The place: City Screen, 13 – 17 Coney Street, York YO1 9QL
The concept: Is it a cafe/bar with a fantastic arts venue attached to it, or an arts venue that happens to have a really decent cafe/bar? We’re not sure. What we are sure of is that City Screen manages to cater to almost all tastes, whether you’re into live comedy, Hollywood blockbusters or indie films, or just want to take the newborn/toddler/baby to see a film for a couple of hours of peace.
The family-friendly credentials: Film-wise, City Screen can’t be beaten. There’s nowhere else in York that you’ll find weekly Scream screenings (for parents/carers with a child under one), dedicated toddler screenings and such a good Saturday morning kids’ club (more information here). We’re sorry that they no longer do a kids’ menu in the cafe, but no-one will mind if you bring a little sandwich for your little one to nibble while you eat your lunch. Watch out for them stealing your chips though. There are lots of highchairs and there’s much more space for buggies since the refurbishment. Baby changing is fine. All of that, combined with a relaxed atmosphere and background music (good for drowning out the sound of noisy children), make this a very popular meeting place for mums and dads with young children. The riverside views are a bonus too. Get there early if you want to bag a sofa.
The hot chocolate selection: In stark contrast to York Cocoa House’s extensive hot chocolate menu, City Screen offers two choices: small or large.
The verdict: Gluttons that we are, we opted for the large hot chocolate. And we’re glad we did, because it turns out that we’re talking ‘normal’ large rather than Starbucks barrel-sized large. Everything about this hot chocolate is stylish and understated: nice white cup and saucer, small and tasty biscotti on the side (eat it before your child does, or use it as a bargaining tool) and a smooth, sweet flavour. Not a marshmallow in sight, so if you like your hot chocolate to look like a funfair in a cup, it might not be for you. We liked it – it’ll be the perfect mid-Christmas shopping pick-me-up at a place where we know the kids will be welcome too. We just need the temperature to drop so we’ve got an excuse to order it again.