Ye Olde Mitre
There are few secrets left in terms of London’s bars. Keeping one might be easier with the protection of a private road. Ely Place is one such gated lane (under the watchful eye of a top-hatted sentry guard, no less), built in 1772 to keep Londoners out of the pretty pocket of land around Ely Palace, the London residence of the Bishops of Ely. Now it simply serves to keep the roar of London to a distant hum when visiting Ye Olde Mitre (and it really is old; its first incarnation opened here in 1546, to quench the servants of the palace). Enveloped in ivy, with antique beer barrels for outside seating, this quaint wooden warren is a step back in time: no music, no TV, just dominos and cribbage, real ales and real cider; food is vintage tavern tucker – pork pies, scotch eggs, sausage rolls and toasties. Look out for the diamond dealers from nearby Hatton Gardens who come for a quiet pint post-diamond-peddling and who are known for carrying their sparklers around in attention-deflecting plastic bags – no wonder they like Ye Olde Mitre.