Hidden alleys and the backstreets of London

On February 18, 2012, in London pubs, by Jonno
Ye Olde Mitre

One of London's hidden pubs is down this alley!

One of the great things about London pubs is the amazing history that they hold. One evening Jonno’s brother was in town so Troy and Jonno decided that a wander to the north of the city would be a nice way to spend the evening. Jonno’s brother had worked in this area as a young man, so was pretty keen to revisit some of the pubs he had now forgotten.

Finding Hidden London Pubs

Meeting up at Holborn Tube Underground station we slipped around the back for a quick pint and a feed of bangers and mash at The Ship pub in Holborn. Not so much of an historic pub, but certainly has many tales to tell. They have a rather pleasant upstairs dining room that is a bit quieter than the main bar downstairs. This pub is often frequented by the lawyers working closely in Lincolns Inn Fields. Because of the local lawyers, the price of food was higher than other pubs n the area. But it was probably better fayre than you would get in other pubs, so we we not complaining.

With full tummies, we ventured out into the warm summers evening and headed for a rather peculiar pub called the Cittee of York on High Holborn. You would be forgiven to thinking that this pub was the oldest pub in London, with oak beams and a character straight our of a novel by Charles Dickens. But you would be wrong as it was built after the first world war. However, it is a marvellous pub and the small fact of its age should be ignored as the man who built this place knew a thing or two about pubs and has left a landmark he can be proud of!


Historic Pubs that may not be historic!

Cittee of York Holborn

Not as old as you may think!

Our next pub was the very hidden Ye Olde Mitre, which is so easy to walk straight past, and we did.  Being down a narrow alley, you really do have to keep a look out. As we chatted and wandered up the road, it was about 20 metres beyond, when Jonno stopped and stated “turn around boys, we’ve just walked past it!”.

This really is one of those pubs that it worth trekking across London for. It was originally in the Shire of Cambridge and therefore outside of the control of the Metropolitan Police, a great piece of history. It’s a small pub and on a warm summers night it gets busy, so at peak times when the offices empty out you may not get to the bar, so plan ahead to avoid disappointment.

After a very refreshing pint of one of London’s best beers we head further east and into a more industrial part of the city. It’s not really industrial, but more warehouses and a lack of sleek offices. It was a hard call with so many great little pubs tucked away in the backstreets, but we had our plan and decided to stick to it. So our next stop was the Betsy Trotwood.


London Pubs with Good Food

The Betsy, as it is known locally, is not a great architectural delight, but what the architects missed is made up for in true pub appeal. It’s a Shepherd Neame pub so Jonno was happy to partake in a pint of Spitfire. A wonderful beer brimming with flavour and national pride of the most incredible aircraft ever made (and it still looks great today). The Betsy is a very locals pub and has two function areas, often with bands. They do some pretty good food too, so not a bad place to stop for a feed. The Betsy truly warrants being mentioned in the Best London Pubs.

Jeruselem Tavern at Farringdon

Jonno's favourite London pub

Our last port of call that night was the fabulous Jerusalem Tavern, probably Jonno’s favourite London pub. Again, it’s a small pub and pretty well hidden from passing trade, so one that the locals know about and tourists rarely get to visit. Although its not an historic pub (but the architecture shouts of history) it conjures up stories of the crusades and other adventures. It’s one of the few pubs that is owned by St Peters Brewery and a very nice drop of beer they make too. Behind this great pub is the temple of the Knight of St John, where the St John ambulance has its roots. It is history like this that makes London’s pubs the best pubs in the world.


You can find these pubs on Best London Pubs app for the iPhone

A few years ago Troy and Jonno met up with 7 American students on vacation in London. It was a chance meeting on the underground when our student friends were talking about pubs and how bad Wetherspoons were. I should add that their disappointment with Wetherspoons was that the pub was a bit commercial and just wasn’t what they expected in London. As we say – not London’s best pubs!

