Once York’s only gay pub, the ex-Bay Horse, underwent a drastic transformation to become York’s “premier rock pub” four years ago. Located half way down Gillygate (54 Gillygate) and within 3 minute’s walk of King’s Manor, the pub is the only one in York dedicated to the alternative rock scene.
Suitably adorned with posters of punk, grunge and metal heroes on both walls and ceiling and with black painted furnishings and bar, Certificate 18 (or Cert. 18 as known by regulars) tries to hide its old pub roots. It offers the mainline pints, including Guinness, and house spirits, making it no better than the average pub in York.
However it is in its events that Cert. 18 really excels, offering an extra venue for the alternative fraternity to complement the generally more indie/rock-orientated Fibbers and Junction, as well as a perfect excuse to avoid Ziggy’s on a Wednesday. With a band every weekend and dj nights and bands during the week, Cert. 18 aims to please, catering for the punk, hardcore/emo and goth fan in us all. Some nights are free, usually with more local bands or with regular club nights.
Cert. 18’ s previous problem of not opening as late as the clubs should be rectified with later licensing hours, but that still doesn’t escape the fact that the place feels like it has been designed as the Addams Family’s local, just not as scary. It is hard to see how this beats Fibbers’ new Saturday club night in this sense, though the lure of free table football (yes free!) is quite an attractive feature. Cert. 18 is also open during the day, where you can eat your standard pub fare.
It is certainly not the place for a quiet drink by any means, with MTV2 and the like on during the day and with deafening speakers come evening (not altogether unexpected in a rock bar). Overall, Cert. 18 isn’t a bad pub, with the variety of events, club nights (and free footie!) putting it a class above the average old-man orientated pub scene that York is renowned for.
Reviewed by Ben Toone