“ Great Victoria Street, Belfast. „
This review is of the Crown Liquor Saloon, a public house in Belfast, Northern Ireland. The pub is a Victorian bar, which has fine decoration and is situated at 46 Great Victoria Street.
The first visual impressions of this bar are that it is simply amazing, beautiful decorations wherever you look, whether it's the bar, the back bar, the floor or the ceiling. It is a very traditional pub, built in Victorian times, and with Victorian decoration all around. The history of the building can't really be under-stated, and it is a Grade A listed building which is owned by the National Trust.
The pub layout isn't what you would usually expect, although it's a traditional Victorian set-up. There are ten snugs, or booths, which you can go in and shut yourselves off from the rest of the pub. Originally the booths were often used by those who didn't want to be seen in an establishment such as a pub, and wanted a drink in quiet and could then sneak out again.
In these booths are bells where you can summon bar staff, although they only respond at lunch-times, and original striking plates for matches. My favourite is situated near the main door, tucked away in the corner, and is a great meeting place for groups and wonderfully secluded.
The pub is both a locals pub and a tourist pub, but it can be just too busy. The booths often fill up quickly and although you can sit at the bar for a drink, if you're in a group, it's often difficult to either find seats or enough a place to stand which isn't in the way. A busy pub isn't necessarily a problem, but remember to get there early, or go at a quiet time if you want to really investigate the decoration in the pub.
I didn't have food in the pub, but the prices seemed quite reasonable and the portions on the plates going by seemed very reasonable. Meals include traditional favourites such as fish and chips, burgers, sausage and mash and so on. Expect to pay around eight to ten pounds for each main course. The bar doesn't have bar snacks other than hot nuts from a machine, which seemed a little strange as numerous customers asked for snacks when I've been sitting at the bar.
In terms of cleanliness, the pub was fine, it was clean throughout, and the toilets were in a reasonable state of repair, although not quite as decorative as I had expected given other parts of the pub. Bar service was quick and prompt, and it was nice to see that the Guinness was both perfectly poured and had a shamrock poured into the top. The range of drinks was good, and the quality of the Guinness superb.
There was one complaint I could raise, the prices were a little above average for Belfast pubs (expect to pay around 3.80 pounds for a Guinness), which I fully understand in a venue such as this, but the price of the two rounds for the same product, served by the same barman, was over one pound different, so something has gone wrong with the way they charge. Many other pubs in Belfast give a receipt with the drinks so you can check the barman hasn't made a mistake, and this would have be helpful here.
If you want more information about the pub, you can visit the web-site at http://www.crownbar.com/.
In summary, this was a great pub to visit, and if you're visiting Belfast it's a wonderful place to come if you like both history and pubs, as I do! The pub can get busy, so arrive early if you want to look closely at the building, but even when busy, it has a great personality with a mix of locals and visitors. The National Trust have spent hundreds of thousands on this building, and it appears to have been well worth it, a definite place to visit at least once.
Crown Liquor Salon Belfast
Belfast as a city has a very long an interesting past. Many interesting events in Irish history have played out in the bars and pub in Belfast. For instance it was in the pubs of Belfast that Wolfe Tone and Henry Joy Mc Cracken planned and organised the United Irishman rebellion of 1798. Belfast a whole host of old and interesting bars dotted in and around the city centre and many of them have done a great job of preserving their links with the past. It's easy to get a real sense of the history of Belfast by stepping into one of its old taverns. By far one of its most impressive is the Crown Liquor Salon which is probably the best example of a Victorian Gin palace in the world.
The Crown Liquor Salon is located in Great Victoria Street on what is called the Golden Mile. It's called the Golden Mile because it is one of the busiest areas in Belfast in terms of pubs and restaurants. The Crown is located at number 46 and is opposite the entrance/exit of Great Victoria railway station and the Europa Hotel.
History of the Crown
The pub was built in the 1800s. It is famous for its 10 booths which offered more discerning patrons a private area to drink and socialise. The crown has a lot of elaborate tiling, stained glass and skilled woodwork which was originally done by Italian craftsmen in the 1800s. The Italians were persuaded no doubt by free booze to work on the pub after they finished there main task which was to build churches Belfast.
The pub was bought by the national trust in 1978 and has had extensive refurbishment work done to it. The most recent refurbishment was carried out in 2007 when a sum of £500,000 was spent to bring it back to its former glory.
The pub is located opposite the Europa hotel which ironically is proud to hold the title of being the most bombed hotel in the world. Fortunately those days are behind us but giving the close proximity of the Crown Bar it would be safe to say it's bound to be in the running for one of the most bombed pubs in Belfast.
