There's a sense of discovery when you find the Old Mitre Tavern. It's hidden down an alleyway between 8 and 9 Hatton Garden, marked by an old crooked street lamp and a small sign in the shape of a bishop's mitre, the arched alleyway entrance has a sign above stating "Ye Olde Mitre 1546". Despite these clues many who work in the area don't know it exists.
This tiny pub is a real hidden gem. It has two downstairs bars and a further room upstairs which is generally used as an overflow bar or for functions. All are wood panelled, cosy and relaxing. There are no TV's, gaming machines or piped music, just the murmur of polite conversation. Lunchtimes can be a bit of a squeeze and on dry days customers spill out into the courtyard, but usually it's a good place for a quiet pint.
The original tavern was built in 1547 for the servants of the Palace of the Bishops of Ely (Cambridgeshire). The palace was their London base, they had power and riches and played host to Henry VIII and Elizabeth I. After the reformation, Elizabeth forced the bishops to rent some of their land to Sir Christopher Hatton, one of her courtiers. The area became known as Hatton Garden, and is famous as the centre of London's diamond and jewellery trade.
Both palace and pub were demolished in 1772, although the pub was soon re-built. A stone mitre from the palace gatehouse is built into a wall. The preserved trunk of a cherry tree in the corner of the front bar marked the boundary of the diocese and the land leased to Hatton, and legend has it that Elizabeth I danced the maypole around it.
Technically this tavern and the lands around Ely Place are in the control of the Diocese of Ely, Cambridgeshire and until the last century the pub license was issued there. Even the City police had no jurisdiction here.
Continue past the Olde Mitre and emerge in Ely Place where you will find the 13th century St. Etheldra's chapel, the oldest catholic church in Britain. It was named after a queen of East Anglia, who in the 7th century, became a nun, founded a monastery at Ely and was the first Abbess.
Note: Closed weekends and Bank Holidays Ye Olde Mitre Tavern -
I recently ventured to Hatton Garden to buy an engagement ring, it was an exciting, nerve racking day. After buying a ring that I actually couldn't afford, for some reason the saleman asked me what I was going to do now? I said I needed a pint! and he told me to come across to this place. The most surreal, exciting, memorable pint in the history of the world. (She said yes by the way)
Ye Olde Mitre TavernitsLofty,
Nice pub but beware, i went in for lunch and all that was on offer was a sausage roll, a pork pie or a toastie sandwich. Good beer and atmosphere.
Ye Olde Mitre Tavernsnapper,
described in the good beer guide as a diamond boozer. Its a little hard to find thev first time but well worth it. Landlord Scotty keeps a good pint in a well run pub. He also gets some unusual beers (for london) in.
Ye Olde Mitre TavernBernie,
I dont like talking about this pub, I don't tell my friends about it, and I only take trusted people on the proviso they don't tell anyone about it. I like knowing where it is, and don't want anyone else to know. I love this public house.
Ye Olde Mitre Tavernred_star,
I found this pub on your website & on my recent trip to London (I'm an Australian) I sought it out. I agree with your commentators: fantastic atmosphere, good beer & food; simply miles in front of the cookie cutter chain pubs in the centre of the city.
Ye Olde Mitre TavernTramline,
I believe this is the pub I visited 60+ years ago. As a toddler i was photographed in a airforce uniform. I believe the name I remember is Dunne or lambert.
Any enlightenment would be apperciated
Ye Olde Mitre TavernBrianWebb,
Any difficulty in finding this pub is part of the charm for what is a step back in time into this awesome boozer. Great atmoshere, and great Ale. It is a little bit expensive, but is still a must, if you are doing a London pub crawl.
Ye Olde Mitre Taverncgefouting,
Hi, I am secretary to a paranormal investigation group and have been asked to enquire if you would permit us to do an overnight paranormal investigation in The Mitre. If this is possible could you please let me know what dates we would be able to do this and how much you would charge. I would appreciate your reply.
Ye Olde Mitre TavernSylvia,
A friend of mine recently told me about this pub. He said he has walked passed it almost every day for 20 years on his way to and from work and never knew it was there. I'm so glad he "discovered" it. It's now one of my favorites!
Ye Olde Mitre Tavernraliegh,
Simply the best pub I've ever been in. The atmosphere is incredible. Just imagine the conversations which have taken place in the Mitre over the hundreds of years of its existence. A must visit.