under its belt, it stocks around 10 cask and keg beers, which have primarily been sourced from smaller local breweries. Always on tap are Wensleydale Brewery’s fruity malt-flavoured Falconer, and the nutty-tasting Ruby Mild from York’s Rudgate Brewery. No pint would be complete without one of their delicious home-made pies, either.

Prices: £

The George, Hubberholme

You need to make a bit of an effort to get here – it’s at the head of Wharfedale where the road narrows to climb over to Wensleydale via Langstrothdale. The long and low, white-washed pub, originally a farmhouse, sits by the river, across from the church (a favourite haunt of Yorkshire writer JB Priestley whose ashes are buried in the churchyard). Inside all is as comfortably traditional and cluttered as you’d expect – low-beamed ceilings, exposed-stone walls, solid wood furnishings, coal fire and a clutter of brass and copper. Around four cask ales from Yorkshire breweries are served at the bar, and it would be a shame to miss one of its much-praised homemade pies.  On warmer days, enjoy both pint and pie on the patio.

Prices: £

The George, Hubberholme, Yorkshire
The George in Hubberholme is long and low whitewashed pub with a comfortably traditional vibe

The Craven Arms, Appletreewick

In a cracking position, overlooking the Wharfe valley from tiny Appletreewick (Ap’trick to locals), this free house pub has around eight hand-pumped ales, predominantly from small Yorkshire breweries such as Hetton's Dark Horse and Saltaire Brewery. Draught ciders and above-average pub food, too. Three small bars are determinedly traditional – rugs on flagged floors, wooden settles, fires in cast-iron ranges – which creates a warm, homely atmosphere; strangers soon end up nattering to each other. At the hint of warmth, everyone will be in the beer garden or on the roadside terrace drinking in the views.

Price: £

East Yorkshire and Coast

The Bay Hotel, Robin Hood’s Bay

In a cracking spot where the road ends above the dock in the tumble-down coastal village of Robin Hood’s Bay, you’re here as much for the views as the beers. It gazes straight out to sea and up and down the coast in both directions. Even if the wind is whipping, you’ll want to chance it outside on one of the two terraces, though you may get a soaking if the tide is in. Inside, expect patterned carpets, varnished wood tables and red banquettes, plus a real fire in winter. The basement-level, wood-clad Wainwright’s Bar is so-named as the pub marks the end of Wainwright’s 192-mile coast-to-coast walk. No need to have done it to enjoy a pint of one of their four Yorkshire ales.

Contact: 01947 880278;
Price: £

bay hotel, robin hoods bay, Yorkshire
The Bay Hotel is as much about the stellar sea views as it is about fine Yorkshire ales - getty

Towns and cities

Whitelock's Ale House, Leeds

Tucked down the long, narrow Turks Head Yard, between Briggate and Trinity Street, this gem of a Victorian pub can be easily missed - despite its reputation as the city’s oldest boozer (established 1715). Equally long and narrow inside, it positively dazzles with mirror-panelled walls, Victorian tiling and a polished copper bar you could do your make-up in. Choose from one of around 10 cask and draught ales which are predominantly from Yorkshire, such as Kirkstall Pale Ale or Ilkley Brewing Company's Mary Jane. There are tables outside where you can sit if it's warm, and you can order up an excellent beef and ale pie if you’re feeling peckish.

Prices: £

Whitelock's Ale House, Yorkshire
Whitelock's Ale House is the oldest pub in Leeds - SARA TERESA PHOTOS

Friends of Ham, Leeds

Despite the slightly odd name – this place is as much about cheese as it is pork when it comes to food – this light and airy bar, close to the station, caters for beer geeks but not in an earnest way that puts off others. It offers around 15 regularly changing cask and keg beers, all from independent or craft breweries, and a huge range of bottled and canned beers from the same, including Trappist, sour fruit, lambic and gluten-free. There's a good range of organic and natural wines, too, and platters of specialist charcuterie and cheese, as well as tapas dishes.

Prices: £

friends of ham, leeds, Yorkshire
Friends of Ham is favoured by beer geeks looking to sample the finest micro-brewery draughts

How we choose

Every bar, venue or experience in this curated list has been tried and tested by our destination expert, who has visited to provide you with their insider perspective. We cover a range of budgets and styles, from casual pubs to exquisite cocktail bars – to best suit every type of traveller – and consider the service, drinks, atmosphere and price in our recommendations. We update this list regularly to keep up with the latest openings and provide up to date recommendations.