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Cittie of Yorke, WC1

22 High Holborn
Phone: 02072427670

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Reviews (Current Rating Average: 7 of 10) Add Review see review guidelines

Quinno _ left this review about Cittie of Yorke

9 years since my last visit and of course no changes as it’s a Sam’s house, so the Medieval baronial dining hall vibe remains. Was fortunate to time our visit just after the lunchtime crowd which meant we almost had the run of the pub, one group of students and some stragglers from the courts notwithstanding, which meant we could get a seat in one of the booths and enjoy the atmosphere. Looked like the entire available draft range (for the South anyway – Sam’s mild is only served Oop Nuurf). I had an OBB which wasn’t one of the better examples as it was a bit warm which accentuates the tannin tang in a less-than-pleasant manner (NBSS 2). Also tried the Sam's Brown ale, a new one on me, which is close to zero alcohol; it was decent, actually. Shame about the OBB tainting an otherwise enjoyable visit to this unique place. 7.5

October 2010
Built in 1923, this is another Sam Smith’s beauty with a wonderful interior (holding a place in CAMRA's list of Historic Pub Interiors) and the exterior isn’t too shabby either (look out for the jumbo cuboid clock over hanging the pavement). The main bar is well described below as a ‘baronial hall layout’; high ceilings, dark wood panelled walls and ornately carved booths along the side. Huge old beer (or are they whisky?) barrels above the bar add to the effect. There are also little-used front and cellar bars. Customers are usually lawyers from the local chambers, coppers and a few tourists. The drinks are Sam Smiths – so your choice whether to drink any or hit the lemonade. The fridge is usually well-stocked with their bottled products so there is a decent element of choice. OBB is available as a token ale. The toilets have had an overhaul recently, probably the first money spent upgrading anything in here for 15-odd years. It’s worth a visit simply for the architecture, if nothing else. Rated 7

On 20th December 2019 - rating: 7
[User has posted 3997 recommendations about 3985 pubs]

hondo . left this review about Cittie of Yorke

Sam Smith's pub with a mock tudor style interior. The main bar has a vaulted ceiling and little snugs down one side. Interesting fire as well

On 8th October 2019 - no rating submitted
[User has posted 2700 recommendations about 2644 pubs]

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Brainy Pool left this review about Cittie Of Yorke

is this the closest thing to a ‘Sam Smiths drinking barn’? certainly I don’t think Humphrey would be too happy if he paid a visit here. It has a cocktail menu (!) and is almost Wetherspoons like in atmosphere, though olde worlde enough. A long thin pub with plenty of cosy booths but it didn’t quite feel as wondrous as other SS pubs in the vicinity.

On 14th May 2019 - rating: 8
[User has posted 772 recommendations about 753 pubs]

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Tris C left this review about Cittie Of Yorke

Apparently, there has been a pub of some sort on this site since 1430, but I can’t find record of one in the last 200 years. The Cittie of Yorke supposedly harks back to the reign of Henry VI, though this pub started life as a branch of Heneky’s wine bars when it was built during the reign of George V, around 1923.
I first started coming here when I was a law student. The legal premises are no longer here, so now it’s unlikely to be a student hangout. It was certainly a place where qualified barristers would chat up female students, probably offering the chance of pupillage, possibly in exchange for…
A return visit after 21 years and the carpeted front bar seems unchanged, though we rarely ventured in there. The only obvious alteration is that the floor is now wooden, no longer paved with flagstones which maybe were less glass-friendly. Perhaps it was a question of Health & Safety (or fafety as it would have been written in Plantagenet England)? The cavernous beamed interior remains, looking for all the world like some mediaeval baronial dining hall, especially with the enormous vats above the bar; all that’s missing to complete the illusion is a harlequined jester gambolling with an inflated pig’s bladder on a stick and a live lute band to accompany the court masque. There is a fantastic triangular island stove which, according to CAMRA, could be Napoleonic. Then there are the side stalls of course, looking for all the world like jumbo confessional boxes though that would be unlikely as Henry VIII would have destroyed them during the Reformation; getting in early doors to bag one is a good tip.
An extraordinary number of customers in here were clearly from south-east Asia, drawn to the authentic tableau of Merry England, made all the more complete for want of Wi-Fi.
Ales: Old Brewery on cask at £1.60 a half.
This place is ok for a while, but the novelty wears thin, all the more quickly due to the lack of ale choice. If drinkers want a slightly more authentic period experience, the Olde Mitre isn’t far from here. Again, like the Princess Louise, I’d bring a friend here who’d never been, but I wouldn’t stay for long.

