Hull – Ye Olde White Hart

I’m running out of time in Hull, so I’m making a renewed effort to get through all of the CAMRA Good Beer Guide pubs in the city centre.

This pub is packed with history and is located down an alley in its own courtyard, which some of the best historic pubs are. There are some stories about this pub, including that it was where the meeting was held where it was decided that King Charles I would be refused entrance at the Beverley Gate in the city. The building was then a private residential property and looking at the listed building description, those dates don’t really quite match up. But, this was indeed a late seventeenth century property and so it’s interesting solely for that.

It became a pub, or at least was heavily remodelled into a pub, in 1871 and there are four main rooms, two up and two down. The downstairs two both have large fireplaces and do have a lot of character, being pretty much unchanged in design (although not the bars themselves which are more modern) since they were installed. Looking at some of the local press in 1877, the pub owners advertised the opening of the “King Charles’s Room” and the “Plotting Parlour”, so this is where the myth appears to have started. They also advertised that they provided “solid and liquid refreshments” and they mentioned they had 1,000 cigars in stock, and the pub was also at the time a hotel as well.

Nothing exceptionally exciting was available in terms of the real ales, but I’m always happy to have Theakston’s Old Peculier and this was well kept and tasted as it should. Service was OK, but the barman had that very mildly irritating habit of returning my change whilst talking and facing the next customer. Nothing says “sod off” better than that that in a pub which isn’t even busy. Well, there are quite a few things which would be ruder, but at least a pretend thank you would be nice. I think the Hop and Vine yesterday has raised my expectations…..

One of the two downstairs rooms, this is the one by the main bar. Very atmospheric and quite dark, although that suits the pub nicely (I mean because it fits in with the decor, not because it’s sinister). Some of the beams in the pub apparently have burn marks on from a fire which broke out in 1883. However, it was so dark I had no chance of making that out.

Does the pub really need that AWP there? I’m not sure it’s entirely in keeping with the rest of the interior.

The fireplace is more in keeping and there’s one in the other room as well.

There was limited seating available, so I went to sit by the second bar in a corner. This bar slightly annoyed me, it seemed entirely pointless and of limited historic integrity. I didn’t think much more about that until reading that the pub themselves wanted to get rid of it, but there was local opposition so they weren’t allowed to. It seems like a waste of space to me, I can imagine the pub managers weren’t thrilled being told that they had to leave it in situ.

It’s a bit difficult to tell given the Halloween decorations, but the pub is known for having the skull of a younger person on display. It’s encased to protect it and can be seen in the middle of this photo. I’m really not sure it’s very dignified to put a Strongbow Carnevil promotion top of a real skull, that’s quite tacky. Although, I suppose, if you’re putting a skull on display that you’ve found in the pub then the bar has already been lowered.

An animal head with Halloween decoration. I’m sure that the pub probably is haunted, as it certainly has enough heritage to deserve its own ghost, and they do have paranormal investigations here.

The pub is very well reviewed and it’s history mean that it’s worth popping in for a quick drink. Or, for that matter, a slow drink.