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Crown Liquor Saloon, Belfast

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user reviews of the Crown Liquor Saloon, Belfast

please note - reviews on this site are purely the opinion of site visitors, so don't take them too seriously.

Probably the finest example - in the UK - of an immaculately kept public house, of a bygone era. Owned and looked after by the National Trust.

Gas lit, with snugs, mirrors - and an old world atmosphere. An unmissable place, when in Belfast.
croydonpeer - 13 Aug 2019 16:15
The best preserved Victorian pub / gin palace in the UK. That is reason enough for a visit, but of course it helps that they have a few decent cask ales on, also a few interesting bottles. And the food is good, served upstairs. A bit understaffed, though.
Sigmund - 3 Aug 2017 22:32
Worth a visit to admire the interior and have a quick Guinness, way too busy for more than that though. Nip across the road after to Brennans bar where they do some quality grub and a variety of beers.
Blastbeat - 3 Aug 2016 08:56
Owned - for nearly 40 years - by the National Trust, the Crown is a fine example of a Victorian Gin Palace.

Still lit by gas lamps, the Crown has ten booths or snugs - which can be booked in advanced for private drinks/meals.

Each snug (A to J) has an individual bell, for service - answered only at lunchtimes, these days. A relic of a bygone era.
mandraker - 30 Oct 2015 15:00
Beautiful pub - unfortunately covered in scaffolding outside, which stopped any photo opportunities.

Inside is just as lovely. A series of vanity alcoves, the likes of which I have not seen in a pub before.

Had a Belfast Ale in here - out of the all the pubs I visited, this was the only draught real ale found.

Definitely worth a visit.
Mappiman - 30 Oct 2015 12:40
Building is very impressive both inside and out. No locals frequent the place as it's just a tourist pub. Had a quick pint of Guinness then went next door. For a Friday night it was very quiet and felt like a Monday afternoon.
realalerules1983 - 27 Jan 2014 12:22
Tourist trap as Mallard says, beer ok but bloody dear. The building is a gem, those Italian craftsmen knew their stuff, the exterior alone is a work of art.


