The massive problem of balancing tradition and modernity has ensured that pubs have been receding as fast as Jude Law’s hairline in recent years. Nestled in amongst the corporate coffee giants though, the Hansom Cab has seemingly got the balance just right.
Situated on Market Street (between Boots and HSBC in town), alongside the floor to ceiling glass shop fronts, to describe the pub’s exterior as unassuming would be generous.
Yet take yourself inside and it’s easy to see why the bar is busy and the quirky leather wingbacks all occupied.
Populated by young and old alike, the long lounge excludes no-one. The White Rose carved into the dark wood cladding and the burgundy red furniture harks back to a bygone age.
The Samuel Smith beers on the taps are another draw for the traditionalist. The 250 year old Tadcaster brewery serves up the good bitters and ales expected of a Yorkshire brewery, with the Old Brewery bitter especially impressive.
Despite a myriad of choice when it comes to beer, the wines and spirits don’t stray far from the usual pub fodder.
As an old git before my time, I enjoy all this local old world charm, but the most striking features of the Hansom Cab are the more modern ones.
The refined and crisp Alpine Lager, supped by the younger people in the place, is the pick of the pints on offer. It wasn’t quite cowbells and edelweiss, but the smooth style was reminiscent of a fuzzy February après-ski.
Adding to the atmosphere is a raised skylight which brightens up, what would usually be in older pub, the dingy and hostile back of the lounge area.
So, after taking all this in, I got to the bar, ordered my Alpine, handed over my fiver and waited for a smattering of silver shrapnel to return to my palm. Wrong. £3.30 change. A pub in the dead centre of York selling good beer for as low as £1.50 a pint. That’s a slice of tradition we can all drink to.