Hull

   
                            Hop & Vine                                                  White Harte                                    White Harte's Inglenook Fireplace    

 

On arrival in Hull the last time I visited, we made straight for the 2010 CAMRA national Cider pub of the year, the Hop and Vine, 24 Albion Street HU1 3TG, about 5 minutes walk opposite the main exit from the railway station.  We chose this first as it opens at 11.00 on a Saturday (closed on Sundays and Mondays), and a fine choice it was too.  The Hop and Vine is a smallish cellar bar, with fine beers and ciders and a superb kitchen.

The landlord was very informative, the place was warm and comfortable, a delight to visit.  We met up with a group of Hull City fans, with whom we shared convivial conversation, football banter, and mutual recommendations concerning places to drink at away matches, particularly in Hull at this time.

Food is served freshly prepared, with cold meat platters, salads, homemade soups, paninis for £3.50, eg bacon and brie with cranberry and Mediterranean roast vegetables with brie and walnuts, and sandwiches for only £2.50, eg beef and red onion, tuna mayonnaise, and blue stilton and walnuts.  Every plate that came out looked very impressive, though it was a bit early for me to eat.

Drink-wise, 2 or 3 real ales are served at any time on handpump, 2 ciders and a perry (1 on handpump, 2 gravity fed), continental lagers, ie Pilsner Urquel, Budvar and Budvar Dark, a good selection of Belgian bottled beers, and wines, spirits etc, as you would expect.  From there, we headed to Ye Olde White Harte in the old town.

An alternative is immediately to head towards the old town and marina area, though, personally, I've never yet made it to the marina.  Shortly before you reach High Street you happen upon Ye Olde White Harte, 25 Silver Street, HU1 1JG (01482 326363).  You could well miss this pub as it's hidden down an alley, but try not to, as it is the first of 2 very historic Hull pubs I am going to recommend.

The White Harte (sorry, I can't keep on with Ye Olde), is a Grade II listed building, originally built in 1550, with further work, following a fire, in the 19th century, and over the centuries has been the property of monarchs and the home of governors.  There are beautiful old tiled inglenook fireplaces and oak panelled walls, an impressive restored staircase, and the White Harte has won "Hull In Bloom " 2 years running.

The White Harte boasts 2 bars selling regular beers Deuchars IPA and Theakstons Old Peculiar, with 3 regularly changing guest beers, and serving a large selection of wines, bottled beers and Single Malt Whiskeys.  Good food, with possibly the largest fish and chips meal (fish supper to the Scots) I've ever seen!  A great place to start at, also you may wish to leave from here if taking a different route (I have to own up that we booked a taxi from here to the ground once before).

     

                The Sailmakers Arms                   Ye Olde Black Boy                       Back bar in Olde Black Boy                William Wilberforce   

However, if not going directly from the White Harte to the ground (or missing out the White Harte altogether, but you shouldn’t), you could head for The Sailmakers Arms, Chandlers Court, 159 High Street, HU1 1NQ (01482 227437).  The Sailmakers is tucked away in a secluded courtyard in the Museum quarter, which is noted for its cobbled streets and historic buildings.  On a previous visit, when we arrived before 12 noon, it was too early for our next destination, yet we saw the publican from the Olde Black Boy enjoying a drink at the Sailmakers before opening up his own pub, which is a pretty good recommendation for me.

The Sailmakers is a relaxed and very friendly place (it's sometimes hard to leave friendly bars, but you have to, all for the sake of research, obviously) that has a comprehensive lunch menu with daily specials to choose from. We all ate here (8 of us last time, as far as I recall), and all were very satisfied with a variety of meals, as they serve good value and quality home made food (the Sailmakers is reputed to be the home of the “Best Meat Pie in Town” says the local press). They use fresh local produce, wherever possible, and also provide good vegetarian options. Oh yes, and they sell beer, wines and other drinks too.

Anyway, on our previous visit, we waited for the man to leave the Sailmakers to open up along the road, and, after finishing our meals, followed him the short way up High Street to, what is the main attraction in Hull before the match for me, the 14th century Ye Olde Black Boy, 150 High Street, HU1 1PS (01482 326516), what a great place to visit.  The building can be traced back to 1331 and has a rich history. Previous businesses run from here include a brothel, a fish shop, a corn merchant's, a coffee shop, and an insurance broker's and, of course, a pub. Its name is reported to have derived from when it was a coffee shop in the 18th century, when the owner employed a north African lad.  An alternative story is that it was named after King Charles II whose 'swarthy' looks earned him the nickname "the black boy".  Whatever the reality, it became a pub in 1724 and is the oldest licensed bar in Hull.

The outside and inside of the Black Boy breathe history.  There are original leaded windows, with a small front bar, though I've never drunk in that bar, I have chatted to people in there heading for the rugby and other sports, it does seem to have an aura of its own.  There is an open fireplace, dark wooden panelling and brass plates, ceiling beams, copper-topped tables and an old clock and many pictures to peruse. 

You walk along the narrow alley at the side, yet inside, of the building to get to the larger back bar, which has dried hops hanging from the ceiling and newspaper articles about slavery and its abolition covering the walls.  The decoration is in deference to the local hero, William Wilberforce, who was born just down the road, and who led the political campaign in Britain and its colonies to bring about the end of the slave trade, which was abolished in 1807, and to the final abolition of slavery in Britain, which came about in the year of his death, in 1833.

Apparently, there are 3 underground passages which run to the river from the pub and they have been used, I trust in the past, by smugglers and press gangs, and, as befits a building of this age, there are the obligatory ghost stories.  However, I have never been aware that I've spoken to a ghost here, and never felt uncomfortable, though I was interested to find there is plenty of rivalry between rugby (league of course) and football fans in Hull, following a lively (and friendly) discussion with 3 Hull Kingston Rovers (HKR) supporters in the back bar.

In addition to the historic building and its interior, the ghosts and aura, and the friendly discourse, this bar has even more to make me happy, including a fine array of beer pumps on the bar, and, on a previous visit, I drank a few pints of one of my favourite beers, Copper Dragon's Golden Pippin, which is brewed in Skipton, West Yorkshire.  There is, though, a fine range of beer styles, not just beers to suit my pale, dry, hoppy and bitter beer palate, including other regulars, Timothy Taylors Landlord and Black Sheep, guest beers, and draft cider.

As High Street is a fair distance from the ground, though very walkable for some of us, I am usually forced to share a cab, a minibus once, when there was getting on for 10 of us in the pub, to get to the stadium, where, on arrival (when we used the minibus), we witnessed an arresting sight, but that's another anecdote for another day.  Whatever, you won’t be disappointed if visiting Ye Olde Black Boy just before the match, whether that be for the football or rugby, or for whatever reason you are visiting Hull. 

 

 

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