The copper sign swinging over pedestrians on High Holborn speaks of ‘beer brewed at Yorkshire’s oldest brewery’; the sign just out from a mock-Tudor façade above reads ‘established on the site of a public house in 1430’.
So far, so faux, but the interior is authentically dingy, wobbly and warren-like, the kind of place in which to film a period drama. The main room is lined with conspiratorial dark wood alcoves, with old barrels over the long bar and framed portraits from Vanity Fair c.1870. Bright labels advertising beers and ales from the Sam Smith’s stable bring some colour to the brown tableau, a counter of taps (Alpine Lager, Pure Brewed Lager, Old Brewery Bitter) abutted by a food display (steak and ale pie, beef suet pudding). A cellar bar embellished with mounted caricatures and a smaller bar by the main door both offer intimacy.