nokegthanks - 15 Sep 2013 23:30
Expensive (£5.40 for a pint of Whitewater and a bag of nuts) tourist trap. They ale could be a lot better but they know they don;t have to try.
Snarling_Mallard - 25 Mar 2013 14:34
My first trip to Belfast, and most of all, I was excited about visiting the world famous Crown Liquor Saloon.
A beautifully crafted and ornate Victorian Gin Palace.
The staff on duty were excellent, however the service took a while. I would have expected one or two more serving.
Everything went down hill rapidly once I took a look at the food menu though. Here was me expecting a traditional Irish menu (Irish Stew and the like), but I was greeted with such dishes as Cumberland sausage, Shropshire Chicken and Fish and Chips. All very English if you ask me, and not what I had been expecting.
Later on during my visit to Belfast I was in another of the city centres pubs and got chatting to one of the locals about The Crown. As it transpires, the pub has recently been taken over by Mitchell and Butler pub company, and it would seem that their management have absolutely no respect for tradition, only for turnover.
The new management have refused to recognise the established trade union that represents the bar staff, and have taken it upon themselves to suspend, from what I could gather, at least three of the staff. No wonder the ones on duty were so rushed.
All in all, a rather disappointing visit.
As far as I am aware, despite being run by M&B, the pub is owned by the national trust, and I would urge the NT to revoke M&B's contract and find someone more competent to run what is one of the most famous pubs in the world.
muttley_al - 1 Nov 2012 22:53
Lovely historic old pub. Visited on a quiet Monday night and very crowded with no seats available. Not a great choice of real ales but worth a visit for its ambience.
zapsincl - 13 Sep 2012 10:21
A great pub. Stunning building, good staff, and real ale (a rarity in Belfast). Only problem? It's too damned popular. Went in once, on a Weds evening, nowhere to sit. Looked in each night afterwards, same again :-(
stymaster - 25 Aug 2012 22:20
This is a must see! Beautiful exterior and interior, great staff, fantastic Guinness, well worth a visit
irishmark - 19 Oct 2011 16:36
The Crown is a Nicholsons with a difference!!! The only other equal is The Philharmonic in Liverpool. Both are magnificent buildings. The Phil being classed as the most ornate pub in Britain, but maybe The Crown should be the most ornate pub in the UK? I've not had the pleasure!?! in visiting the gents in the Crown ( being female! ), but I have in The Phil, it's a must see and separately listed from the main body of the pub. Maybe that's one of the main differences. Does anyone know if the gents in The Crown are original as well???
NH77 - 24 Jun 2011 01:34
Phenomenal interior, excellent bar staff and the elusive (in NI) real ale. What more could you want? The Irish stew was good too, just like my Granny makes. Must visit.
Northern_Ale_Monkey - 2 Mar 2011 20:58
Well the pub is everything you may have heard, a fantastic view of an older age. I have been here a few times ( I am writing from within it's walls now) and I have to say, there is one tiny, little problem. The Copperheads beer is the mustiest, old muck I've had the bad luck to have tried for a long time. It does hark back to a by-gone age - an age of Double Diamond. Never mind. Plenty more to try....
Arhurenglish - 23 Nov 2010 19:49
I only live about 90 miles from the Crown, but an inconveniently large body of water intervenes, so I'm only a regular in the sense that I have never visited Belfast without darkening its door. It's a great pub as well as a wonderful physical specimen. The staff are pretty well exemplary. I had no issues with either ale or stout, and the Irish stew, in a life-threatening portion, was top quality and good value.
Incidentally, I am told that there is a story behind the fact that the crown is inlaid in the floor. My source, however, was as unreliable as a newt, so I won't post it. Any offers?
joegreen - 14 Sep 2010 21:52
DONT MISS IT!!
ROB54 - 23 Jun 2010 00:07
If you only ever do one pub in Belfast, do this one. The pub architecture dates from a bygone age and the staff play the part being well dressed, friendly and attentive. Bring your camera. One of the few real ale outlets in Northern Ireland so a bit of a double whammy. It was quite amusing watching some Spanish students wrestling with the NI accent at the bar! The Belfast Black beer had lots of taste, contrast and compare with Guinness.
Abteilung - 24 Apr 2010 16:41
Great pub architecture with those intimate snugs. Belfast ale was well kept but a bit ordinary, the Belfast Black was a lot more tasty.
Booze_Allen - 24 Apr 2010 11:57
my family used to own the pub before it became a national landmark,it's been said that John Wayne used to frequent the Crown.I am a little biased but I did enjoy my time there at the pub...!!!
americanmick33 - 8 Mar 2010 19:11
Owned by the National Trust and on CAMRA's National Inventory, this is the most spectacular pub I've been in. The elaborately tiled exterior, including a floor mosaic showing the crown, gives you an idea of what to expect inside. The interior is all tiles, etched glass and ornate woodwork - an outstanding example of Victorian pub architecture. But what makes the pub really special are the row of enclosed snugs opposite the bar. There were originally ten snugs, lettered from A to J, now there are nine (snug J was removed in the 1970s). The snugs have their own doors, each topped with carvings of a griffin and a lion. On the walls are plates engraved with the word 'Matches' - these were originally used for striking same.
The pub has three ales on pump, from the Whitewater Brewery - Belfast Ale, Hope and Glory and Belfast Black. The barman gave us samples of all three - I wasn't impressed with the first two so had two pints of the Black which was a fairly drinkable stout.
A minor quibble, but one I seem to have had a few times this winter, was the lack of heating in the pub. It was bloody freezing outside, so why no heat in the pub?
Nonetheless, an essential stop on any Belfast itinerary for the interior alone.
holbornboy - 7 Mar 2010 22:59
I was told "I must visit here" so i did. Yep the building is brilliant and the interior is amazing, but the actual pint of Whitewater Belfast Ale was virtually undrinkable, pure vinegar, still give it a 7/10 as its a must visit and i may have just been unlucky on my visit
fat_beer_badger - 2 Jan 2010 22:47
I'm not keen on touristy places but this place is a must. I agree with the previous review.
lyeemoon - 22 Sep 2009 16:30
One of those places you have to visit because it's on the tourist map. Beer wasn't anything special and if you don't get one of the drinking booths you feel like you're hanging round in a railway station - kind of waiting around before you're off somewhere else. Still you have to drop in to see the 'ornate' features and say you've had a pint there.
Snarling_Mallard - 30 Jun 2009 16:56
Walked in here from the Beaten Docket nextdoor. What a contrast! Whilst there was only one other customer nextdoor, the Crown despite being much smaller was very busy. Nearly all the snugs were taken. The rest were reserved. Stools at the bar were all taken and the 1 or 2 tables in the bar itself were also taken. So standing room only. Most of the visitors were tourist types, with the locals seemingly standing at the bar. The constant flash photography would get on my nerves if this was my local or if I worked here. Having said all this, it does offer three real ales - Whitewater Copperhead Ale, Belfast Ale and Crown & Glory during our visit, and it's one of the finest pub interiors I have ever seen. Definitely worth a visit if you're ever in Belfast. But I think there's better pubs for discerning drinkers (for example the John Hewitt).
blue_scrumpy - 21 Jun 2009 14:01
Probably Belfast’s best known pub and one that is owned by the National Trust. The restored Victorian interior is so extravagantly ornate that it is almost overpowering. The bar runs along the left hand side as you enter and around the rest of the pub are ten separate booths/snugs lettered from A to J. Each of them are beautifully panelled with dark wood and opaque glass with a lockable door. It seems to be first come first served to occupy them but I did see some reserved signs on one of my visits. It can get very busy and I imagine it occasionally has the air of a freakish tourist attraction, certainly rarely a minute goes by without another flash from a camera capturing the magnificent décor. Despite this it’s a place that every pub lover should visit. They had three real ale hand pumps on when I was there, one of the few places in Belfast that serves good real ale.

