Londonist asks that most pressing of daily concerns: where to go on your lunch break.
55 Britton Street EC1M 5UQ
Nearest Tube: Farringdon
0207 490 4281
11:00am - 11:00pm (Monday – Friday)
Expect to Pay: around £7 for food, around £3 for most pints
Rating: 9.5 out of 10As one beerintheevening reviewer put it, “The only downside to this pub is that it is closed at weekends.” Londonist would like to add another complaint: it is virtually impossible to eek out standing room (even outside) on a Friday night at this most beloved of London’s ancient pubs. However, swing by at lunchtime on a sunny Tuesday and the Jerusalem Tavern is the epitome of rustic solitude. And being that Tuesdays at the Jerusalem are “Sausage Tuesdays” there’s hardly a better place to be.
Named after the Priory of St. John of Jerusalem (founded in 1140), the Jerusalem Tavern has “occupied several sites” near the Priory’s location in Clerkenwell since the 14th century. For the past few hundred years, it’s been at 55 Britton Street in a building originally used as a merchant’s house and then as a clockmakers workshop. Although, the “convincing” interior only dates back to the 1990s, according to Stonch’s Beer Blog, “you'd be forgiven for thinking … [it] hadn't changed since Dr. Johnson's day.” Yes, Samuel Johnson (as well as Hogarth and a slue of other notables) have called this pub their local. And, considering this St Peter’s Brewery-owned pub offers the entire range of St Peter's beers, it’s a brilliant choice for modern day imbibers as well.
And they do lunch. A quite tasty lunch for that matter, especially on Sausage Tuesdays when diners can choose from a range of sausages (including vegetarian), mash, and gravies. We fully enjoyed the Cumberland sausage with spring onion mash and gravy for £5.50 accompanied by a superbly mellow pint of St Peter’s Golden Ale draft for under £3. Of course, even if the food were rubbish, the beer’s brilliant and the (dare we say) “Dickensian” atmosphere makes this pub all the more precious amid a sea of Wetherspoon’s contemporaries.
Good food at sensible prices, decent and friendly service, and an evocative ambience that’s increasingly more difficult to find: lunch could be a lot worse.
Photography by Chris Osburn © 2007