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York’s new community pub

Imagine taking on a pub overlooking our City Walls, at the edge of one of York’s most desirable places to live, but with a reputation that makes it a no-go for families? Well that was the challenge facing Sarah and Phil when they took on the Trafalgar Bay. I went to meet Sarah to find out more…

I pass the Trafalgar Bay most days on my way from the school run to town and back again. Having grown up in the area, it’s the type of pub I would have avoided – full of lairy men, drinking cheap beer from early morning until closing. Indeed, that’s the reputation Sarah and Phil inherited when they took over a year ago, but their vision was of a place were all members of the community felt welcomed, safe and entertained. So they set about making a few (at the time, unpopular) basic changes – banning swearing and no smoking at the front door for starters, along with a culture of equality and respect. Sure, they lost a few regulars, but they’ve also managed to attract a load of new ones!

Sarah really prides herself on letting the community use the pub free of charge. Whether it’s a craft group running some sessions, or a local committee wanting an evening meeting – rooms at the Trafalgar Bay can be booked out from 11am until closing 7 days a week.

So, here’s a flavour of some of the groups they’ve currently got running there:

  • Monthly networking walks
  • Weekly wellbeing workshops [Thursdays at 12.15pm]
  • Coffee, cake & colouring [Thursdays, 1pm]
  • Craft & Chatter [Thursday nights]

The pub is also popular with families and carers of people with Autism. It’s ‘no music’ policy and laid back atmosphere creating a positive space for those sensitive to noise. There’s a beautiful little beer garden, with dedicated smoking area and some lovely quirky little features.

So it was great to visit the Trafalgar Bay, and to meet Sarah. I really admired her adapt or die mentality, and can see a bright future for the pub. It’s key, however, that York residents use it, and recognise it as the sanctuary it is.

To contact Sarah about booking a room, call 01904 653 336



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