‘Wine. Cheeseboard. Quiz. Gin. Gin. Pee. Gin. Pee. Gin. Victory. Last orders. Bourbon. Bill. Home.’
I think that fairly accurately describes my experience at the Princess Victoria though I assume that you were expecting slightly more information from my review. Yes? Fine then I’ll write more.
As pubs go this is at the classy end of the spectrum. Not classy in a Ron Burgundy leather bound books mahogany smelling way sort of way; but classy in an understated stylish sort of way. This pub is kind of a big deal.
Having stood on this site for nearly 200 years this pub has a pedigree but has not (unlike some of the local dives) failed to move with the times and keep itself current. Though still offering a dozen different gins in reference to it’s roots as a ‘gin palace’ the pub also caters to the modern yuppie/wino with a vast array of plonk (they even do that thing where you taste a bit of it before giving you the bottle but you just nod awkwardly as if you know something about wine rather than daring to suggest that (a) it’s horrible or (b) after many years of drinking mainly beer all wine just tastes the same to you). There are also three proper ales on the pumps one of which is a rotating seasonal tipple to satisfy those of you that prefer grain to grape.
You’re most likely to find yourself in the main room which is dominated by a vast horseshoe shaped bar. Though this is an enormous room it manages to avoid feeling cavernous and empty with an open fire and warming wooden floors complementing some of the subtle original features. Once suitably settled you’re likely to find yourself perusing the menu or the not inexpensive list of bar nibbles which range from the increasingly common ‘posh scotch egg’ (see also Cutty Sark and The Fox and Anchor) through to more standard, but apparently in this case handmade, pork scratching. Anything would be a good choice and you’re unlikely to immediately regret your decision.
So what’s the catch? For me there are two teeny niggles. Strictly speaking this doesn’t fit the standard criteria for a classic pub but then it’s not really trying to be; it’s of a breed similar to The Calf in Clapham. However I as conceded then this new breed of boozer is increasingly common and ought to be embraced (see also The Fellow and The Old Red Cow). It is also a tad on the expensive side but this is West London and Shepherds Bush is an area peppered with houses with price tags that would make your eyes bleed and your wallet shit itself. If you can get over these flaws then you’re in for a treat.
‘You stay classy Shepherds Bush?’