Ye Olde Mitre

Ye Olde MitreYe Olde Mitre
Ye Olde MitreYe Olde Mitre
Bar, Eatery

1 Ely Court
London, England, EC1N 6SJ
United Kingdom

+44 20 7405 4751 | map

Notes: Hours:
Monday - Friday: 11:00-23:00
Saturday - Sunday: CLOSED
View: Place Reviews
Reviews: 14 | Ratings: 19 | Log in to view all ratings and sort
Reviews by TheLongBeachBum:
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TheLongBeachBum from California

4.06/5  rDev -2.9%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4 | service: 4.5 | selection: 3.5

After visits to the 400 year old Seven Stars and equally historic Ye Olde Cheshire Cheese, I could be forgiven for the feeling of being transported back to a London that Dickens would have been comfortable in.

But soon local BA’s LondonPorter and RichLightWeight had me safely at the third stop for the evenings crawl, and it proved to be equally as impressive as the previous brace of ancient hostelries. No way would I have found this place on my own, quite literally stuffed into a small space at the apex of two separate old back streets. Sandwiched between Ely Place and Hatton Garden, we approached from the latter. The only hint to the location of this place from the Hatton Garden side is an old beaten-up crooked London lamp post opposite the tiny alleyway that leads to it. A sky blue sign in the shape of a Bishop’s Mitre is attached high up on the lamp post with the following words in a lovely golden script font ‘Ye Olde Mitre Tavern Public House Est. 1546’, beneath which an arrow points into the darkened alleyway with the words ‘Beers and Ales’ below that. A wooden sign with the same information also sits above the arched entrance, as well as painted glass one below that tells you that you still have 25 metres to go, hold on, did they have metric measurements in 1546!? Even so, with all the directions and signs, the Mitre is still well hidden and can be hard to locate.

Once down the alley, the oak clad ground floor exterior is easily spotted, lots of boxed and hanging flora & fauna mixes with a healthy collection of upright wooden Casks which serve as tables for those standing & drinking outside. It is worthy of note that the current building is a youngster rebuilt sometime soon after 1772, making it actually a mere 230+ years old. An interesting legend is that the land is still technically in Cambridgeshire, but the original owner, the Bishop of Ely, Cambridgeshire had a part of the land taken by Elizabeth I at some point in the past, and it was completely turned over into the hands of the Crown in 1772 when the current building was reconstructed, it is therefore excluded from the grasping jurisdiction of the City of London.

Interior is very comfy and cozy, due partly to its restrictive space and wood paneling. Two main lounge areas straddle the cramped bar which would not be amiss on an old Galleon. A positively tiny snug, labeled “Ye Closet’ seats 4, thin people, just. An upstairs room houses more seating and the Ladies toilet. Some stunning décor such as a terrific fireplace, thick wooden furniture, old paintings, framed bric-a-brac and original Edwardian artifacts are partially spoiled by tacky ones, like the Mock Tudor lampshades, but it just adds to the overall charm.

Beer range was limited to 4 cask ales, a couple of regulars including Adnam's and two rotating offerings it seems, a small but very nice varied range, though I am sure I spied Greede King in there. Some ancillary draft brews for the Keg lovers, and I didn’t notice any bottles that were noteworthy, but the quality of the Cask beer was certainly very good, no complaints from any of the party.

The Gents toilets are fun, piss capacity is strictly two at a time, and once inside the covered outside urinals you may find that you get to know your next door neighbor just a little too well, hmm.

Service seemed quick and very cheery despite the rather busy and packed interior, in fact the outside had an ensemble of punters enjoying the sunny Friday evening, all with Pints in hand. No TV’s, games machines or noise, just how I like it, not that they have room for any of these fancy things either!

Whilst I was taking in the surroundings, we were met by fellow BA wI0307 here, and soon the evening would kick into high gear, but for the time the tranquil serenity and sheer laid back outside drinking area was fantastic.

A classic London boozer, a quality retreat and Real Ale sanctuary from the bustling modern day City. Ye Olde Mitre has it all, obscurity, locals, visiting Ale lovers, small rooms, nooks & crannies, with a little eccentricity fused into a solid heritage and a great range of well kept Real Ales to boot. Don't miss this place, literally that is, for it's a worthy stop…..if you can find it!

Highly Recommended.

Last Visit: Friday 23rd June, 2006.

