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Rook and Gaskill, York

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user reviews of the Rook and Gaskill, York

please note - reviews on this site are purely the opinion of site visitors, so don't take them too seriously.

I finally managed to pay a return visit to the Rook & Gaskill this time in York. This was my favourite pub in York last time I was here. I understand it went downhill for a while. But it is now run by the former licensee of the Waggon & Horses across the road. He is a fairly amiable chap and the Rook & Gaskill is back amongst the two or three best pubs in York. It retains the same single-room interior and a very good ale range from some more unusual breweries. Roosters Yankee, North Cotswold Fosseway Flanker, Yeovil Star Gazer, Empire The Italian Job, Intrepid Mother's Bruin, Ghost Brew Reaper, Raw Extreme No. 6 Hopspresso & Wild Beer Co. Stalker. Ciders were Broadoak Moonshine & Westcroft Cider. The Stalker at 7% was excellent and went down far too easily. The selection is now up on a TV screen. Worth the walk outside the walls.
blue_scrumpy - 3 Mar 2016 21:22
Came in as it's been recommended and looked decent from the outside, it proved to be a good choice.

A lovely stone floor greets you as you enter, the lighting is quite low but this adds to the atmosphere.

Less than half full with all the punters except the wife and I being students.

8 ales and 3 real ciders on cask. I opt for a pint of Doncaster Breweries Sand House @ 3.8%. The keg beers number 7 with a cider aswell.

I notice a poster advertising the pub is in the 2015 GBG, that's a result as its now a tick for me!!

Small cabinet at the back of the pub with a good collection of brewerian.

Actually having taken time to enjoy my pint with a good sound track in the background this is a very decent pub and worthy of a visit.

3 pubs so far and 3 good beers.
lezford - 25 Sep 2014 20:19
Surprised at some of the negativity, I found this bar very pleasant. A local atmosphere but with plenty of craft beer and real ale. Food was weird though. Burgers looked nice but the cheese board we ordered was remarkable in that it was three massive, and i mean massive lumps of wensleydale, cheddar, and red leicester for a fiver. It did the trick and 'put us on' but it was like no other cheeseboard ever! Very hospitable and a great place to watch a bit of football and have good beer. 9/10

dry_riser_inlet - 6 Jul 2014 21:45
Reasonable but not especially good choice of beers on although the Blue Bee Lustin for Stout I had was superb. However I just didn't like the place; didn't feel at home at all. We returned to the waggon and Horses opposite
Steamer1 - 16 Jun 2013 18:39
I agree with others, good selection of beers, I half of one the Castle rock beers, no problem with the quality. But as others have said the bloke behind the bar is obnoxious. There were hardly any customers apart from 2 or 3 old guys sitting at the bar swearing and moaning and groaning as the tumbleweed blew past.
Yes the beers are good but no better than many other pubs in York, and in fact not as good as many. The way this place is going it'll be closed soon
SGA - 4 Sep 2012 16:59
I've been in this pub several times before and had a decent experience - a good range of beers on tap which can admittedly be a mixed bag but the bar staff are normally good with their recommendations. However, I went in the other night and experienced the distinctly hostile atmosphere which others have mentioned. The landlord completely flew off the handle at a friend who'd absentmindedly torn up a beermat. Fair enough be annoyed, but his overreaction, complete with theatric yelling and swearing, was frankly pathetic.

Will not be going back again.

