28
Jul 05

Vanishing Pubs

Pumpkin Publog1 comment • 576 views

CAMRA have pub preservation officers in their local groups. Just a note that the one in North London has been doing a pretty bad job of it lately. Three pubs of my acquaintance have closed down, or even knocked down in the last couple of months. But then it strikes me that CAMRA would not mind at all, as these are pubs which CAMRA themselves do not care for.

Start with the biggest surprise. The Crown on New Oxford Street, currently shut. Is it for renovation? Doesn’t look like it. The Crown was a Sam Smith’s pub, and I don’t think CAMRA like them. Not sure, but they like the action of a pump wot you don’t get in Smith’s pubs. The Crown was by no means their best pub, and the Lousy is very near, so it is no great loss. Except it had a rather spacious outside area, on the triangle at the end of Shaftesbury Avenue which was nice for a summer pint of Fatman.

Still, a few doors down The Old Crown, which always looked newer, has been completely gutted. A Pub/Bar on three floors it rocked a bit of Art Deco styling and was definitely on the bar end of Trendy. Still a niceish place though, and with an unusual interior. But unusual does not equal horse brasses and Victoriana, so why would CAMRA care. Looks like this is being refurbed into something else mind.

But the biggest shock was coming down York Way and seeing that the Waterside Inn WAS NOT THERE. You could see all the way to Kings Cross basin. There was a hole where the pub used to be. Now, don’t get me wrong, the Waterside Inn was a wretched pub, all late eighties red brick, boxy lack of charm and the odd faux beam inside. BUT it was absolutely emblematic of its age. If you wanted to describe an original eighties pub, you could not do better than the Waterside Inn. It was the first pub in Britain to have a Pizza Hut INSIDE IT (A terrible idea, but let us honour lousy ideas). A nice terrace by the canal was spoiled by horrible beer. But the place was seminal. Possibly too seminal to be one of the nearest pubs to Kings Cross when the Eurostar rocks in. But it did not deserve to DIE. Its like CTRL chased it on to a platform and, well you know…

Where were CAMRA then eh? I’ll tell you. Drinking in The Wenlock Arms slapping their backs at some tasty Robinson’s brew. Which is nice work if you can get it but not what a Pub Preservations Officer should be doing I wager.

Comments

  1. 1
    Pete Baran on 7 Aug 2006 #

    Update: The Crown and The Old Crown have re-opened. Nothing happened to The Crown at all (and time stands still in a Sam Smiths pub). The Old Crown seems to have lost its name, but not had it replaced by anything, and is achingly dark, trendy and still OK.

    Waterside Inn still a hole in the ground.

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