Millay - 1 Jun 2008 21:33
Owned by the National Trust, and a Grade A listed building. I won't try to describe the interior - you just have to visit it youself (but as this is one of Belfast's 'must see' destinations, it can get very crowded).
rpadam - 20 Feb 2008 23:03
Joined the after work crowd there on Friday evening, and it's even better than I remember it from a few years ago. Very good bar service considering how busy it was. I agree with the last reviewer about the Belfast Ale quality. Good to see the restored stained glass on the doors.
fromedrinker - 18 Feb 2008 14:09
Visited earlier this week. The restoration is superb. Service was friendly and efficient with a choice of three real ales and an interesting and value-for-money food menu. Interesting options - not the usual pub food. The Whitewater Belfast Ale was excellent. Well worth a visit.
wobblybob - 27 Jan 2008 18:38
Currently undergoing major sympathetic renovation, but still open for business and none the worse for the reduced space to chat, drink the black stuff and wonder in awe at the fittings. Ignore every comment you've ever seen on here about the bloody tourists - what's the point in having something as wonderful as this hidden from those who wish to see living history?
When the re-fit is complete, it will look even more stunning that it still does. Grab the opportunity to see it with both hands, preferably with a pint of Guinness or a sample of the Whitewater real ales in each hand...
Gristy - 7 Aug 2007 13:10
A real gem and a friendly welcome.
wobblybob - 4 Aug 2007 21:00
Probably one of the best pubs in Belfast and very atmospheric with its ornate nineteenth century interior and wonderfully private partitioned booths. Perhaps like stepping back a few generations, but none the worse for that.
BoehmBawerk - 15 Jun 2007 16:14
I was in Belfast for work last week, so not quite a tourist.Yes, it was pretty busy with plenty of Yanks around, but the beer I tried was superb and the service was excellent.
Ordinary - 4 Jun 2007 13:37
had a pint in here as 1 off them bars you have to visit if possible, cant see what fascination is average bar average beer and average bar staff so pretty much average
chrissyboy - 6 Mar 2007 17:53
Well worth a look - enjoyed three pints of Belfast Ale on a recent trip to the city. I guess I was one of those tourists so hated by the reviewers below but it really is a must see.
Stunning interior and the bar staff were great - very attentive and efficient. Really good beer and at mid afternoon, not at all crowded. Sat comfortably at the bar chatting to the folk who came and went. First class
atsoutar - 18 Jan 2007 12:28
Nice interior. First class indeed and worth a look. Served a good Belfast Ale. Wasn't very crowded when we went, but then again that was at 11AM. I have been told on more than one occasion that the Crown can get crowded with tourists. Nonetheless, worth a stop in.
mrdruse - 27 Dec 2006 20:25
Everyone, everyone is entitled to their opinion, but some of the below reviews smell as rank as a really well developed case of gonorrhea.

