Friday, May 10, 2013
Crown and Shuttle, 3rd May
I have actually now been to the Crown and Shuttle twice in recent weeks - both times as precursors to the 'main event' elsewhere. Obviously, as I've been twice I liked it enough to go back.
This pub sort of sprung up out of nowhere. I've walked along that stretch of road and not noticed a publike venue or even anyone working on renovating a building and then one day there was a fully formed, nice-looking pub sitting between the kinda sketchy Light Bar and Drunken Monkey. It stood out like a breath of air does in the winter.
I must have gone past it when it was only just opened as it took me quite a while to discover its origins on the Net. Finally I found out that it had been refurbed from the remnants of a pub (which was possibly a strip club at one point), taken over by the people who own the Water Poet. They seem to have a penchant for beer gardens - the one at the Water Poet is sprawling and they have done the same here.
There are basically three sections to the pub - the first third is what must have been the original pub building, then they have built on to this an extension - making the outside wall of the old pub a feature wall within the new pub, and then the massive beer garden - so big it holds a street van with pizza oven within it.
The first time I went was on a Saturday (before Electro Swing) and had no idea it was so vast so it was a rather lovely surprise, especially as there were so many of us. The weather was too chilly to enjoy the garden but we did appreciate the faux woodstove that was in the corner near our group. I instantly liked the place. It felt both spacious yet cosy. It's decor is woody - but a light sort of pine wood, not heavy and dense. Everyone who came along said how much they liked the place and it was barely busy - there weren't really any seats that could accommodate my large group but there was plenty of space at the second bar to congregate around.
My last visit was on a Friday and markedly different. It was heaving. Yet somehow me and my friend still managed to get a seat on a comfy love seat. Getting to the bar was a chore and a half - clearly all the local workers in the area had caught wind of the place and were all there, ordering pints to take outside. Fair dos to the bar staff - they were in no way slacking, but it still meant for a slow wait due to the volume of people crowding the bar. Intentions to have one medium glass of wine for each of us soon went by the wayside and I opted for a bottle in order to avoid having to pay another visit to the bar. I've never before been so conscious of how long it takes to pour pints compared to serving my favourite tipple - wine.
Anyway, maybe not one for a Friday night if all you want is a quick drink but definitely a welcome addition to the area. I look forward to going back on a sunny day to enjoy the garden and maybe a pizza from their outside oven.