The old Bible quote about “more joy in heaven over one lost sinner who repents…” could just as easily be applied to old, much-loved pubs that reopen. I’m happier about the White Hart in Hull serving pints again than I could ever be about any new pub anywhere.
The White Hart first opened its doors in 1904 and, up until a few years ago, was one of the few fantastic Old Town pubs to survive the Second World War. A favourite of Larkin, it is known by many as the “last pub before Spiders” as indie kids used to gather there before crossing the river to the legendary club.
It fell foul of the millennium move to Prinny Avenue, though, when the city’s drinkers forsook the town centre to start drinking down the Avenues. It became sad and unprofitable before calling it a day.
Recently, though, the owners of the Crafty Little micro-brewery in Brough have taken on the lease and, after some (mainly) sympathetic renovation, have turned the White Hart into a craft beer pub. Patrons already have a dozen real ales to choose from and burgers and snacks will soon be added to the offering.
There are nods to modernity – a big telly, shuffle boards and a little too much black paint on the woodwork for my liking – but it is to their eternal credit that they have restored the magnificent bar. One of only 11 surviving ceramic bars in the whole country (Hull has another in the Polar Bear), it is a wonderful example of its type and a joy to lift a pint off.
The White Hart, 109 Alfred Gelder Street, Hull HU1 1HB. thewhiteharthull.com