The Crown – Soho (Tube: Oxford Circus)

There is a delicate balance in time. There is a golden period where all is well. There is doom for whomever squanders these fragile moments.

Upon arriving at a quietish bar I readily expect that the staff might be having ‘bants’ and that my arrival has interrupted their joviality. However after an awkward minute of looking hopeful, consternated then peeved my good pub mood has almost dissipated into the usual simmering irritation which underpins most of my daily thoughts. Eventually the swarthy gentleman ceased his bawdy comments and waggling, yes waggling, the barman and his attentions finally turned to me; he’s was in time, my ire subsided, briefly.
The Crown isn’t a bad pub by any standard. Decent location just far away enough from the shopping zones that it’s not full of prams and twits but near enough the beaten path that you might drop in when you’ve little else to do (this is incidentally exactly why was here, both killing time and avoiding getting trench foot)*. It’s also delightfully cramped with booths & nooks a plenty which on a drenched London evening are nothing but welcoming. Aided by ambient lighting and at risk of sounding like an estate agent I’d venture to say it’s a cozy pub.
Nicholson’s is a pretty safe bet as far as brewery’s go too. Standard fare from their own range on tap along with a couple of tasty seasonal beers which is always a big plus**. Punters crowd and jostle in every corner providing that deliriously pleasant hymn of the pub, vocal cords lubricated, a cacophony of a hundreds voices and no words all on their way to merry.
Whilst there is nothing remarkable about The Crown to warrant a place among the ranks of our favorites it’s a solid offering. The strip of London between Soho and Mayfair is peppered with questionable establishments so it’s good to have a stalwart to fall back on. If you’d rather avoid going somewhere which is literally just a room with some pumps in it or somewhere sincerely horrible this is where I’d head for a cheeky pint to escape from whatever touristy West End horror you’re inflicting upon yourself in the vicinity.
*Swarthy barman came over to ask if the dregs of the empties on my poorly chosen were all mine and if I was going to finish them**. Tempted as I might be to do so at a wedding with limited booze reserves it’s was 6 o’clock and my standards are a tad higher that side of midnight. I’m began to strongly suspect he might be a few sandwiches short of a picnic.
**It’s worth noting that leaving tables full of horrible empty glasses*** for more than a few minutes is  a crime I consider worthy of some sort of jail time when a pub is pretty quiet.
***See also half finished meals scattered with repulsive scrunched napkins.
****Volume turned up on music as ‘Gorrilaz’ comes on. Zero marks for staff.

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