Whitefriars Olde Ale House
114-115 Gosford Street
0247 625 1655.
Open all day
Whitefriars Olde Ale House
This is probably one of the best pubs in Coventry, serving up to 6 guest ales at a time.
The building really does date from the middle ages and the slopes and low ceilings all lend it an air of a building forgotten by the town planners - thankfully.
There are a number of small rooms throughout the length of the pub and the bar unusually round a corner half way down the pub, so you'd be forgiven for thinking there was nowhere to get served at first.
Also good is that the pub is a well kept secret and so it is never too busy or too full to make you turn round and walk out. For the winter there are log fires and the summer has a rather nice beer garden with someone taking a keen interest in the flowers.
Access for the disabled is possible as there is a toilet, but remember this building was put up before anyone thought of people not being fully mobile. The slopes and ramps may prove difficult.
Music is also played here on Sundays and is varied but usually interesting.
Food is served here, but only lunch times (12-2) including Sunday.
These buildings are two of the few surviving medieval timber framed structure which once crowded the ancient City of Coventry. They are sited on the South side of Gosford Street which together with Spon Street once formed the main East West thoroughfare of the City, linking Birmingham and Leicester. Many travellers passed along this way, evidenced by the large number of Inns and Hostelries which once stood along this route to cater for their needs.
They stand within what was once the Precinct boundary of the Carmelite Friary, founded in 1342 - now known as Whitefriars - and adjacent to a cobbled road, Whitefriars Lane, which once led to it.
Though much altered over the years, the earliest surviving parts of this building date from the 14th C, and are therefore contemporary with the Friary. All that remains of the original purlin roof is the small block of wood located above the collar beam in the gable end truss with many of the rafters in this bay all these members are smoke blackened, indicating that this structure was once the Hall, open from the ground to roof with a hearth in the centre. The first floor structure, side purlins and chimney breasts were introduced in the 16th C, when standards of comfort had improved. The large stone fire places are themselves a rare survival, that to the ground floor only being discovered during building works. It is now to be restored.
To the rear and set at right angles was a single bay service range. Largely rebuilt, but on the original Plan in the 18th C, the roof structure has now been reinstated. This was linked to the Hall by an area which now contains the stairs. Though badly fire damaged this area has now been fully restored including a 16th C, window found in the debris.
This building is indeed curious and unique. It is not a timber framed building in the true sense i.e. an independent structure. Rather it is a collection of second hand timbers re-used and gaining support from both 115 and the remains of a substantial gable end frame which once belonged to the building next door. There is none of the evidence of medieval craftsmanship which is exhibited in 115. Either this is a do-it-yourself rebuild of an earlier structure, possibly destroyed by fire or a makeshift temporary building which has far outlasted the expectations of its builder. Whatever its origin every effort has been made to preserve it intact with its intrigue for future generations.
The two buildings have long been combined into a single use as a Butchers Shop from 1850 until its closure in 1976. Poorly maintained and fire damaged, their future had become perilous, the structure was weak and had collapsed in several places. Michael and Yvonne Luke took over the premises in May and have painstakingly refurbished and renovated the building to as near as original as possible. The premises reopened as Whitefriars Olde Ale House on 13th December 2000, and hope that one and all will come and enjoy part of Coventry's Heritage once more.
None as yet.
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Up to 6 guest ales all week.
Menzies Leofric Hotel
Coventry, CV1 1LZ
0247 622 1371