n_gunn - 2 Sep 2012 01:54
I would agree with the last comment - this place could do with a re-furb as it is a bit down-at-heel. However the beer was in good nick and I had House Sparrow and Elsie Mo from Castle Rock (they do the "One over the Eight" promotion here so I was able to redeem mine from previous visits to other Castle Rock pubs). The guest beer was Bingham's Doodle Stout from Berkshire which I had just left a few hours ago so I gave that a miss.
This is a a boozer and the beer(and cider) is the big draw so don't expect luxurious surroundings - just enjoy the ale and the chat.
mcroyal - 27 Feb 2012 11:43
An extensive and well kept ale selection, my Castle Rock Black Gold was very good. This pub could do with a bit of TLC, it was rough around the edges when I first visited in 2004 and it's not got any better.
Islander - 12 Nov 2011 23:49
Every now and then I do pop into this pub and think "why don't I come in here more often?" ... then I remember. First, the positives. The pub unquestionably has a good range of beers and good live music (unlike some reviewers I've always found the quality of the music very good.) I've had a couple of bad pints which the staff have begrudgingly replaced but generally the quality of the beer is average. The problem is the landlord/tenant, whose attitude to customers seems to range from unfriendly to downright offensive, Fortunately I've never been on the wrong end of this but it's enough to make for a very unwelcoming atmosphere. Personally I'd rather give it a miss.
tmob27 - 7 Nov 2011 20:36
I liked the look of the menu - stew in giant Yorkie pud, sausage casserole, meant or vegi chilli, but it wasn't a mealtime when I passed through.
jgurney1 - 26 Feb 2011 12:25
Full marks for trying to stock real ciders, but I think they are being chosen.by an ale specuialist. Last time I visited it was Thatchers Hertitage ('marketed' as a real cider but never a first choice of enthusiasts), this time it was Broadoak Moonshine (similar class) but there was also Westons Old Rosie - usually an excellent cider, but my pint tasted as if it had stayed a bit too long in the barrel.
jgurney1 - 26 Feb 2011 12:22
Well what can I say, this pub won CAMRA pub of the season in York earlier this year and also won a York Press award for beer range. No surprises there as at last count there were 23 PUMPS! to keep this variety of beer on they must be selling enough of it. Probably not through the day though when I've found it quiet. I've never had a bad pint there and the staff have always been helpful and well informed to say the least. The ceiling in the place is covered with pump clips form all the beers they've served but at the back of the room, on the raised area are the pump clips of the beers the staff consider to be the creme de la creme. Generally a few of these can be had at The Rooks beer festivals which offer a fantastic range (extra bar in the conservatory) and on occasion a barbeque.
dash101 - 23 Sep 2010 16:44
Every now and again, I walk out to this pub, and I always regret doing so. It's very unwelcoming and the beer is somewhat mundane. Last time I went, they didn't even have their flagship beer on (Castle Rock Harvest Pale). The PubCo Tynemills need to take a long hard look at this place - it's not doing their reputation any good at all.
arihall - 6 Jun 2010 08:40
I never find the Rook & Gaskill very welcoming either but it certainly has the best selection of ales in the city and they're generally in great condition too. Nothing particularly interesting about the pub itself though, The Phoenix nearby is a more pleasant place.
pub_patron - 13 Mar 2010 23:14
Although I find the overuse/missuse of the word "literally" to be mildly annoying, here I think it is justifiable to say that this is literally one of the best pubs ever. Out of the few pubs I've been to with more than 10 handpumps, this is one that actually tends to keeps them all stocked up at any one time, and with a varying selection of pretty faultless ales. I can probably say that in my many visits, I have never had a bad pint; compare that with pint after pint of nice, but fairly average-tasting beer that tends to be a main feature of drinking in many places. The pub itself is a bit quirky, with tiles on the floors, and a minimal (but by no means soulless) feel. The place usually has a laid-back but buzzing atmosphere on weekday and weekend evenings alike.