On 24th February 2018 - rating: 6
[User has posted 967 recommendations about 952 pubs]

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Will Larter left this review about Cittie Of Yorke

This remarkable and impressive building has been well described by Blackthorn below. It features on Camra's National Inventory; those interested can read more about this by clicking the What Pub link below. The outstanding feature is the high ceilinged hall, with seating in booths opposite the bar - looking remarkably like an old compartmentalised railway carriage. The Sam Smiths Old Brewery Bitter was in good condition and not as cold as it can be in most Sam's pubs (hope that doesn't elicit a telling off for the manager from Humphrey if he reads this).

Date of visit: 21st November 2017

On 10th January 2018 - rating: 7
[User has posted 2641 recommendations about 2490 pubs]

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Blackthorn _ left this review about Cittie Of Yorke

An attractive, but perhaps a little unassuming from the outside, this pub certainly lulls you in to a false sense of security. Approaching from the street, you enter down a passageway with a cellar bar off to your left, although this was unfortunately closed on our visit. Beyond this, it opens up in to quite a splendid high ceilinged room, almost like some sort of old castle’s dining room.

As you enter, the bar counter runs on the left hand side, and racked up above this are some massive old barrels that were presumably used for brewing at one time. A notice did say that this is the only London pub that serves cask ale from wooden barrels, but going on the size of them I can’t imagine that these are anything other than decorative. Opposite the bar counter is a line of booths for more private seating. These were quite enclosed, other than the entrance doorway and seated about four to six people. A very unusual feature and it was a shame that they were all in use when we visited. Beyond this the pub narrows a little and there were a few more booths down here, one of which housed a darts board. There was a very high and impressive arched ceiling with some stained glass at the far end which included the brewer’s logo. The flooring was wood strip and there was much wood panelling on the walls as well.

Being a Sam Smith’s pub, the only real ale on was their Old Brewery Bitter, although to be fair this seemed to be a pretty decent pint. The solitary cider was also their own. All in all, a “must visit” pub for the architecture, if not the beer selection.

On 7th April 2017 - rating: 8
[User has posted 1749 recommendations about 1684 pubs]

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Real Ale Ray left this review about Cittie Of Yorke

Features in Camra's National Inventory of Historic Pub Interiors. If you like an impressive pub interior, then the Cittie of York is well worth a visit. The pub has the feel of entering a large medieval banqueting hall, especially when you visit early doors, as we did and were able to appreciate the splendour of the large oak trussed roof void. The cellar bar is open Tues-Fri eves only. I went for the Sam Smiths Alpine lager, which was excellent.

On 5th January 2014 - rating: 8
[User has posted 2976 recommendations about 2976 pubs]

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Gill Smith left this review about Cittie Of Yorke

One of the pubs we visited yesterday from the book of historic interiors, and our second Sam Smith's pub. As we had sampled their Old Brewery Bitter earlier, we decided on trying a couple of their bottled beers, and although they were probably the best beer of the day, I was astounded by the price of £11.00!! No price on the beer leaflet so I paid up. The beers were in 550cl bottles and both were superb. Sam Smith's Pale Ale 5% and Sam Smith's Nut Brown Ale 5%. The interior well described below. Ground floor toilets.

On 16th November 2013 - rating: 6
[User has posted 1306 recommendations about 1196 pubs]

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Malden man left this review about Cittie Of Yorke

Definitely worth a visit for the spectacular interior if not for the Sam Smiths OBB, although at least you get the handpulled version in here. The stone flagged corridor entrance has a decorative ceiling featuring the white rose of Yorkshire, the side door leading into a carpeted wood panelled front room with a few Chesterfield type sofas, feels a bit like a drawing room really. On the walls are a series of portraits of eminent erstwhile Holborn residents such as Sir Thomas More, Francis Bacon, Charles Dickens et al. The pub's main room though is to the rear, a long bar runs along the side wall opposite which are a series of small booths seating fours. More booths run along the opposite wall once the bar stops, the last one housing a dartboard. If you look up you see a huge open beamed vaulted roof, some stained glass and the series of huge vats and casks above the bar top. The floor is boarded, décor includes several legal related cartoons and caricatures. One unusual feature is the triangular flat topped fireplace/heater which stands on the pub floor, how this operates I'm not sure as there is no flue. The carved bar back centrepiece features a clock and has several pewter tankards hanging on hooks. Huge globe lights gently illuminate the space and provide some atmosphere.
As said, not one to aim for to sample the ales but a must visit to see the fine interior.

On 15th September 2013 - rating: 7
[User has posted 1687 recommendations about 1663 pubs]

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Just a quick pint, then I'm off left this review about Cittie Of Yorke

Some time since my last visit, but - apart from the steep increase in prices - nothing seems to have changed (which is just as it should be for a Sam Smith's pub). The main bar can seem a bit cavernous when it's not crowded (however this is not usually a problem in the early evening!), but it's worth a visit at any time just to look at the interior.

On 8th April 2012 - rating: 8
[User has posted 6109 recommendations about 6109 pubs]

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