At Untapped Cities, we like to cover bars and restaurants that are off-the-beaten path. Interesting history, attractive design, and a convivial atmosphere make these hard-to-find places worth the search. Hidden and obscure places don’t need to be exclusive or elite, they are more like hidden gems waiting to be found. In London, mews pubs offer this in spades.
“Mews” (the word is both singular and plural) are alleys and courtyards created during pre-automobile times, when horse stables and simple housing for horse coachmen and their families were located behind the mansions and grand townhouses of the wealthy.
Since the early twentieth century, with horses gone, many mews buildings have transitioned from good housing bargains in upscale areas to upmarket real estate themselves. New York City has several mews, which we’ve covered before. But according to the encyclopedic Everchanging Mews website, London has 630 mews.
London, of course, also has thousands of pubs. Pubs, short for Public Houses, started centuries ago as places where people throughout the British Isles gathered for meetings, gossip, and pints of ale. They still serve this function today, with food options of increasing importance.
Given these numbers, it is not surprising that there are a number of pubs located on mews. The special quality of a London mews pub seems to be that it offers the charm and slower pace more associated with pubs in the countryside, but with the convenience of being in a great metropolis and accessible from public transport.
So, following in the footsteps of our previous forays to New York’s hidden bars and restaurants, come with us on a journey to ten mews pubs. For each location, we included the address and London postcode (equivalent to U.S. zip code, which is a helpful way to navigate a city that lacks the familiar grid of American cities). We’ve also listed a nearby London Underground “tube” station. Cheers!
As with most of the mews pubs on our list, the Mitre, located in the Bayswater neighborhood, dates from the nineteenth century, in this case the 1850s. It is located at the entrance to Lancaster Mews, which retains a high proportion of its original buildings, according to Everchanging Mews.
In the U.K. many pubs are owned by or affiliated with a certain brewery or pub company. The Mitre is a Young’s pub. Although ownership of the pub company is now separate from the Wells & Young’s brewery, the Mitre still serves Young’s beers including pale ales, ESBs, and stouts, as well as craft beers from other companies such as the U.S. brand Dogfish Head.
Besides the ground floor pub, in the basement there is Old Mary’s, a speakeasy with cocktails and craft beer available. Or, if you want to take your order on the go to nearby Kensington Gardens, the Mitre also offers picnic deals with beer or wine.
The Mitre, 24 Craven Terrace (corner of Lancaster Mews), London, W2. Tube: Lancaster Gate