After handing in one of my essays at SOAS, I had a wander for chips which turned into a wander for a pub.
As things do.
So, I found myself on New Oxford Street, and in The Old Crown Public House, a very stylish and cool pub that seems to target stylish and cool people, and whomever else happens to turn up. I read the menu posted outside on the wall, and was drawn in on the idea of a burger.
I don’t know if you can tell, but I like burgers.
It was a slowish time for The Old Crown, for it was the afternoon on a Monday. The young woman behind the bar was really nice, and seemed to sort of encourage for me to sit down and order at my table, as opposed to ordering at the bar like a regular pub. The bartender also didn’t ring up my order right away, which made The Old Crown more like a sit-down restaurant rather than a conventional pub.
My beer, a pint of Shepherd Neame Spitfire Ale, was brought to my table. I’ve had Spitfire Ale before, and it’s okay, but after this experience with it at The Old Crown, I don’t think I really care to order it again. It’s one of the ales that I like to drink up until about midway through, then I find it difficult to finish as the beer starts to warm up and I begin to tire of the taste.
The Spitfire pint was £3.40.
I drank my pint as I waited for my burger and watched people come in and ask for directions. This is Bloomsbury, after all, and lost tourists are a frequent sight. Outside, I saw troops of teenagers, likely on a class trip, pass by the pub as they gabbed to each other, or as they tried to look cool despite being in the midst of a sea of their peers.
The vegetarian burger I ordered from The Old Crown did not disappoint. It was delicious, and I especially loved the tiny pickles (or gherkins, as people call them here) in the burger. The veggie burger was £8.50.
After looking at the other menu options, there are quite a few vegetarian choices that seem to hold potential for deliciousness, like the whole baked camembert and the falafel dish.
The Old Crown Public House stays open until 2 am on Thursdays, 3 am on Fridays and Saturdays, and I imagine it can get pretty packed as the weekend comes roaring. Since I went when it was quite slow, I wonder if my opinion of the place would change if I went while it was packed. How busy a place is definitely has an impact on a customer’s experience. There have been quite a few times where I’ve gone into a pub I normally like and then wished I would have gone somewhere else because of the amount of people. Sometimes, it isn’t so much the number of people as much as the kind of people who are at the pub you are in.
This ties into something from my Anthropology of Urban Space, Place and Architecture course, about how the same place can change depending on the time of day or week. Pub and bar-goers and workers know this well. I commented on this phenomenon on a post on The 29 Project, Changing with the Hours: The 29 and Time. It’s a change evident in pubs, and I think it’s quite an interesting one that really illustrates how a space can change depending on what time of day it is.
(Yeah, I’m a dork….)
Anyway, I liked my time at The Old Crown. It was nice, and the staff were quite friendly, although I only interacted with one of them. There’s an upstairs area I didn’t explore when I visited, but from what I saw on their website, it looks to be quite nice–a continuation of their decor featured on the ground floor. Yeah, there are cheaper places to drink in Bloomsbury, but if you want to knock back a pint in tasteful surroundings, consider The Old Crown.
You’ll look cool even if you’re just going in to ask where the British Museum is.