22 High Holborn, (opp Southampton Buildings), London, WC1V 6BN, United Kingdom
Tel: +44 (0)20 7242 7670
Website: Not supplied
Hours: Mon-Sat noon-11pm, Sun closed
Door: Open door
Style: Pub traditional
Recommended for: Historic interest
Price guide: Value
Food: Full menu
Owned by: Samuel Smith
The Cittie Of Yorke's mock Tudor façade and the church-like great hall of the main bar justify its grade II protected status. A pub has stood here since 1430 but surprisingly what stands today dates from the 1890s and was largely rebuilt in 1923-4. The 'Cittie of Yorke' name is even more recent, dating from 1979 when the pub was incorporated into the Sam Smiths Brewery's estate.
A long flagstone floored entrance hallway leads first to a panelled dining room and another to the Cellar Bar, the brickwork of which is from the previous building. The splendid main bar lies at the very back of the building resembling the great hall of a medieval manor rising to a soaring trussed roof and high Gothic windows. Along one wall is the famous long bar, above it huge iron-hooped wine butts sit on a stout timber gallery supported by fluted iron pillars. Seven small Victorian-style cubicles (carrels) line the facing wall, a table and four chairs in each. They fill up fast but there are three more at the very end of the bar. A Regency era triangular metal stove stands opposite the bar, its flue cleverly conceded under the floor and behind the wall.
We suspect the hordes of students, lawyers and city types are more attracted by the cheapness of the Sam Smiths beers than The Cittie Of Yorke's architectural splendour. The extensive food menu is stereotypical pub with the likes of 'scampi & chips', 'burger' and 'steak & ale pie' - none of which will excite foodies, but like the drinks the food is cheap.