Wetherspoons, not the best London pubs

Whetherspoons Pub the Knights Templar

A great Wetherspoons pub in London

Troy and Jonno to the rescue! We joined in with their conversation and asked what they expected. Not surprisingly they didn’t actually know, they had never been to London so didn’t know what a London pub should be like. We joked that they were probably expecting a Dickensian style pub, a hidden London pub with little nooks and crannies and a roaring fire! Laughing they agreed that yes, actually that would be great. So Troy and Jonno suggested they come on a pub crawl with them the next day.


Great Walks in London

Tower Bridge

Great views of Tower Bridge can be seen by the Angel

So a warm Sunday afternoon saw Troy and Jonno escorting 13 tourists around some of London’s best pubs. Our friends had got so excited about a pub trip they invited a lot of their friends along.

Well Troy and Jonno thought it was a great idea and hell, they weren’t paying for the tour, so the more the merrier! With bright red baseball cap in hand as a visual clue, Jonno got his guide mojo going. Starting off at the Angel pub on the Thames, which is a lovely pub on the water. Our friends enjoyed a small beer and a few stories of pirates and privateers.

Sadly the barman was a bit grumpy and got upset that he had a group of 13 taking up his seats with not everyone buying a drink, and asked that we leave. I say sadly, as the pub was half empty when we left. But that is a true London experience, being asked to leave an empty pub because of the barmans bigoted attitude. We had 4 more pubs on our list, so it was his loss. I hear now that pub maybe forced to close as Thames Water want to build a super sewer there, which will totally F@@@ up the Thames river and the beautiful park that exists there (so typical of tiny minded corporate types).


The Founding Fathers of America and the Mayflower

The Mayflower

A fantastic Thames pub

Our second pub was the site of the departure of the boat that took the founding fathers to America. Our friend were absolutely in awe at standing in a pub that could be considered as one of Americas birthplaces.

It is said that this pub is the only pub that can legally sell American stamps outside of the States. A short walk and a train ride through an historic tunnel took us to our final pubs ending with the very well known Prospect of Whitby right on the river. The Prospect is said to be London oldest riverside pub, (it’s not the oldest pub in  London) with a pub having been on this site since the 15th century. It was a long day and our American friends thanks us profusely for taking the time to show them what they were really looking for.


You can find these pubs on the Best London Pubs app for the iPhone

In Search of Great London Pubs

On January 21, 2012, in London pubs, by Jonno
St Pauls in London

Just one of the fantastic sights of London

London is such a fantastic city with so much culture and history. But at the end of the day when the museums and shop are closed, there is nothing better than dropping into one of London’s historic or local pubs. Many pubs scream with history at you when you walk in. The charm and character of these London pubs make you comfortable straight away. But as a traveller to London, which pubs should you visit?


Find Hidden London Pubs

There are over 7,000 pubs in London and many of them are a little bit grotty. When you are travelling to London we know you don’t have time to go all over London looking for the best pubs. Troy and Jonno are proud to have produced Best London Pubs iPhone app. A great app for the iPhone showing you over 100 of London’s Best Pubs. We have visited a lot of pubs in London and whittled it down to the best. But we know you can’t get to 140 odd pubs in your vacation here, so we have our favourites. Our favourites are the pubs that we tell our mates to visit so you can be sure of a great location. But we know you may not have the time to get across London, so the Best London Pubs iPhone app will find you a great London pub closely.


All the Best London Pubs on your iPhone

Cross Keys in Covent Garden

A great pub in Covent Garden

Best London Pubs showcases London’s best pubs. All the pubs in the app are reflective of how a pub should be, we have deliberately not included pubs with dominating TVs and fruit machines blaring away in the middle of the pub. Any town has pubs like that and we know when you come to London you want the best and that’s what Best London Pubs iPhone app is all about.  Theme pubs and Irish pubs are not included, so your pub experience will be a truly London experience.


The Best Pub Walks in the World!

If you are staying longer and want to experience some great walks though London why not try the London Pub Crawls iPhone or Android app from the London Pub Crawl Company. 40 great walks with 4 smashing pubs each total to 160 terrific London pubs. A great way to spend an afternoon or evening.