Standing shoulder to shoulder with complete strangers might not be everyone’s idea of a pleasant drink, but this is a typical night at the family-run Blue Bell – York’s smallest watering hole. Ignore the bright yellow signs screaming ‘private party’ – that’s just a cunning ploy to keep this Edwardian hideaway from overcrowding. Take the first door on the right for the main bar (a few stools, a table and a tiled fireplace), or follow the narrow corridor and stake your claim in the panelled ‘smoke room’ at the back. Up to seven cask ales are normally on show, while grub is limited to a few sarnies and snacks. The pokey nature of the place makes The Blue Bell rather fun, and a great bolthole for pre-dinner drinks on Fossgate – York’s go-to street for restaurants.