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by The Breeze
April 3, 2006
From journal I Love London!
by Mr. Wonka
Brooklyn, New York
January 30, 2005
After practically fighting our way through the aptly named Holborn Circus in search of the fabled Mitre, we started to wonder if we had somehow read the map wrong. We’re here, but where in the world is Ely Court? We took a left off Holborn, hung another quick left in the direction we thought Ely Court must be, and were still left scratching our heads. And then, to our luck and amusement, we stumbled upon a kindred spirit who was more than happy to steer us towards the hidden Mitre. "Ah, you fancy a pint at the Mitre, eh? Well, I could go for a pint myself!" said a friendly elderly gentleman manning the gates in a private housing community. "Go right up there where that white car’s a-pullin’ out, and take a left. It’s right in there."
After graciously thanking him, we followed his directions, walked past the tiny alleyway, and finally, with our new friend shouting to us across the parking lot, discovered Ye Olde Mitre Tavern. Yes, these pints were destined to go down smooth.
At first glimpse, the tavern seemed to be one of the tiniest I’d ever seen, but once we discovered another adjoining room, as well as the "Bishop’s Room" up a narrow, winding staircase, we were able to find somewhere to pull up two stools and enjoy our beers. Obviously a popular after-work watering hole, the Mitre has a jovial atmosphere that was buzzing with spirited conversations. The staff seemed to sincerely enjoy going about their work of pouring Tetley’s, Adams, and Broadside ales, as well as toasted sandwiches for £1.50.
Elizabethan portraits speckled the walls, which were also adorned with various vintage photographs, old signs and menus, and long-expired alcohol licenses from the Mitre’s 460-year history. We couldn’t help but imagine how many people had passed through this tavern to grab an ale over the years, and were glad we were able to experience this popular pub for ourselves.
God knows there’s no shortage of pubs in London, but try to squeeze in a visit to Ye Olde Mitre Tavern. Here, you’re guaranteed to have a truly authentic pub experience. And besides... the Bishop of Ely wouldn’t have it any other way.
From journal Kicking Around in London
July 5, 2005
But fear not—I’m here to help. Here’s what you do: Find your way to the first block of Hatton Garden, between Holborn and Greville Street (the nearest tube stops are Farringdon and Chancery Lane). Walk along the east side of the street and keep your eyes peeled for a tiny passageway tucked among the jewelry shops. It’s only as wide as an ordinary doorway, but walk a few steps down it and you’ll emerge into a little open courtyard, where, with a giddy sense of finding hidden treasure, you’ll discover the Olde Mitre in all its obscure glory.
Make no mistake, however; the secret is definitely out on this adorable (there’s no other word for it) über-historic pub. Its location in the heart of the city inevitably makes it a favorite haunt of the suits who work nearby, and on our weekday-afternoon visit, most of the other patrons were lawyers and businessmen quietly talking shop. But no matter: we were far too taken with the place to quibble over its clientele. The moment I got my first glimpse of the exterior—the ground floor done in gleaming polished wood, with ivy spilling over the large, many-paneled windows—I was charmed.
A nearby door led into a tiny front lounge, but we chose instead to make our way along the side of the pub, down another lovely narrow passageway adorned with flowerboxes, to a separate door that led to the slightly larger back room. And… wow. But for the men in suits and electric lamps, we might have been back in the 17th century. The walls were paneled in dark wood, an ornate carpet covered the floor, and the furniture was of the solid-old-fashioned-wooden variety. I half expected to catch sight of Henry VIII off in a corner, necking with Anne Boleyn.
Stepping up to the bar, we ordered pints and their specialty snack, "toasties"—toasted cheese sandwiches with ham or tomato, only £1.50 a go. A staircase led to an upstairs room, but it was closed, so instead we took over "Ye Closet," a snug little nook off the main room. There we sipped our pints, wolfed down our toasties (which turned out to be quite good), and repeatedly remarked to each other what a very, very nice place this was. In between times, I fantasized that I was Queen Elizabeth, or possibly Nell Gwyn. The time to leave came all too soon, and I had a remarkably hard time tearing myself away. Now that I’ve been to the Olde Mitre (pronounced "MY-tur," by the way), I don’t think I could ever come to London without making a stop here—nor should you.
From journal Downing Pints in London
Newcastle upon Tyne, England, United Kingdom
August 11, 2003
The Mitre offers a good range of (mostly) premium beers and some nice wines but also has a massive range of alco-pops and the latest trendy spirits and shooters like "Aftershock" and "Sourz".
The clientele is young-ish (predominantly twenties and thirties), but is a good mix and tends to be more media/music/arty types than a particular age group. During the day the music is fairly low-key but the volume tends to rise in the evenings. The Mitre is a good place to find out what's on and the window ledges are always teming with flyers for gigs, cinemas and theatre as well as leaflets for local groups (drama, reading, sports, gay and lesbian nights, etc).
At the rear, through the french windows is a pleasant yard with tables and chairs where you can choose to sit in the sun or in the shade. It's funny to think when you sit out here in the summer that the tube is whizzing through the tunnels under your feet and that just on the other side of the pub, the buses and cars are queueing at the traffic lights.
The Mitre is a comfortable, friendly and not too fashionable place to relax, meet friends or to have a break whilst checking out Upper Street.
From journal Summer in the City
london, United Kingdom
April 25, 2010