Yes, the Crown attracts a few tourists and yes, the odd yank pops their head around the door, but since Belfast is only just moving past Basra and Beirut in the world’s “Top Holiday Getaways” chart, we’re hardly talking wall to wall campers. If you find the pitifully low tourist count in this pub too much to handle then for Christ sake don’t go anywhere near any major city on the face of the planet.

That being said, the clientele aspect of this otherwise very good pub is it’s weakest point, though not because of a thin smattering of Americans. Instead the real steaming arse comes in the form of our very dear friend, the mindless suit. Most are fairly non-descript, but a fair proportion behave like a gaggle of gulls at a fish market – becoming very loud and very annoying, very quickly. And since they tend to congregate in fairly large numbers, it would take a top draw saint not to start praying for a fairly specific outbreak of Ebola.

However, leaving this annoyance aside the Crown’s other main characteristics still help elevate it to a very good standard. The interior is a very nice, very original, vaguely Victorian wooden panel affair with a fair number of separate and secluded booths (literally hemmed in by high wooden walls and glass panels) winding round a largish interior. Although standing in the admittedly large bar area isn’t a barrel of laughs most nights, getting in one of the booths is a treat: you’re away from the crowd and in a character filled space, complete with gas lamps and all manner of Victorian style adornments. For a genuine, distinctive, non-commercial vibe, you won’t find many better places in the UK, let alone Belfast.
And, just to round things off, the excellent staff and top notch drink selection (wide range of booze – particularly ales – at very good prices) complement these surroundings perfectly.

In some ways the deep quality of this pub does make you vaguely bitter that it is so crowded with so many muppets so much of the time and this downside has to drop the score down to a still good 8/10. The quality is there in spades, but unfortunately it’s not possible to enjoy it all of the time.

anonymous - 11 Jul 2006 11:43
Yes it's full of tourists, yes it can get rammed and yes the Americans are irritating. But everyone should go to the Crown at least once in their lives. The interior is stunning, the chat is great, the people are among the friendliest I've ever met. And the pint's not bad.
anonymous - 21 Sep 2005 12:02
riddled with tourists.
ewew - 10 May 2005 17:02
There must be a law somewhere that states every visitor to Belfast must visit The Crown. And fair enough. Its well worth a visit. Its said to be the oldest building in town and is still lit by gaslamps ( i think ). Its the only pub owned by the National Trust and as such, you are drinking in a museum. BUT, it can get very crowded in the evenings and hence a bit stuffy and uncomfortable with standing room only. Try to get here early to secure some seats. It will make all the difference. I don't know what its like during the daytime but i intend finding out the next time I'm in Belfast. If only to get a chance to sit at the bar for an hour or two and try some more of that "Belfast Ale".
The_Inspector - 24 Feb 2005 18:08
Had a nice meal with a wonderful apple crisp with whipped cream so large I couldnt finish it very nice place
L R Landreth - 31 Oct 2004 20:55
A great pub as everyone so far has stated. Friendly atmosphere and gets busy. If you want to sit down you'll have to get a booth, or crash somebody else's as I did - a great way to meet new people. Real ale is available - try the 'Belfast Ale', it's superb.
Graham - 1 Jul 2004 12:47
I always drop in to the Crown when I am in Belfast, though sometimes the tourists far outweigh the locals which is a shame as all the locals I have met have been great fun and very friendly.

