Sutlers, York (or, that bar in what used to be the Army and Navy Stores)

Sutlers, York.

On the whole, it was rather fun and I’d go again. We went on a Monday night, arriving about 6.30 and it was pretty busy. Service was a bit slow and rather amateurish – they lost our drinks order so we reordered but didn’t get them until after the food started arriving! We had ordered from the ‘Ration Packs’ (small plates, rather like tapas) part of the menu and five dishes between three of us was fine as we weren’t up for a big meal – two or three of them came with delicious bread and the bill was incredibly reasonable. They also do burgers, steaks, salads, sandwiches and sharing platters as well as a range of other dishes.

Lower bar, Sutlers York (different seats to when we went!)
Lower bar, Sutlers York (different seats to when we went!)

Pete had checked the place out in advance for access – we sat in the lower part which has level access and an accessible loo. I think the main bar has level access too, but you’d have to leave the building and re-enter if you wanted the loo! The tables in this section were not the sort you can sit at in a wheelchair – I sat on one of their chairs. Some of the tables had bench seats but staff were very accommodating about swapping the seats around.

Sutlers, York.
Sutlers, York.

The food was tasty without being fabulous and some parts better than others, but on the whole I prefer it to the food at Bill’s which was our last foray into central York. You can park on Fossgate after 6.00pm (free for residents) and there are dropped kerbs or you could use Pavement as a drop-off as we did (the pavement is flush with the road).

To sum up: tasty enough food, pleasant staff if a little haphazard and a good, buzzy atmosphere – we’ll go again!

More reviews of accessible restaurants.

Mid-range restaurant, central York.

The Lime House, Goodramgate, York, is an independent restaurant which has been around a long while, so I thought they must be pretty good and whenever we’ve been past, it always looks cosy, so we decided to give it a go and we weren’t disappointed!

Without being top-notch gourmet, the food is very good, in fact my main course of black bream with seafood ravioli was absolutely gorgeous. The staff were pleasant, friendly and helpful and although the room was a bit chilly to start with it soon warmed up as more people arrived and the atmosphere was relaxed. I was a bit surprised that they don’t provide bread, even with my partner’s pâté starter – you have to order it as an extra, but other than that, the servings were generous and we didn’t have room for desert but enjoyed a decaff filter coffee to finish.

Access is reasonable – a small doorsill at the entrance would probably have been too much for my scooter but would be OK in a wheelchair I expect and there was room to manoeuvre inside. There is no downstairs loo so you wouldn’t want to make too long an evening of it! You can park on the double yellow lines outside if you have a blue badge and while we couldn’t book a specific table, they guaranteed us one in the front part of the restaurant so no table would be more than about five yards from the door.

I can definitely imagine going back.


See my review of the Cedar Court Grand Hotel & Spa, York

The Parsonage Hotel and Restaurant, Escrick, N. Yorks

The Parsonage, Escrick

We were invited here for Sunday lunch with family friends and overall the experience was great: private dining room, good company, relaxed atmosphere and pleasant staff. The setting is wonderful, especially on a sunny day with autumn colours everywhere and the gardens looked lovely. The food however was nothing special: I had a starter of prawns in a Marie Rose sauce straight out of a bottle, the roast pork main course was good without being great and the lemon tart dessert was somewhat stodgy; house wine was fine, coffee was good.

The Parsonage, Escrick
The Parsonage, Escrick

I couldn’t find anything on the website about access, so I rang to ask and was told that there is a side entrance which is accessible but we just needed to check with reception when we arrived that it was open. Getting round to the side entrance was no problem, and it felt like a proper garden entrance rather than just some random back door, but the threshold had rather a high lip to get over which gave quite a jolt. Inside had ramps and an accessible toilet and although getting into the bar was a little exact, it was manageable and the other rooms were perfectly spacious. Leaving at the end was problematic as the high threshold had a slight slope on the incoming side but none on the outgoing, so my scooter could not have coped with it and we had to lift it over. Presumably wheelchairs cope with it OK given that the place is geared for them generally.

