There are perfect pubs for all different sorts of people. If you like sport then there are bars festooned with screens. If you’re a foodie you can go somewhere that places more emphasis on what comes out of the kitchen than the pumps. If you’re a beer fanatic you should be in The Euston Tap. But what if you’re a misanthropic recluse who doesn’t want his conversation overheard by other patrons of a bar? Well then you ought to go to The Princess Louise.
Though many pubs in the capital are what I would consider to be unique there really isn’t anywhere remotely similar to the Princes Louise. It is Victorian opulence and extravagance wall to wall. A series of private booths line the central island bar with slightly larger seating/standing areas at either end. Elegantly carved wood and glass partitions divide groups drinking in undisturbed little gatherings. The walls are awash with cut glass mirrors with swooping floral designs which glitter in the brightly lit interior.
Whilst I fully appreciate that this is a historically significant pub and has several parts of its anatomy listed as protected I am not its biggest fan. Yes it’s pretty and yes it would be horrible if someone tried to gut it and turn it into a Nandos but given that there are about 27 of them within piddling distance it’s unlikely.
To me it felt a bit too oppressive and cluttered. The booths make it tough to find a seat and rob you of the unparalleled joy that is people watching. I also feel obliged to mention that although the Grade II listed marble urinals are very pretty they’re not easy to get to in a rush and you might want to plan ahead to avoid wet trouser incidents.
Sam Smiths pub. ‘nuff said as far as beer options are concerned.
It’s in a central location and is a stones throw from several other great Victorian landmarks in the capital so swing by if that kind of thing interests you because it really is a symbol of the age. If you’re looking for a more earthy pub experience I’d trot on elsewhere.