We're less than sure what we'll encounter once we descend the candle lit corridor and navigate a narrow passage to initiate one of the most unusual pubs London provides. A curious mix of old meets new and vintage meets modern, step inside The Cittie of Yorke and you will be greeted by intimate booths, barrels over the bar- which happens to be the longest bar in Britain- plus some from the best-priced beer that Zone One has to offer…
Set across two levels (one at basement and one at ground level), you’d be forgiven for believing that this ye olde pub finds its roots in centuries past. Even though this really is partially correct, the reality is a bit more nuanced. In the end, while a medieval pub did exist on the website in which the Cittie of York is now to be found, the actual building is much more Edwardian than other things.
A history of the Cittie of Yorke
Though the Cittie of Yorke looks old, this is really not the case and the faux-historic theme is one that's carried on through the entirety from the drinking establishment. Even though there's likely been a pub in situ since the 15th-century, your building the thing is today was built throughout the 1920s using areas of the older buildings.
The resulting inn has become a semi-authentic historic pub with oodles of charm and ever-s0-much character. Highlights of the pub include the Henekey’s long bar, which is the longest pub in England and it is so famous that Welsh Poet Dylan Thomas is alleged to wrote a poem named for that bar, as well as several Victorian wooden cubicles.
How to go to the Cittie of Yorke Pub in London
Located within the Holborn district based in london, near to the likes of the Sir John Soane Museum (my all-time favourite cultural space the united kingdom capital provides) and Holborn tube station, you’d be forgiven for missing the slightly hidden entryway to the Cittie tavern.
After all, the point that truly distinguishes this otherwise Holborn facade in the rest of the street (should you miss the mock Tudor facade) is really a swinging copper sign signifying that you're indeed within the right place. Somewhere, three towers are depicted, while the other side of the shiny plaque says ‘the oldest brewery in Yorkshire’.
As a little aside, the history of pub signs in the united kingdom is really a fascinating one dating back to close to a thousand years. One particularly interesting law (which is still technically legal) dates all the way to the 14th-century and denotes that, legally, places that sell ale must hang a sign above their doorway so that ale inspectors might easily establish and check up on the quality of the beer…
Wander in to the depths of the pub during opening hours and wander down the long and narrow corridor right until the end. From there, you’ll follow the passageway to the left, where the corridor opens up into a wide expansive room. To the left, an extended and glittering bar stretches in to the expanse of the room, while 1,000-gallon wine vats sit over the bar.
To the right-hand side of the room, small confessional like booths were constructed so that lawyers from the nearby area could chat in private with their clients. Today, these panelled rooms are adorned with small prints from Vanity Fair and are a romantic setting for a date or catch up with friends.
One floor down, and also the basement area is just as quirky because the bar above, with ‘IN VINO VERITAS’ (the Latin words for ‘in wine, there’s truth’) signalling the doorway into the area. Quiet, calm, and secluded, you may well need to remember that you’re still in London, let alone along one of the busiest streets in the lively Holborn district!
Things to understand before visiting the Cittie of Yorke
Today, the Samuel Smith pub serves pints at a cost you’d be hard-pressed to conquer in many of central London. Despite the fact that this little drinking establishment is a touch harder to find than most, this local’s haunt can get surprisingly busy. This is especially true on Thursday evenings, as well as the weekends when London dwellers disappointed their head of hair and go out for any pint with friends!
As such, if you’re planning to visit with a larger group of people, then you may well be thinking about booking ahead of time. Though the pub is better known for its choice of beverages (mainly beers and ales), there’s also a quantity of foods around the menu for if you’re searching for lunch or just a light snack.
Unlike another London pubs, the meals to be found at Cittie of Yorke isn’t unusual or quirky and it is instead the kind of tavern fare that you’d locate fairly easily across most UK pubs; think soups, sandwiches, pies, lasagne etc. There's also several gluten-free and vegetarian choices on offer.
The pub is open from Monday through to Saturday, though it’s closed on Sundays. The nearest tube station is Chancery Lane. Popular with lawyers, students, and bankers alike, visit at a moment and you’re certain to find a real cross-section of local Londoners…