Pub of the week – The Whalebone, Hull

Hull city centre is home to several museums illustrating how people in the city used to live; there’s a street life museum, a maritime museum and even a museum housed inside an old trawler moored on the river. However, if visitors to the city want to see how Hullensians have really lived over the past couple of centuries, they should take a walk about half a mile up the River Hull and enjoy a swift half in The Whalebone.

Built sometime around 1800, the pub is probably the city’s last remaining example of a true docker’s pub; it has traditionally been frequented by them and most of the current clientele seem to be former fishermen. The pub makes no excuses, takes no prisoners and stands as a monument to the drinking culture of the average working men of the city.

The walls are covered in fascinating pictures of old Hull pubs and memorabilia from sporting events and can usually boast a handful of equally fascinating regulars waiting to debate the finer points of both topics.

It has been rebuilt, refitted, closed and re-opened over the years (hence the rag bag of architectural and interior styles) but for the past decade has been curated with unflashy aplomb by landlord Alex Craig. When the house next door to the pub became available, CAMRA stalwart Alex bought that as well and turned it into the Whalebone brewery. He now brews two house ales – Diana and Neck Oil (both 3.9% ABV) – which he sells for a quite incredible £1.60 a pint. You read that right, £1.60!

Be warned, though, it won’t be to everyone’s taste. Food is strictly (and proudly) restricted to crisps, nuts, scratchings and pickled eggs; there is no dedicated parking and while the pub was once situated in a busy riverside street, the surrounding blocks are now populated with relatively unattractive industrial units.

But if you like art deco windows, no-nonsense banter, living history and very cheap beer you should seek The Whalebone out and find out what Hull is made of.

Dave Lee

The Whalebone,
165 Wincolmlee,

01482 226648

Welcome 3
Drinks selection 4
Atmosphere 4
Food 2
Prices 5

Accompanying high res j-pegs are here:


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