This is a great pub in the heart of Belfast city centre. It's pretty much always busy but it attracts a really good mix of both locals and tourists who get along very well together. I have never seen or encountered any trouble in this pub and found the staff to be friendly and efficient. The booths are very hard to get and even if you do get one it does not guarantee that you will get to keep it yourself. But this all part of the atmosphere and gets you talking to new people.
The interior is fantastic and its very easy to imagine that your actually sitting back in the 18th century. The prices are reasonable with and inline with the normal pub price in Belfast of around £3 for a pint. (half the price of a pint in Dublin). The pub does not play any music and does not have televisions in every nook and cranny but if you want that you can just pop next door. All in all this is a really interesting pub and I would highly recommend it to any visitor or local who has not tried it before.
My husband and I read about the Crown Bar in a travel guide (we're from Canada) and when we got to Belfast it was one of the first places we visited. The bar itself is the most beautiful bar I've ever been in and that's saying something! However, the waitress informed us that because we weren't a group we couldn't use one of the snugs, and since the bar was full there was nowhere to sit. In short, we were not made to feel very welcome. The bar was almost empty and we told the waitress if we could sit at the snug for now, we'd certainly move if a group came, but she didn't seem to think this very reasonable. If you go, go with a group. I'm sure it's a great place for a pint.
Paddywak wrote an opinion of the Crown Bar in Belfast in which he asked himself a somewhat rhetorical (I felt) question regarding any sense of intimadtion in the pub for tourists - which made my opinion ticker reach the top again! I lived in Belfast for a few months a couple of years back and soon discovered that the Crown Bar was the best place to wait for the bus/train home! Handily situated opposite the city's main bus terminal there is no excuse for not popping in for a swift pint or two next time you're passing! I am a single woman who went drinking in the Crown Bar alone in the early evenings mainly after work and sometimes later on in the evenings too. Never once ever have I felt intimidated by anything or anyone in the place. It's so friendly - you don't stand at the bar for more than a few seconds before people are speaking to you in their gorgeous Belfast accents and generally being friendly. In fact, I met a fellow in there one night who was out on his stag night. A year later while out with friends on a visit to Belfast we bumped into the same chap and he recognised us! Now that's friendly - we only shared a table with him for an hour or so! I couldn't recommend the Crown more highly to anyone considering visiting Belfast. It's right there in the city centre, has a wonderful olde worlde feel to it, clientele and staff are all friendly and delightful (and this has always been the same in my return visits since). Please go and try it out if you're in town.
I had to write this opinion because I just read an opinion on the Crown Bar in Belfast. The previous opinion said nothing about the place except that it's evil to drink full stop! It was written by a religious person. I think that the person concerned shouldn't have written it because it had nothing to do with the subject! Ok, now that I've calmed down & ready to apologise for breaking my own rules about rating & writing opinions, I'll begin. The Crown Bar is one of Belfast's best & most loved bars, there's that many there that they're all loved I suppose! Anyway, there's a web cam in the bar, which you can view if you go to www.belfasttelegraph.co.uk & click on the link for the Crown Bar web cam. Forgive any violence that you may see on the cam, but when the barman short changes you, what can you do!? The Crown is right beside another long established bar, Robinsons' Bar. Then there's The Beaten Docket (lovely name!) about 10 meters from The Crown & Robinsons. The Crown is finely furnished throughout & was burnt out/blownup once or twice over the years. The Crown & Robinsons are mainly used by students during the day as there's a university just around the corner (yes, we do have educated morons over here, but what's your excuse on the mainland for your politicians!?) & the hardup students spend their money in their most days, whilst studying their beloved subject .... how many pints before I'm sick? My apologies to all students out there for my poking fun at you, but it's true of some! Getting to The Crown bar is very simple regardless where you live, in & around Belfast because virtually all the buses pass by it! I live 9 miles from Belfast & if my wife & I con my mum into babysitting for the evening we normally head off to the Crown or another bar close by it. Is it intimidating for tourists? I don't think so & considering the main ho
tel (The Europa - blownup god knows how many times during the troubles) & the vast majority of the hotels' guests go there for a pint or 6 & I've never seen anything on the local news about tourists having trouble in it. Overall, The Crown & the vast majority of bars in & around the area are very welcoming & have a friendly atmosphere, regardless who you are, what colour you are or where you come from! That's my lot about this one folks! Thanks for taking the time to read my op, which is very rushed! Regards & take care....Paddy