An old brick and stone pub in the shadow of the eponymous yew tree, and incongruously situated just up the road from a giant stone-crushing plant. The unassuming exterior conceals a quite incredible collection of assorted paraphernalia assembled over the years by veteran licensee Alan East, making it as much a museum as a pub. Pride of place goes to the several working pianolas, but it also includes radios, typewriters, antique bicycles, guns and a huge variety of other items.
Behind the low, cottage-style frontage the interior is surprisingly spacious. The front left-hand room is entirely given over to part of the collection, but further back there is another room featuring fixed seating resembling old choir stalls. The heart of the pub is the main room facing the quadrant bar, with old settles, table skittles and dartboard, and further to the right is a lounge-type extension with plenty more bench seating. Dark wood and low light predominate throughout.
The beer range is sensibly limited to BUrton Bridge Bridge Bitter and Rudgate Ruby Mild as regulars, with one rotating guest, generally from local micro-breweries. There’s always a case of pork pies on the bar, and sandwiches are also available. I spotted a cooked meal being served on a Sunday lunchtime, but I’m not sure whether that’s a regular public offering.
The Yew Tree is one of Britain’s true classics and one that every lover of pubs should visit at least once during their lifetime. While obviously something of a tourist attraction, it clearly has a strong core of regulars and you’re likely to hear some good old-school pub conversation around the bar.