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The Blue Bell pub in York has been excluded from the 2014 Good Beer Guide by the York branch of CAMRA because at times it operates a restrictive admissions policy. Now, this is a pub I am very familiar with and would place it in my Top Ten of British pubs. It’s a tiny, unspoilt place with front public bar, central servery and rear snug, connected by a corridor along one side. Fifty people would fill it. So I can well understand why the licensee chooses to put up “Private Party” signs to keep out the stag and hen parties that infest York on weekend evenings. During the rest of the week I doubt whether there’s a problem. He says:
'We do get nice strangers coming in the pub but on Saturday nights and race days York city centre is a nightmare.
'I have been operating the same way for twelve and a half years and no one has complained but it seems we have a younger committee now with different more politically correct views.
He also complains of “'weirdy beardies' visiting the pub and 'asking to sample seven beers, then buying a half'.” I have to say if I ran a pub I would regard people as taking the piss if they asked for more than a couple of samples before buying.
This decision really says a lot more about York CAMRA than it does about the Blue Bell. Excluding one of York’s classic pubs for such a prissy reason devalues the Good Beer Guide. I doubt whether the pub will lose any trade, and next time I’m in York I’ll certainly make a point of visiting it.