I wonder if the Bishop of Ely thought, all the way back in 1546 when he built Ye Olde Mitre Tavern, that a few thirsty 21st-century kids from New York City would one day enjoy a tall pint of bitter in his pub. Well, of course he did... this is the Bishop of Ely we’re talking about!
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.