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