Jul 01, 2006
More User Reviews:
Photo of West_Chester_Ale_Tester
West_Chester_Ale_Tester from Ohio

4.1/5  rDev -1.9%
vibe: 4.25 | quality: 4 | service: 4.25 | selection: 4

Tourist trap? Maybe. Pretty average beer selection. Totally. But, if you're looking to go to a pub that's older than the country you're from, this is the one. It actually wasn't very busy and isn't always the first choice that pops when you're looking for an old pub in London. I would go again and again, just for the history.

May 16, 2017
Photo of Noelito76
Noelito76 from New York

3.98/5  rDev -4.8%
vibe: 3.75 | quality: 4.25 | service: 3.5 | selection: 4.25

Aug 29, 2015
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Themsen from Norway

4.31/5  rDev +3.1%
vibe: 5 | quality: 5 | service: 3.5 | selection: 4

Jun 04, 2015
Photo of lordberon
lordberon from Spain

4.5/5  rDev +7.7%

Jun 24, 2014
Photo of jeiiVP
jeiiVP from California

4.25/5  rDev +1.7%

Feb 05, 2014
Photo of ICJ
ICJ from England

4.5/5  rDev +7.7%

Oct 16, 2013
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Reagan1984 from Massachusetts

4.83/5  rDev +15.6%
vibe: 5 | quality: 5 | service: 5 | selection: 4.5 | food: 4.5

Ok, so this has become one of my favorite spots on earth. If you came to London and want the perfect old world pub, this is your place. If you can find it, that is. Part of the fun is finding the alley andw then entering the front room. I can't believe how quaint the front parlor is. Literally going back in time. From reading the reviews on BA of places Europe, they seem to be writtefrom an American berr geek perspective. We seem to love places with 200 beers. If thats what you want dont come here. If you want a real English pub experience and to be the only tourist! Come here on a weeknight. It was nothing short of awesome. Our plan was to stay for a pint or two and we stayed the entire evening. Classic English pub munchies. Cheese & Pickel sandwich (toasties). Not an official dinner, but we ordered about 5 sandwiches and a couple sausages to split.
The cask beer was spot on and awesome. So fresh it brought a tear to your eye. I will be back on every London visit. You must see this place.

Apr 19, 2012
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Madigan from Ireland

4.13/5  rDev -1.2%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4 | service: 4 | selection: 4.5 | food: 4

I suggested meeting a few friends in this joint on a recent trip to London. I'd read a little about it online before hand and while some people had raved about it I remained cautious as I've been sorely disappointed by certain celebrated London pubs in the past. After spending the evening there though I reckon this place scores very highly on virtually every level you would judge a pub.

To begin with, it's bang in the middle of the City of London, yet while it was busy the crowd didn't seem remotely touristic. This may be due to its hideaway location, tucked down a little lane between Hatton Garden and St. Etheldreda's Church. Although it's basically concealed down an alley, however, it's more cosy than pokey with three fairly spacious rooms inside and a nice outdoor area for overflow. It also got quite an authentic atmosphere - the interior architecture seems to be genuine 16th Century Tudor, the walls are covered with ancient memorabilia and, mercifully, there wasn't a fruit machine in sight.

The second, and maybe the most important, point in the Mitres favour is the beer selection. They have Strongbow and Kronenbourg and all that usual bland stuff on tap but they also have at least five ale pumps. London Pride and the mouth-watering Deuchar's IPA are permanent and the night I was there they also had an Adnam's stout and a beer called Dragonslayer (it was the night before St. George's Day). They also had a cask of very authentic Somerset Cider on offer. In some pubs, due to poor hygiene or lack of trade, the real ale has a disappointing, lifeless quality. That wasn't the case here at all, the pints of Deuchar's being some of the nicest I've ever tasted.

Something that really struck me as contrasting with the average London pub was the standard of service and hospitality. The staff (two Scottish fellas and an English barman and barmaid) were friendly, fast, and competent, and happy to chat away at the end of the night. Finally, the food was basic but extremely cheap and spot on for a proper pub - three varieties of toasty, scotch eggs and pickles - none of your Gastropub nonsense here. Anyway, I'll definitely be going back, if only to sample a few more pints of Deuchar's.

