The Rook & Gaskill Inn

Pub: The Rook & Gaskill Inn
Rating: *****

Five star ratings can’t be handed out like an RBS bonus, they have to be justified. Situated on Lawrence Street, The Rook & Gaskill is a drinking pub. No pool tables, no TV screens, no frills. That is why it’s so good, it knows its place and it’s happy there.

Crucially, what it does offer is a mellow, relaxed atmosphere and some of the finest ales Yorkshire can produce.

The name commemorates the last two men to be hanged in our fair city, Peter Rook and Leonard Gaskill, in 1696. As a free house, the pub can rotate its drinks, so every visit there’s a different pint to try.

Usually, the logical next step from ‘drinking pub’ and ‘finest ale’ is usually ‘anti-student’, but the crowd in the Rook is diverse
There are no intimidating regulars guarding the bar and just a smattering of tourists. The long haired, metal band t-shirt clad barmen are all welcoming and are always willing to recommend the latest tipple. The ceiling of the main lounge is clad in a mosaic of different beer mats, showcasing the pub’s fine ale pedigree.
The number of ales on tap reaches double figures, ranging from the golden, crisp, gold medal winning Harvest Pale to the dark and brooding Midnight Bell.

Ask for a pint of Carlsberg here and a steel toe-capped size 11 will be kicking you over the walls to Varsity and a life of characterless, saccharine pub meets bar meets food meets music, jack-of-all-trades mediocrity. There are also a couple of ciders, premium lagers and even a fruit beer, for those with more extravagant tastes.

Gallery and Ziggy’s may have their charm, but this pub is really something. The Rook and Gaskill Inn is a truly refreshing change to the treadmill of university nightlife.
Catching up with friends over a truly original, locally brewed beer is, for me, one of the pleasures of student life, and the Rook and Gaskill is probably the best place to do it.


  1. Hurrah for the Rook!

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  2. The Rook & Gaskill is definitely one of York’s best pubs. One note:

    The label ‘free house’ is a bit dubious, as the pub, according to a sign in the doorway, is owned by a company which owns a number of pubs – so perhaps not ‘free’ in the traditional sense.

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  3. 9 Dec ’09 at 6:57 pm

    Robin Lindop Fisher

    Such a good pub! Spent many a happy cider-fuelled hour there.

    Have to concur about the landlord though, he really is one of the grumpiest, most misanthropic people I have ever had the misfortune to meet. Don’t let that put you off though – just ignore him and you’ll have a great evening!

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