Walk by Clerkenwell’s Jerusalem Tavern and you’d be forgiven for thinking you were on the set of a Dickens adaptation. This evocatively decorated watering hole has occupied its Britton Street building since 1720—but was first founded in 1140 and named after the nearby Priory of St. John of Jerusalem. The tavern is the public house of the St. Peter’s Brewery, a Suffolk-based producer of real ale, which somehow qualifies it as a favourite with bearded types.
Samuel Johnson, William Hogarth and Handel all reportedly supped here in their day, which perhaps accounts for the heavy, masculine crowds that often stand in the way of littler visitors being able to reach the bar. Scrubbed wooden floors and tables, tiled walls and a claustrophobic air contribute to the bygone period feeling. If you can’t get in the first time, persevere… it’s worth it to sample the mysterious grapefruit beer.