The quality of stubbornness is not always given an easy ride. It’s associated with miserable old curmudgeons, foolhardy military leaders who’ve managed to get loads of people killed to prove a point and more prominently in the modern world; union leaders. Stubbornness can however be a good thing and in the context of pubs I think more often than not it is a marvellous trait. Ye Olde Mitre is one of those pubs which is quite proudly giving the finger to the modern world and doing it with style.
No chips, no music, no nonsense. Whilst a glut of London pubs take massive amounts of pride in serving skin on, twice cooked, goblin tickled, sweet potato, rosemary sprinkled chips you’ll get none of that here. Staunch in the face of this nonsensical faffy bar snackery Ye Olde Mitre has a snack menu which would bring a proud tear to the eye of any pub traditionalist or standard Yorkshireman. Here we find sausages, pickled eggs, toasties and pork pies at a maximum cost of two English pounds.
Beer options too are remaining stubborn in the face of ‘progress’. For once proper beer dominates the pumps and has conceded only minimal ground to the onslaught of the ‘supermarket lagers’. It’s hardly surprising that one of the two front doors (layout is a weak spot but we’ll get onto that) is head to toe in good beer guide awards given at any one time there are seven different ales for your delectation.
Ye Olde Mitre also seemed to be refusing to look like a modern pub. Old branded whiskey jugs hang from the ceiling like mad ceramic coconuts, the carpet appears to have been stolen from the Rovers Return circa 1976 and almost everything in sight is made out of well aged wood. After glugging back half a pint you can easily forget that you’re in one of the worlds most ludicrously busy cities and are in fact now in a quiet country pub; maybe relaxing after misdirecting a Land Rover full of yuppies into a reservoir or murdering some foxes/badgers.
Even in it’s very construction Ye Olde Mitre seems to have decided to say sod off to normality, sense and progress. Why shouldn’t the main bar room be split in two by the bar itself so you have to go outside to swap? Why can’t the gents be outside and around the back? Who says we can’t put the ladies on the roof and make it so if they’re sitting in the front of the pub they need to go outside and up some stairs in order to make toilet? Fill your boots if you want to have ‘convenient’ facilities where you don’t get cold and wet on your way for a slash in your pub Ye Olde Mitre is having none of it.
This stoic and staunch little pub is a rare breed. Successfully parking itself right in the onslaught of generic rubbish and tasteless fizzy brown water and refusing to do anything other than what it has done so well for nigh on 500 years. I’d go so far as to say this is the quintessential London pub and is about as close to flawless as you can get. Here’s to stubborn.