This is an interesting pub to get to, I walked by these gates into Ely Place and this takes its name from when it was the site of the London residence of the Bishop of Ely. The road has its own Wikipedia page for anyone interested in the history of this area and that saves me writing about it here…..
This is the little alley that the pub is located down, although I think there’s another entrance from the other side, but either way, this pub is one that has to be actively looked for rather than stumbled upon. That all makes it a little more exciting.
There has been a pub on this site since around 1546, when it was used by the servants who worked at the Bishop’s house, and I can’t imagine that the bishop himself would have meandered along. Although who knows…. Anyway, the site was cleared when it was taken over by the Crown in 1772, which is when the current building dates from. It was renovated in the early twentieth century and it retains that layout today.
The pub note on their web-site: (NB, I’ve changed hung to hanged, as I am still slightly [some may say very] annoying in believing meat is hung and dead human bodies are hanged, not that it really matters….).
“The Ye Olde Mitre is famous for having a cherry tree, (now supporting the front) that Queen Elizabeth once danced around with Sir Christopher Hatton. The pub was actually a part of Cambridge (Ely being in Cambridge) and the licencees used to have to go there for their licence. Set in a part of London steeped in history, it’s near where William Wallace was hanged, drawn and quartered at Smithfield, along with martyrs and traitors who were also killed nearby.”
This is unfortunately another pub that in non Covid times that I would have walked around a bit more to see the history and heritage. I did go and have a little look at the rear beer garden, and there’s also seating at the front. These areas were a little bit busier, but there were tables free in both sections so the pub was far from busy.
There was a prompt welcome from a friendly and personable staff member when I arrived and I was offered a table either inside or outside. I prefer inside so that I can at least have a look at the pub’s interior (and outside is often home to wasps and other bitey things) and the staff member said “I think we can just about squeeze you in”. As can be seen from the photo above, he managed to fit me in….
The beer selection wasn’t too bad, I went for a quick half of the Windsor Knot, an acceptable beer from the Windsor & Eton brewery that I had a few months ago as well. The staff members were all welcoming and there was a relaxed feel to the arrangements here. I suspect that this is one of those pubs that if you moved into a property nearby that you’d be made to feel welcome if you wanted to make this your local. The only downside is that this is a small pub, and it’s only these exceptional times that meant I found it so easy to get a table. Normally there would likely be more tourists, more city workers and just more visitors to the area.
The pub is in the Good Beer Guide, so that’s another one visited. For its heritage alone, I can see why its listed, and I found it perfectly friendly and welcoming. I would have, as ever, preferred a slightly more decadent beer choice than that provided by Fuller’s, but it could have been much worse. Definitely one worth visiting.