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Date for Summer 2022 crawl in Winchester. with Tris39 on the Pub Forum

The Prince Alfred, W9

5A Formosa Street
W9 1EE
Phone: 02072863287

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Reviews (Current Rating Average: of 10) Add Review see review guidelines

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Tris C left this review about The Prince Alfred

On and off, I’ve been coming here occasionally since 1995 when the area wasn’t anything like as affluent as it is today and the pub was a little rough. Back then it featured a peeling red lino floor and a pool table to the rear where now there’s a swanky restaurant and open kitchen, so that you can hear the clatter of pans being dropped into the sink.
With a CAMRA Nationally Important Historic Interior, this Grade II-listed pub dates from 1856, but the showstopper interior was installed around 40 years later and has to be seen to be believed. Undulating etched and engraved windows curve inward to the famous stalls with their infamously low passage height. The narrowest – known to some as the ‘birth canal’ – can certainly trap the larger customer and the knocking of heads is a common sound. The main entrance lobby features a mosaic floor and much of the right-hand wall features fabulous polychromatic glazed tiles, punctuated by a very elegant fireplace carved from pink and white granite, home to a real fire in colder months. The stalls are topped with carved wood broken pediments in the classical Greek style, with dentil cornices and finials. The central bar has a carved wood and glass central partition topped with a clock and fastened to the highly textured fibrous plasterwork ceiling with ornate metal ties. At counter level, it features some rare examples of surviving etched glass snob screens. The downstairs loos are up to scratch and there’s also a rather natty cellar bar too. Furniture in the stalls features a forward curved studded ivory leather banquette with brass footrail, the other stalls feature very conventional furniture as does the main room.
However, service here can frequently be very slow due to staff being weighed down having to spend ages mixing cocktails and serving diners. Beer quality can be a bit patchy too, but what really annoys is the selective opening times – if business is slow on Sundays or Mondays, the pub calls last orders at 10.00pm.
Ales: the standard Young’s selection of Bitter and Special and a guest from the likes of Wimbledon Brewery, but currently offering St. Austell’s Proper Job at an eyewatering £5.20 a pint, which for me is a proper rip-off.
This is a beautiful pub and can make for some very entertaining evenings when combined with the Warwick Castle and Warrington, but erratic closing times and in a pub which charges this much for a pint cannot go unpunished.

On 21st June 2019 - rating: 7
[User has posted 1515 recommendations about 1495 pubs]

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Bucking Fastard left this review about The Prince Alfred

A highly unusual interior and worthy of close inspection.There are 4 snugs ,each small and with it's own external door but they are all connected by ducking under an opening wall panel which is around 3ft high,quite a feat for lanky and /or inflexible customers.However most folk give it a go,it's part of the fun.There are lots of great internal features with one snug having working snob screens,etched glass everywhere,a high Victorian moulded ceiling and with each snug having bar access you can drink with friends in some solitude.The main room is to one side and opens out into a large restaurant but the bar counter here only has keg taps,the largest of the snugs has 3 handpumps although the choice on my trip was Youngs Bitter and Wimbledon Copper Leaf (dull and £2.55 the half,a rip off).The food offering looked pricey too.
Operated by Youngs,their corporate hand does impact the charm,and with a poor real ale selection I couldn't possibly base myself here for an evening.But it's worth popping in to see the wonderful listed interior snugs.

On 6th January 2019 - rating: 7
[User has posted 2338 recommendations about 2338 pubs]

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Will Larter left this review about The Prince Alfred

I was unsure which door to use and ended up going in through the side entrance which leads through a restaurant area into the bar. Here the room is divided into segments by wooden and partly glazed screens, through which it is possible to pass by using the low doorways. Of course, by now it was apparent that any of the street doors would have provided access to the bar. Indeed, having found my way later to the toilet - which is down some stairs near the restaurant entrance (disabled and baby change at ground floor level) - by ducking through three of these low doorways, it dawned on me that it would have been better to use the street doors for that too. At the time of my mid-afternoon weekday visit I was the only drinker, so had a choice of rooms. It was great to have a chance to explore, but equally this could be the sort of pub that would reward a prolonged visit with a group of friends - not too many, as the rooms are small. My half of Youngs Special was good, but London prices make me gasp - £2.40 for a half! I can still get a pint for that in Sheffield.

On 24th October 2018 - rating: 8
[User has posted 3049 recommendations about 2869 pubs]

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Steve of N21 left this review about The Prince Alfred

As many others have said fantastic interior to this one with the main bar area retaining its different sections with interconnecting half doors between which you will have to utilise if you don’t come in the front entrance as the three real ale pumps are on the central section and not visible from the others.
Two Youngs beers in the shape of Bitter and Special were on alongside Spring Ale from the Twickenham brewery and the two Youngs beers were well kept. The Keg offerings included beers from Meantime, Camden and Brewdog so all in all not that shabby, and it was very good to find the pub being well utilised in both the bar and the larger dining room at the back for our early Saturday evening visit.
Young enthusiastic bar staff but slightly let down by their management who clearly haven’t taught them how to pour a pint of real ale and some shocking short measures had to be rectified.

On 18th May 2018 - rating: 8
[User has posted 1816 recommendations about 1754 pubs]

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Ian Mapp left this review about The Prince Alfred

Not prepared for what was inside - what a joyful surprise.

