First things first, York’s Hole in the Wall has nothing to do with that ghastly Saturday night TV show, and the Petergate pub doesn’t need silver lycra to draw a crowd.

Second things second, the Hole in the Wall isn’t actually a hole in the wall, but the quaintness and originality of the setting is accentuated by the low ceilings and the looming Minster 100 yards from its door.

Upon entering, to describe the pub as half full would be generous, but there were enough people to create some sort of ambience. Blackboards above the bar boldly promised curry night on Monday, live music on Tuesday and quiz night on Thursday, but having arrived on a Sunday, we were left to entertain ourselves. The unsophisticated yet pleasing smell of frying beef and a promising looking specials board suggested a pub that was a little more accomplished than its modest name.

Beef talk aside, we were here for the beer. Out of five guest ales, the Old Thumper, coming all the way from Hampshire, was an almost overpoweringly fruity pint – the final third was certainly harder work than the first. The more sedate Oxford Blue, produced by Banks’s, proved a far more agreeable challenge.

It is refreshing to see a pub in York celebrating beers from across the country, as sometimes our pubs can be blinded by the quality of the breweries of Yorkshire. To see less familiar ales from across the country is a truly welcome change.

After fielding the inevitable “what’s the point of history?” question from my unenlightened Chemistry colleague, and engaged in standard banal volcano dialogue, pre-exam nerves had begun to melt away.

When left alone for a moment, I began to look around and wonder whether I had been a bit terse with the barman, and if I had enough money and time for a third. I was brought crashing back to earth by the grimacing chemist, hitching his trousers back up after an altogether unsuccessful trip to the gents.

“They’d be lucky to get a four out of ten for those toilets”. I’ll wait till I get home then.

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