York is a city of significance for us; it is the city where Ana and I went to uni and also the city where we first met. Since then, it has always been a place we revisit time and again when we just want a relaxed day out and get a bite to eat. As a watering hole York has always been extremely popular especially when it comes to Bank Holidays or, heaven forbid, on a race day. But for craft enthusiasts, York has developed in recent years to accommodate for those who want something a little more refined, something more than Peroni or Stella…
On our travels we have stopped off at the usual places where you can get a good pint including Kennedy’s and House of Trembling Madness (posts to come for those respectively) but more keep appearing. Including the pub in question here; The Market Cat. This is a new addition to the line of pubs opened by Thornbridge Brewery who are hailed within the craft community. Most pertinently for their flagship beer, Jaipur, which put them in the spotlight for brewing something different that also packed a punch and its success is still impressive today. Upon launching in cans in supermarkets up and down the UK, it sold out instantly so it’s easy to see why their own pubs are now springing up within the county.
The Market Cat is located centrally looking out onto the Shambles’ market stalls, so no it isn’t just a clever name! Being slightly off the main street of York, this would be easy to miss by those who don’t venture off down the side streets but a quick Google makes it very easy to find.
What struck me as soon as I stepped into the Market Cat was how it has been both designed and decorated. The dark, wood-panelled walls and bar take you back to what a pub of yesteryear must have looked like, with the bar being finished with brass-effect tap lines. It is a really nice blend of modern taste combined with classical styling, with the lighting giving the place a nice welcoming feel. The U-shaped bar is located centrally, meaning you can access it no matter where you are sat, spreading queuing customers out as not to clog up the place.
As it was early Saturday evening when we stopped by, things were just starting to get busy but the staff didn’t seem phased by this and quickly attended to all patrons. Both floors were crammed with customers which was excellent to see and is a promising sign for its future too. Naturally, the main focus here is Thornbridge’s finest offerings across both keg and cask, but there are plenty of other options available too including gins, spirits and guest lines too. Whilst we didn’t sample them, the pizzas which are available looked and smelled very appetising as well.
In the time we spent there, I sampled Green Mountain and Hirundo of theirs and also gave Mystic Kriek by Brouwerij a whirl. For fans of cask ales this would be a perfect destination as their own beers were predominantly showcased in this style including Jaipur. Admittedly, cask isn’t my preferred serving style but I can appreciate their willingness to offer a variety of beers across different serving methods.
Despite all the other pubs and bars that are scattered across York’s city centre, The Market Cat has a real opportunity to be one of its standouts despite being a relative newcomer. It has a nice style and feel, offering a wide variety of excellent ales, spirits and also supplying punters with food which is a great addition. We may not live in its immediate vicinity but rest assured we will call in when we are next in town and other Thornbridge pubs we come across on our adventures.
The Market Cat can be found on Twitter and Instagram by searching for @MarketCatYork with Thornbridge being found under their name on both Twitter and Instagram too. Recently, Thornbridge have also just started releasing a regular podcast giving an insight into how the brewery operates, the people behind it and what the future holds. This can be found across all podcast apps by searching for ‘Beer Here Now’.