Every so often, a beer festival comes along and all of a sudden, their wide ale selection becomes bewildering (literally, if you opt for a 10% heavyweight). If real ale isn't your thing, then they have a fairly good selection of continental lagers and beers, both standard and a little unusual. OK, so the staff can be a little on the surly side, and their excellent and reasonably-priced food menu no longer is in operation (as far as my last visit would suggest), but this is still a great place to drink.
jacobross1 - 20 Feb 2010 20:20
One of York's best ranges of real ale, which is saying something- 12 handpumps including a real cider line the bar.
The pub is located just outside the city walls on the and as such avoids falling into the tourist trap category. One basic, long room is split-level and has an attractive tiled floor. There is also a conservatory area at the back. Traditional games such as chess and cards are offered and bands sometimes play on the raised area at the back.
The pub is the northernmost Castle Rock outlet, and as such features their range of ales including the excellent Harvest Pale.
This is a must visit pub for the York real ale enthusiast and can now be combined with the nearby Waggon and Horses and Phoenix for a rewarding crawl of pubs around the Eastern city walls.
Carlurmston - 10 Feb 2010 14:29
An impressive bank of handpulls line the bar in this interestingly laid out pub. A real ale drinkers version of a sweet shop, of which my 2.30 pint of Harvest Pale was very agreeable indeed. Unfortunately I totally missed the friendly vibe frequently reported by previous posters so I can only conclude I visited on an off night. I drank up quickly as I felt distinctly uncomfortable here. Still it's range of ales was second to none.
ILooklikeme - 2 Feb 2010 21:07
Another visit to York, so popped in to see what was on offer, and had Hook Norton Hooky Gold and Leeds Ale Mary, both in good condition.
gillhalfpint - 1 Jan 2010 23:35
Excellent pub with excellent beer, good price and a good selection. 1 over the eight in operation at this Tynemill pub!
Roberttherailway - 2 Dec 2009 21:56
This pub is just outside the city walls at Walmgate. It is a long narrow room with wider drinking areas at the front and beyond the bar, with a conservatory and beer garden at the back. The pub has a slightly 'grungey' atmosphere. The music selection being played was good - the Floyd's 'Astronomy Domine' was playing as I arrived, so it get's a thumb's up for that alone.
Twelve pumps selling mainly Castle Rock beers - I had two excellent pints of Harvest Pale which were incredibly reasonably priced at 2.30 a pint.
They have a loyalty card scheme called '1 over the 8' where you get money off your drinks after 8 pints - a definite incentive to come here with beer this good.
The fridge was healthily stocked with various beers, including four from the Brewdog brewery. I had a bottle of the Punk IPA, which was superb.
This would be my local if I lived in York!
holbornboy - 6 Aug 2009 22:21
One of the best pubs in York. An enormous selection of ales on tap- something like 14 ales on hand pumps at any one time. They hold excellent beer festivals as well. They don't really like students in there unless you're a sensible, ale drinker. If you come in and order a vodka and coke you will likely be drawn and quartered. The back room's a bit dingy.
will_s - 5 Feb 2009 17:54
Late review from November. One of the pubs on my list that I always visit when in York. Always a good choice available. Enjoyed Castle Rock, Hydes and Leeds beers this time round.
gillhalfpint - 17 Jan 2009 19:37
This pub is now the most northerly outpost of the Castle Rock (Tynemill) chain of pubs based out of Nottingham. Named after the last two people (sheep rustlers) to be hanged nearby. Always a couple of Castle Rock beers obviously along with several guests. These usually include a dark beer or two. Very friendly place that does good sandwiches until early evening.
ROBCamra - 15 Jan 2009 17:01
Of 10 pubs I visited recently in York, this had the best range of beers (and cider!). During my visit there was Castle Rock HPA, Elsie Mo & Black Gold, RCH Firebox, Salamander Aztec, Burton Bridge Sovereign Gold, York Nordic Fury, Elgood's Northumberland Porter & Old Black Shock and Leeds Hellfire. The Broadoak Perry had recently replace the Moonshine cider. Our visit was only spoiled by a small group of people who had obviously been here since opening time. Their language was atrocious. However, the rest of the clientele were very friendly.
blue_scrumpy - 2 Dec 2008 20:51
One of the best ranges of beer I've seen anywhere: usually at least 5 (yes, that's right, five) guests plus Castle Rock's Elsie Mo. Just as well that the bar staff know their stuff, aren't afraid to be opinionated about what's good and what isn't, and give sound recommendations. The beer festivals they hold are always good fun, although the place gets packed out. Food at lunchtimes also deserves a mention, cheap, filling and home-made days and times they serve it can be erratic, but there's a good chip shop across the road if all else fails.
mynci - 9 Sep 2008 00:25
Well worth a walk a little way out of the city centre. Well kept ales and personable staff who know their stuff. I went at lunchtime but unfortunately it didn't open at 12 as stated in the York Beer Guide, but at 3pm. Trade is quiet at the moment and it's not worth them opening before then in the week. However there are other good pubs in the area to while away time until the magic hour approaches. A good area for a mini pub crawl.
chick - 4 Sep 2008 15:28
One of the Real Ale Gems in York. Great selection of ales, well kept. Nice to see a range which usually includes a nice dark mild. You need to keep popping back to see what is coming up next !
aandaaleclub - 24 Jul 2008 12:52
This is another pub we enjoy visiting when in York on holiday. It also gives us an excuse to get up on the walls for a walk. Brilliant choice of ales well served by knowledgable and friendly staff.
gillhalfpint - 3 Jan 2008 13:10
Beer Festival on 5th Dec- 9th Dec 24 + Beers :0)
aleisgreat - 3 Dec 2007 16:13
Great Beer, Great Food, & Great Bar Staff
aleisgreat - 27 Oct 2007 12:50
Can be very busy at peak times - there again, which York pub isn't? - so don't come expecting a quiet seat on a weekend evening. But at least the crowd is a knowledgeable one, with an appreciation of good beer. Pleasant staff, who'll help anyone out with making a selection from their huge range of beers.