On the whole, I like the way they have incorporated ramps without spoiling the character of the building and the staff were excellent at being welcoming and helpful but I would not rush back as the food was not something to go out of your way for.

Hotel Alpenrose, Kufstein, Austria

We stayed two nights here after flying into Munich airport on our way to the Achensee, the hotel being 130 kms from the airport. Although it is a Best Western, the atmosphere was entirely that of a family-run hotel, which it is and a very well-run one too, with pleasant, friendly, helpful staff. The restaurant claims to be award-winning and it certainly was very good with nicely-presented national and local specialities, delicious bread and nice wine. The breakfast was also good: you could order various egg dishes as well as helping yourself to lots of different buffet items: cold meat, cheese, croissants, fruit, yogurt etc.

We had booked the Alpenrose because it was accessible and it mostly was with a ramp to get into reception and from there you could access the restaurant and breakfast room but the lounge had a step up. To access the terrace where there were more restaurant tables, if you used the ‘outdoor’ route there was a small step which was too much for my scooter but a wheelchair would probably be OK with it. The ‘indoor’ route to the terrace involved two bigger steps. There was a lift (our room was on the first floor) and the room was very spacious with a walk-in shower, plenty of grab bars and a stool to sit on in the shower. There was also an alarm-cord in the bathroom.

Hotel Alpenrose, Kufstein
Hotel Alpenrose, Kufstein

Not very pre-possessing from the outside, it was a comfortable hotel and very clean, it just needs a little bit of updating: the graphic rose patterned carpet in the bedroom for example and the table-cloths on the terrace tables – lose them and the terrace was lovely! The surrounding mountains are impressive and there was a spectacular storm the second night which meant decamping indoors half-way through our meal! I can’t review Kufstein itself as we just used the hotel for a rest from driving and I would definitely recommend it as a good stopover as well as a base if you did want to explore Kufstein.

Middlethorpe Hall, York

We recently had a team ‘away day’ event here in the Barlow room. The website describes it as having access ramps and disabled facilities, but doesn’t mention the gutter which you need to negotiate before you reach the ramp! I was nervous of scooting over the gutter (my scooter is not really designed for rough terrain!) and got off and had colleagues move the scooter over it the first time but braved it after that and it was OK just rather a jolt. I’m not sure how users of self-propelled wheelchairs would find it. The carpark is at some distance but there is no problem about being dropped at the door. Once inside, it is a lovely venue, very well-appointed and with one of the poshest accessible loos ever!

We had lunch in the main house, which despite being a historic house, had a ramp up to the entrance to avoid the steps, although there was another gutter to negotiate, then staff had placed ramps over two short flights of stairs – rather steep but manageable and the staff were very helpful. Scooting around indoors was fine but the lavatories are on the floor below and although there is a lift, a staff member felt my scooter would not fit in. So, it was back to the Barlow room before we had a guided tour of the lovely gardens – flagstones and gravel paths and short grass with just one step which might be avoidable if you went a different route.

It was a lovely experience – lunch was fabulous! – but I’m not sure I would recommend this place if you were looking for a truly accessible venue.

Cedar Court Grand Hotel and Spa, York

Had a meal here for a recent birthday. The meal was very good without being totally fabulous but what made the occasion memorable was the staff. Nobody batted an eyelid at my turning up on a mobility scooter. This is how it should be but so often isn’t the case. They also brought us a glass of champagne and there was a candle in my desert!

The practicalities are that there is a doorman (at least there was when we first turned up – we had to go back to the house as part of my scooter had fallen off!) to help and a lift (one of those rising platform types) to get you up the few steps in the entrance then it was all on the level. They mentioned where the toilets were (down in a different lift) then showed us to the restaurant, all very helpful and friendly. top marks for attitude!

Click here for their website.

See my review of the Lime House restaurant, also in York.