Apr 29, 2009
Photo of JohnW
JohnW from England

4.06/5  rDev -2.9%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4 | service: 4.5 | selection: 3.5

This tiny but really interesting and atmospheric pub is a real gem, and a must for anyone visiting London. Although it might be considered tricky to find, its really fairly easy. Walking from Chancery Lane Tube Station, towards St Pauls along High Holborn, at the junction with Hatton Garden, on the right hand side of Hatton Garden just 20 yards up the street is a small sign on the Lamp post pointing down the narrow alley which leads to the pub. It takes about 5 minutes to walk from Cittie York pub.

Two small rooms with some outside seating in the narrow alleyway. At time of visit 3 real ales on handpull - Timothy Taylor Landlord, Adnams Broadside and Deuchars IPA - the Adnams was first class. Wednesday mid-day was a good crowd, but we got a seat easily and really enjoyed the beer and atmosphere. Service was friendly and helpful, made you feel "at home"

Really enjoyed our visit and would make it a regular stop on any London crawl. Prices average for London pubs. We did not eat here, but understand the food is good.

JohnW B'ham UK
April 2009

Apr 17, 2009
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jdlarkins from Virginia

3.75/5  rDev -10.3%
vibe: 5 | quality: 4 | service: 4 | selection: 3 | food: 3

First Visited in 2002:

Someone more with more smarts than I once described trying to find this place is like trying to find the way into Narnia....Where is the lamp post again? What is there to say..? Reminds me of a place Dr. Samuel Johnson, Dickens, or Holmes might have dropped into for a pint. Very small; but incredibly atmospheric. Good beer; typical pub snacks and very few tourists. I would advise a beer (or history) lover to seek this place out if they visit London. Careful, though...will it be there the next time you try and find it?

Nov 16, 2008
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BlackHaddock from England

3.86/5  rDev -7.7%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4 | service: 4.5 | selection: 3

I thought Brussels had the monopoly on the best bars down alleys, but London is catching up fast in my estimation. This is a lovely little place tucked away from any prying eyes and far from the madening crowds of tourist London.

Busy, but friendly place, bar staff chatty, as were the locals. Beer quality was good and served without fuss. Adnams beers at all times and on my visit Dark Star had a beer on pull too.

Quaint but not cheesy, this is a proper old pub with proper old customers. Some pubs have character and some have characters who use them, this has both!

Now I know where it actually is, it will become a regular venue when in London (closed at weekends).

Jul 09, 2008
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Mark from California

4.63/5  rDev +10.8%
vibe: 5 | quality: 5 | service: 5 | selection: 3.5 | food: 5

Finally on our 10th and most recent trip to London we made it to this historic pub. Wedged in a small alley way this Medieval era gem is tiny yet welcoming. Two levels and a very narrow winding staircase takes you up to the upper floor. This place bleeds history and supposedly has a connection to Elizabeth I. A couple of cask offerings and a gravity as well though it was not on when I went. Adnams and Caledonian Deuchars IPA are the main cask beers. Very friendly staff, one who personally almost took us to a nearby historical landmark. Very popular pub, it was pretty crowded. Not open on weekends which is a shame. Food looked generous and reasonably priced. The "Toastie" sandwiches seemed exceptionally popular. A must visit and I personally can't wait to return. We did return on our most recent trip to London in Feb. This place was even better this time around and the friendly barman named Chris made it even more so. Very reasonable food and the toasties were great. Also loved the sausages. Once again we can't wait to return.

Since this review the Ye Olde Mitre has become one of our favorite pubs in London. We almost always have our lunch here, scarfing down the tostie sandwiches and excellent sausages. Love this place, great atmosphere, great employee's, great pub period.

Mar 29, 2008
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surfadelic23 from Florida

4.36/5  rDev +4.3%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4

I finally made it to this place! It was our 1st day in London and the second spot we hit after an 8 hr flight. This is another pub to go to for the atmosphere first and foremost. It is a small and charming place with loads of history. That being said, they had 2 ales on cask. All of the beer we tried was in great condition and the staff were friendly too. This is a good place to stop if you're doing a tour/crawl in the city as it is near smithfield market and many of the other major sites and not too far off the beaten path... It was tough to find as there was scaffolding partly blocking the view of the lampost. Well worth checking out.