Never seen a ghost there but a wide choice of spirits.

I heard a rumour it was being closed for a refurb, can anyone confirm that it will be open on my next visit at the end of June 04?
Neill Williams - neillwilliams@bigfoot.com - 15 Jun 2004 11:40
Visited The Crown weekend of the 13th March on a Girlie weekend and had a very interesting experience in The Crown' I sat in one of the empty booths which turned out to be not so Empty I was sat with 3 men and a woman from a previous era YES! I had a ghostly experience and can describe the clothes of each of them and would know them again if I should bump! into them Does The Crown' have a resident Ghost? I would be interested to know?
Jenny Spiller - 23 Mar 2004 20:34
Anyone I know who is going to belfast, i was reccomend they pay the crown a visit. Best pub in Belfast by far.
thomas - 19 Mar 2004 17:00
I visited Belfast for a couple of days as an australian tourist and duly visited this pub. started chatting at the bar to some locals and suddenly i was half a dozen (or was it more?) pints later!
recommended.

nmguy68 - 2 Mar 2004 22:59
A great place to take visitors to our fair land, and should always form part of any tour of the city. fantastically detailed interior, and if you can get a booth, the afternoon/evening will fly by!
anyonebutmanu - 13 Jan 2004 16:14
It also does a top pint of Belfast ale as well.
tom - 25 Nov 2003 13:49
Every timei go to Belfast always pop into the crown for a pint of belfast ale. A lovely pub, a must for anyone who goes to Belfast to see how boozers used to be.
thomas - 16 Nov 2003 15:30
loved the look good to have a pic of yourself among the surroundings...big tourist attraction...would move on to another pub for cheaper drinks
Jess - 10 Nov 2003 19:41
Nice relaxing pub Plenty of tourists
anonymous - 24 Oct 2003 11:48
Wonderful original features, a proper Victorian gin palace. Beer can be variable and the place can be thronged with tourists, however still a must visit for anyone coming to Belfast.
superowl - 21 Oct 2003 12:24
A fantastic place - deep & dark. Carved wood pillars, ceramic tiles, gas lanterns etc.
It'll be kept as is by the National Trust, thankfully, so no chance of it becoming trendy.
DeviousDave - 21 Oct 2003 11:01
This pub is heaven. Snugs, stained glass, and Belfast ale! The perfect antedote to bland modern bars, and you meet some interesting people too! (but the bogs smell)
Ed - 29 Sep 2003 15:41
A pub that should be visited if only to look at the decor. Has this little cubicles where you can shut the door and ring a bell when you want service (not recommended at the weekend). A meet-up point for Rugby supporters visiting Ulster.
Gary - 1 Sep 2003 07:11
The Crown Bar is a great place to take visitors for ONE pint of Guinness. Then hop next door to Robinsons where the Guinness is nicer, the atmosphere is better and the food is cheaper :-).
Tom C - 8 Aug 2003 17:15
There are plenty of daft tourists but there is also brilliant Guiness and a marvellous atmosphere which makes the Crown one of the best pubs in Ireland.
DM - 5 Aug 2003 22:50
A true classic. Fantastic Victorian drinking den, genuine old decor, Belfast Ale on tap. A must see !
ian - 11 Jul 2003 13:31

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