On Sunday I was wandering around Covent Garden with friends and we found ourselves in Holborn. There is only one pub I know there and they are usually closed on Sundays but we tried anyway and– wonders– The Ship Tavern is now open on Sundays. This tiny back street pub is over 400 years old, but it’s not resting on its history or pandering to tourists (even though it seems to be featured on a “Haunted London” walk– I’ve never seen a ghost there, or a throng of tourists for that matter, but apparently during the reign of Henry VIII it was a place where clandestine Catholic mass was held. Some of the priests were found and executed in the tavern).
The people working the bar there are always friendly. Sunday they had on four real ales which the landlord offered for us to try. I fell or the Everards Sunchaser– very light and delicately hoppy, served a little cooler than cellar temperature, it was perfect for the rather hot day, as was the dark, cool pub which was lit with candles. We sat in a both that was stocked with lovely old books. The place was quiet, just my friends and two deaf women signing to each other. On the stereo Nina Simone and Dawn Penn made it feel like a home-away-from-home.