The Jerusalem Tavern in Clerkenwell, one of London’s best pubs, having been owned and operated by Suffolk-based St Peter’s Brewery since 1996.
A spokesperson told Eater London that the brewery decided not to renew the lease on its only tap room, the location at 55 Britton Street in Clerkenwell, as of the 23 February 2022. The spokesperson added that the pub would reopen under new management at the end of next week but as the renamed Holy Tavern. While the Jerusalem Tavern served beers exclusively from the St Peter’s brewery, the new venue will serve a range of different beers, including some of those from the former owner.
The Jerusalem Tavern is a historic London venue. which according to the beer blogger Martyn Cornell, only became a licensed premises when St Peter’s Brewery took over the lease from landlord Julian Humphreys.
In 1992 [the pub] was bought by a man called Julian Humphreys, who redesigned the ground floor as a recreation of an 18th century coffee house, installing the panelling, the pews, the Delft tiles and the scrubbed floor we see today. The premises ran from January 1995 to August 1996, under the name The Jerusalem Coffee House, a nod to local history, after which Humphreys leased it to the newly opened St Peter’s Brewery of Bungay in Suffolk for 25 year[s]
It was then, in 1996, that the venue became known as the Jerusalem Tavern, the pub that would become one of London’s best and most renowned. The building was originally built in 1720 and went through various iterations through the centuries, originally belonging to the nearby Priory of St John.
“Around 1810 a shop front was inserted into the façade of Number 55, and the premises became a watchmaker’s: Clerkenwell was a centre of watchmaking from around or before the start of the 18th century, and there were several watchmakers in the street,” Cornell’s blog states. “Over the years Number 55 has had a variety of occupants: from 1952 it was the headquarters of a book publishing company, Burke & Co, and in the 1980s it was used as an architect’s offices by a man called Oliver Bland.”
Having been ordered by the government to close down in March 2020, the pub reopened in July of that year, when restrictions on hospitality venues had been lifted. The brewery published a blog to announce its reopening. “Adjusting to post-lockdown life,” like so many other venues, it stated: “To keep our staff and customers safe, the Jerusalem Tavern is currently take away only and is operating at reduced opening times. Don’t worry though, despite these difficult times, it hasn’t lost its charm and still offers the perfect little snapshot of Suffolk in central London.”