Pints for a Prince and his Duchess
A good pub is hard to fine, less so in Britain, where there is a much longer (and stronger) tradition of good public houses where you can relax, enjoy a pint, have a bite to eat, and have a good natter with fellow patrons–without a waiter hovering over you with the bill. I was introduced to a wonderful little (and old) pub by a resident Londoner a few years ago and fell in love with it. It's
Ye Olde Mitre Pub, in the heart of London.
The food is basic; the hospitality, sincere and down-to-earth. Tourists do patronize the establishment, if they can find it. Ye Olde Mitre is down a rabbit's warren of back alleys and sidestreets. You could very easily miss it. But it's the ambience, and the presence of regular clientele that makes the pub so inviting.
My favourite pub in London, Ye Olde Mitre, opened in 1546. (Courtesy: Ye Olde Mitre).
Brits are loyal to their pubs, which they typically refer to, with an unabashed proprietary sense, as their "local." And that refers to all British society. This recent video,
The Beer Story: Calling time on Duty,
captures the essence of pub culture in Britain. [HTML1] So you can appreciate the regard our British friends have for truly authentic pubs – and for the people who run them. Few residents of the tiny hamlet of Standford Dingley, in Berkshire, raised an eye brow when
local resident John Haley got an invitation to the 2011 wedding of Prince William and Kate Middleton
, now Duchess of Cambridge. Mr. Haley has no peerage, he's not an aristocrat, nor is he a famous politician. For many, John Haley occupies a much more elevated position in the world: he operates the village pub in Standford Dingley long favoured by Kate Middleton's family, who live down the road in nearby Bucklebury. It's called
The Old Boot Inn,
Kate and her family have even stopped by on occasion with
HRH Prince William
Kate has the same good taste in pubs as she does in hatinators
as she so recently demonstrated). The Middleton family knows where their bread is buttered or, rather, where their pint is poured, so of course the publican was invited to the royal wedding.
The Old Boot Inn, Berkshire, popular with Kate Middleton's family. (Courtesy: BB Historic)
The menu at the Old Boot Inn includes the usual roast sirloin of beef and Yorkshire pudding, but the escalope of salmon with prawns and chive sauce looks tempting, too. With the Royal couple's third wedding anniversary coming up this spring, the pub will surely be busy again come April 29. (The Old Boot even hosted a special celebration on the night of Kate and William's wedding.) So do book now if you're planning a visit to England. For that matter, make it a point to visit on any upcoming trip.
By the way, should anyone quibble about
Prince William's choice of bride
, we know he made the right choice, as did she – in husbands and pubs. If you've got time during your travels to the UK, check out some of the
classic pubs listed on Visit Britain web site.
Have you found a favourite pub on your travels?