Oct 30, 2007
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dougnboston from Massachusetts

4.06/5  rDev -2.9%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4 | service: 4.5 | selection: 3.5

First challenge is finding the place. I was there once before and still had a little trouble finding the narrow alley it's tucked down. A Brit behind me was getting step-by-step directions on his cell phone, so if the locals need help, you will too.

I loved this pub. I think because of the location the tourists are not in full force. Both staff and patrons were friendly. Beers were fresh and served with a smile. Hey, and the men’s room is outside among the patio crowd! What more could you want :)

Inside there are two seating areas with a bar between the two. I found the front, smaller area, very pleasing. Alone, I was invited to sit with a couple guys just enjoying a pint. Another patron across the room approached me as he noticed me snapping photos. Curious about my camera, shutter speed, etc., he proved to be a wealth of knowledge about the local pubs. He sent me to Citte of Yorke next.

If you like good beer, historic pubs, friendly people and great settings … go here.

Nuff said.

Oct 21, 2007
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Xadoor from Texas

3.73/5  rDev -10.8%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4 | service: 4 | selection: 3

What can you say that hasn't already been said about a pub that’s been operating for the past few hundred years? You basically have to know where it is to find it as the entrance is down a narrow alley and the only sign on the street is hanging on a lamp post. Dark, old wood inside with a cozy fire burning the day I was there. Not a large selection with only 3 or 4 cask, but what I had was good. Friendly service with obvious locals talking to each other back and forth across the room. Certainly worth seeking out.

Jun 29, 2006
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texashammer from Texas

3.93/5  rDev -6%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4 | service: 4 | selection: 3.5

this bar is in an ancient, well-hidden, teeny tiny old building. you have to travel down a 4-foot-wide alleyway to it; you kind of have to know it's there. furnishings are very old; nice old wooden chairs and such; there's a fire going and it's just packed, on the weeknight I was there. 3-4 casks, but good ones that I didn't see at other pubs. apparently they serve some basic food but we did not partake. service was friendly and accomodating. I witnessed an exchange where some particularly bewildered tourists were handled with impressive tolerance and accomodation. had I been serving, I might not have been as patient. a good stop for atmosphere.

Feb 17, 2006
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Dukeofearl from California

4.26/5  rDev +1.9%
vibe: 5 | quality: 4 | service: 5 | selection: 3.5

The last stop on the Bloomsbury and Holborn pub crawl set up by fellow BA wl0307 (Yau), and attended by myself, my girlfriend, Yau's girlfriend, and BA greencard. And he saved the best for the last. This place is tucked away down an alley, and you would never know it was there if stumbling along, but for a light blue mitre-shaped sign on the sidewalk. Look down the alley, walk down, and there is a pub. This place is old. Well kept, but you can feel the age in its bones. The sign says "Established 1546". This place was opened in the last year of the reign of Henry VIII- Queen Elizabeth I was a teenager. Wow- is that cool or what?

Very narrow in shape and feel (going up the stairs is a challenge after even one pint!). But the key was, when we walked in, the two publicans acted like we were long lost friends that they hadn't seen in years, and they were so excited to have us back. That felt really good.

At least 3 real ales on cask, I had the Roosters Yankee (not having heard of anything they had, I decided to be patriotic, or some such thing), which was quite nice. The upstairs held a set of old old round bar tables with a second floor, where you can put your pint and reduce the likelihood of spilling. This place was full of interesting stuff, from artwork, to a big book with history of the place.

If you can find it, go here!

Oct 13, 2005
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KnutAlbert from Norway

4.05/5  rDev -3.1%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 5 | selection: 3 | food: 2.5

Just a few feet away from the busy and noisy Holborn Circus, this is like entering another century. Up a very narrow alley you find a pub that is about five hundred years old, with the present building set up around 1770.

A few real ales on tap, well kept and professionally handled by the mature staff. I had a pint of Adnams ordinary bitter - a no-nonsense beer appropriate for such a pub. I think a Riggwelter or Sheepshagger ale would have been frowned upon here. The menu is limited to sandwiches - they don't have room for anything else - so think of it as an oasis where you have a drink or two before joining the crowds again.

This can get busy at lunchtime, but quitets down in the evening - while it does not take much of a company to fill it up.

Check out the upstairs room with information about the history of the pub.

For a slightly longer review, check out my beer blog:

Jun 29, 2005
Ye Olde Mitre in London, GB2, United Kingdom
Place rating: 4.18 out of 5 with 19 ratings