The hard floor at the front of the pub causes an echo-ey effect which can drown out conversation when it gets noisy. But if that's the only drawback I can think of, you can imagine what a good pub this is.
Tony_Earnshaw - 14 Mar 2007 15:28
Well worth seeking out, lying just outside the walls. It serves an extensive range of ales all in first class condition. A friendly staff who invited us to sample before buying, which I always feel shows confidence by them in their ale. The pub is named after two felons executed for sheep stealing which I believe was the last hanging at Lawrence Street. Have not though eaten here though, time did not allow.


Caraman - 4 Jan 2007 09:58
Excellent, first rate pub. Have not smapled any food here, one goes for the ales, but the bar service and quality cellarmanship is readily apparent.
dirigent - 30 Oct 2006 09:53
Should have mentioned the food is now in the evenings until 8pm too.
swcooper - 28 Sep 2006 18:37
Excellent, very home made food and always good beers. Really the best pub not in York, since it right across the road outside Walmgate Bar (the gate through the walls)...
swcooper - 28 Sep 2006 18:36
Great real ale pub where you can sit for houres sampling different kind of british ales. Pleasant atmosphere and attentive barstaff.
rune - 5 Aug 2006 14:08
Good pub. Beers always spot on. Nice atmosphere.
alanl - 12 Jul 2006 21:47
If you want quality real ales and lots of them, then this is the bar for you, also live music....what more could you ask for?
camraman - 12 Mar 2006 17:19
12 handpumps active on my visit in Sept.05. This must be one of the best selections in York.
Finn - 28 Oct 2005 19:41
Now owned by Tynemill but still York beers and still good - small but characterful
mtaylor40 - 21 Sep 2005 21:12
Have recently come back from York and whilst there made certain that I visited this excellent pub. As a York Brewery pub it serves a good selection of the York Brewery beers (which are some of the best) and has a very impressive range of guest beers. I haven't tried the food yet as I tend only to go in the evening and the food is only served until late afternoon. I have seen some live entertainment on a previous visit and it was very good. An all-round excellent pub and highly recommended.
ChrisWood - 27 Mar 2005 15:34
I don't know what Ian and Simon were talking about - the music in this place that I've heard is top class. Excellent musicians and singers (Fine & Mellow - jazz standards/torch songs and Smith & McGraph playing blues. Coming from Los Angels, I hadn't expected to hear this type of quality in a small northern england city!
dave green - 6 Nov 2004 16:39
York brewery beers are far from vile. I love 'em! Centurions ghost is yummy, and Terrier is the best session ale around.

Singer *is* dodgy though.


Ian - 20 Feb 2004 20:09
I must disagree with Simon (below) as I represent one of the "dire" entertainers on offer at the R&G. I play tenor sax with the jazz and blues duo: Fine & Mellow every Monday night. From my experience, the crowd there have been enthusiastic and there is a regular following for the duo. Far more sophisticated than the usual "so-called pub singers" type of act, but then I'm biased.

As for the atmosphere and welcome, I can't fault it. The beers are great and the place is divided up so that if you don't want to hear the live music you can shut yourself away and still talk.

Highly recommended (specially on a Monday night!)
MrSaxman - 7 Jan 2004 16:30
Top boozer - over a dozen real ales, very friendly! Highly recommended!!!!!
Marco - 5 Sep 2003 16:15
Formerly known as The Queens Head and one of a number of pubs at the bottom of Hull Road.

Had a pretty poor reputation before the refurbishment, but now serves a pretty impressive number of well-kept guest ales. The only two drawbacks are: some of the 'entertainment' is truly dire (welcome to pub singer hell!) and they serve York Brewery's beer, which is universally vile (IMO)

Haven't tried the food, mainly because I've not managed to work my way through the beers yet :-)
Simon Ward - 15 Aug 2003 13:20

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