It was a day that we’d scheduled to be a walking tour of one of the most gorgeous places in England. It was a day that made me extremely regret leaving my wellies in London. (Yes, I lugged rubber boots all the way across the Atlantic to leave them in Shoreditch the one time I’d need them.)
On the only cool and rainy day of our trip, York practically demanded that we spend as much time as possible inside, warming up with as many cask ales as we could handle—an early-in-the-day bar hop to contend with the weather.
The drinking culture in England is a bit different than back home; with low proof ales and the innovative “half pint,” a lunchtime brew is not atypical. Our first stop was to the Last Drop Inn, where, along with our ales, we tried a variety of sausages over mashed potatoes, including a lovely toulouse French-style sausage accented with flavors of garlic and parsley. (Let it be known: I deliberately skipped an opportunity to have blood pudding.)
Ben had his one and only ploughman’s lunch of the trip at the Last Drop. I particularly enjoyed the pickled onions and cheeses, and we were both happy to cross pork pie off of our list.
Our next two stops in the daylight pub crawl were the Golden Fleece (the most haunted pub in York, as determined by Most Haunted, a television show that determines these sorts of honors) and the hidden (but charming) York Brewery.
The midday tipple isn’t the only area in which American alcohol consumption varies from its British counterpart. When I lived in Islington and worked in Soho, there were two constants: the smell of piss in corners and rolling bottles and cans on the bus. (Particularly the top level.) Perhaps it’s my city’s lack of public transit (particularly the iconic double-decker kind) and, um, our country’s stringent open-container laws, but drinking in a moving vehicle has always seemed a little strange to me.
Lucky for me, a train ride from York to Leeds—the next stop on our agenda—provided the perfect opportunity for clarification. Here, my friend Sam, a native and a natural at public-transportation drinking, explains the booze rules of the rail. Enjoy.
The Last Drop Inn
York, North Yorkshire YO1 8BN