Bar area still has wooden partitions, snob glass and breaks up a very ornate central horsehoe bar. Fun getting through the 3ft doors without looking like a prat. Ornate Tiling.

Lovely to see the period detail.

Best pint of the evening - an exceptional Youngs Special.

Worth visiting.

Visit blogged at

On 28th April 2017 - rating: 10
[User has posted 277 recommendations about 276 pubs]

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Pub SignMan left this review about The Prince Alfred

This classic Victorian pub with its famously well preserved layout is located just a short walk north from Warwick Avenue tube station. The pub is a remarkable survivor with a great number of features retained despite obvious efforts to modernise in more recent times. The main entrance on Castellain Road boasts some fabulous curved and etched glasswork that really whets the appetite for what lies within. The pub has a large, centrally positioned, U-shaped servery - a common enough sight in pubs up and down the country, but the difference here is that the bar serves five individual areas rather than a single opened out room. Each area has its own external entrance complete with etched glasswork, although some of these are now out of action, which means that in order to explore the pub in its entirety, you need to pass through a series of extremely low doorways, previously only used by staff. Each partitioning screen has intricate wood panelling, frosted glass and stunningly detailed carved tops. The servery has some snob screens at one end, although it was hard to gauge if they are original or not, whilst the bar back shows off some lovely detailed woodwork, simple etched glass panes and a centrepiece pub clock. The screens are low enough to allow you to appreciate the wonderfully elaborate design that spreads across the entire ceiling. There is a mix of seating options throughout the pub with high banquettes and stools being the most common options. The largest area is to the right where colourful glazed tiles run under a dado and a large mirror hangs above a compact fireplace with various old photos dotted around. Beyond is a rather disappointing modern restaurant area with formally arranged tables and a large skylight. Stairs lead down to 'The Cellars' - a cosy brick walled series of nooks with comfy chairs and wine displays, although the area was closed on this visit. Music played quietly throughout my visit and I spotted a couple of TV screens, both of which were turned off.
The ale selection sadly couldn't match up to the interior, with the options restricted to Young's Ordinary and Wells Bombardier. Weston's Old Rosie occupied a final handpull, but I decided to try the Ordinary, which was reasonably well kept. However, as others have mentioned, a pint was seriously overpriced. The barmaid who served me was very smiley to all of her customers.
CAMRA rate this pub as one of the top ten best preserved pub interiors in the capital and I would agree that it certainly has plenty to admire. It's a shame that they can't manage a beer range to match, as it is a pub that merits a longer visit, but one pint of Ordinary was more than enough for me. Still a must-do though.

On 9th October 2014 - rating: 8
[User has posted 2795 recommendations about 2795 pubs]

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Quinno _ left this review about The Prince Alfred

A CAMRA-listed heritage pub of late Victorian class. Attractive concave etched glass windows and pendant lamps outside. Inside, there is much carved mahogany (especially the bar back replete with inlaid clock), etched and cut glass, tiling and snugs divvied up into five separate areas via miniature (duck!) doorways for the pot boys of yore. That’s the front part though, to the rear is a much more functional dining area. Only one ale on, Hackney Red which was in good form but an astonishing (even for London) price of £4.49 a pint. So whilst it’s well-worth doing this one, I’d advise you to drink as little as possible – which is a shame. It could and should be indispensable for session but isn't unless you are seriously moneyed.

On 7th October 2014 - rating: 6
[User has posted 4401 recommendations about 4387 pubs]

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Steve of N21 left this review about Prince Alfred

As previously described the Prince Alfred is a classic example of a late Victorian pub featuring an abundance of beautifully carved mahogany & sparkling etched & cut glass, and some superb original Victorian snugs, each with its own door from and separated by a wooden partition with a small access door. And as others have said, this being Maida Vale the focus is largely on dry sales and the ubiquitous dining room for establishments in this part of the world exists in the form of the largely anonymous by comparison Formosa Dining Room at the back of the pub
This pub cries out for a cutting edge real ale offering to competent the superb interior but sadly only one of the two ale pumps was on the go for my visit dispensing an eye watering expensive average pint of CW Bombardier. So 10 for the interior but 5 for the choice of beverages to be had.

On 19th May 2014 - rating: 8
[User has posted 1816 recommendations about 1754 pubs]

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Real Ale Ray left this review about Prince Alfred

I wanted to visit this pub after reading about it in Camra's Heritage pubs. This is another fine example from Camra's National Inventory of Historic pub Interiors. There are a lot of interesting features in this pub, from the tiles and mosaic work at the entrance. I found the area on the LHS of the bar to be unique, with the small service doors once in use for pot boys and cleaners. The Youngs Special was decent. Lots to see here in this stunning pub, so well worth a visit.

On 25th February 2014 - rating: 10
[User has posted 3092 recommendations about 3092 pubs]

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Just a quick pint, then I'm off left this review about Prince Alfred

The main bar area is one of the best-preserved in London, sub-divided with screens into five separate drinking areas. The main facade doesn't look much from a distance, until you get close enough to see the curved and etched windows which are a sight to behold, and there are numerous other features of interest (including the tiling and mosaic work by the main entrance and the clock mounted above the bar back). However, the back of the pub turns into the modern and anonymous Formosa Dining Room. Given that it is a Youngs house, the beer choice - just Ordinary and Bombardier (steeply priced at £3.75) - was surpringly poor. Still, well worth a visit.

On 26th March 2011 - rating: 8
[User has posted 7021 recommendations about 7021 pubs]

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