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Best in Class: In Conversation with award-winning Dyls 

Elizabeth Walsh interviews award-winning independent venue Dyls about their family business and newest accolade.

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Image Credit: @Dyls / Instagram

This year I got quite lucky with the location of my third year house. We’re talking a stone's throw away from Rowntree Park - it’s literally at the end of the street - and a scenic walk into town. Really, what more could I ask for? While exploring this new paradise and walking along the river this summer, I came across Dyls, a striking cafe bar which I hadn’t had the pleasure of coming across before. Based on the impressive exterior alone I was intrigued.

Picture this: a renovated stone motor house set right by the River Ouse, with fluorescent fairy lights at night that can’t help but demand the attention of passersby. As well as the beautiful exterior that I could happily go on about, Dyls also caught my eye for another reason. They were recently voted one of the best places to drink in the UK. Making it into the Liberty Games list of the top 30 bars and pubs, they ranked an impressive 16th place while also being one of only two Yorkshire businesses to be recognised. No mean feat.

Not only were they one of the only Yorkshire venues to make it onto the list, but also one of the only independents. Many of the top spots were awarded to chains including Revolution de Cuba in Glasgow and Stoke-on-Trent and Turtle Bay in Bristol. As a family-run, independent business Dyls have achieved huge success and I just had to find out more about them.


First opening in 2012, the family business specialises as a high-quality cafe, sourcing ingredients locally, including from Haxby bakery. When I asked what the inspiration behind starting the business was they said that: ‘Jan (Dyl) is a passionate and creative individual who wanted to start his own business from a young age’ and so he took on Dyls as a first venture into the hospitality industry. Like many York students, he enjoys going out for brunch and cocktails, as well as finding new inspiration. He wanted to bring all of these things together with Dyls.

As with many businesses, Dyls has had to contend with the recent pandemic-induced restrictions but also flooding. The river-side location is evidently both a blessing and a curse as they have had to contend with three major floods resulting in six-month closures. Despite these hurdles, they have bounced back each time including through the innovative temporary outdoor bar they set up in response to the 2016 flooding. They acknowledged that: ‘The last year or so has been crazy with opening, closing, partially-opening, to being flooded in between. It's great that we have such an amazing team that can adapt quickly and move forward with us.’

All the hard work needed to overcome these setbacks has certainly paid off as shown by their recent recognition. Understandably pleased with the achievement, they explained that it feels ‘really amazing,’ expanding that ‘it’s so great to finally be recognised for all our hard work that goes into running Dyls.’ They can’t wait to see what the future holds and neither can I!


I was curious to know what they feel makes Dyls stand out and keeps people coming back. Staff feel that it is largely down to Dyls beautiful location (which I absolutely agree with!), situated next to the river with the views of Cliffords Tower, Skeldergate Bridge and Tower Gardens. The reason for Dyls popularity was summarised perfectly in their phrase ‘it’s like a little oasis away from the hustle and bustle of the city.’ There’s certainly nothing better than a drink and nibbles on the waterfront come day or night.

Looking ahead, Dyls have lots of plans for the future including trying new ventures and so we are encouraged to keep an eye on their socials for exciting updates. More accolades and awards are more than likely to be on the cards in the future if they keep up the great work.

You can find Dyls social media channels here: Instagram: @dyls_york, Facebook: Dyls

Image Credits: Dyls

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