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Reviewing milestone with Wittenden on the Pub Forum

The Crown, Blackheath, SE3

49 Tranquil Vale
SE3
SE3 0BS
Phone: 02088520326

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


Tris C left this review about The Crown

The Crown Hotel dates from the 16th century as a coaching inn, is operated by Sheppard Neame, which subjected the place to a makeover earlier this year, so I suspect the interior description now no longer matches earlier reviews.
It’s now modern boarded, a blue-grey colour scheme, an interesting copper panelled ceiling, conventional furniture, upright piano for singalongs and masses of eclectic framed prints with some artily placed knickknacks by way of added affectation. The bar area seems new, with some steampunk-style brass and copper piping. Customers were affluent locals, mixed in age including a baby in pram at gone 9.00pm.
There’s the usual five-pump Neame selection, including one of their experimental ‘Cask Club’ offerings: Rumour Mill; I demurred, playing it safe with yet more Neck Oil, £3.55 a half, served by a friendly barmaid.
This isn’t a bad pub, but the slightly contrived interior, like the brewer, isn’t great; the Hare & Billet is next door.

On 30th April 2024 - rating: 5
[User has posted 2032 recommendations about 1997 pubs]


Please Note: This review is over a year old.


Rex Rattus left this review about The Crown

Being a Shepherd Neame pub there are no surprises regarding the beer, with Spitfire, Whitstable Bay and Masterbrew on. I didn't see a menu, but this is the sort of place that must do food.

As others have said, it's now completely opened up and completely modernised. This is the sort of pub that seems to be trying to look like a restaurant as much as a pub. As we passed through the main room at the front I noticed that modern decorative feature - a neatly arranged floor to celing display of logs next to the fireplace on the left. But the room at the back was quite comfortable, with normal tables and chairs, no TVs, a bookcase and some sporting memorabilia on the walls. There was a good amount of outside seating in a roped off area at the front of the pub.

This is not the sort of pub that stands out, but the beer was OK, and it was comfortable enough sitting in the room at the back. It's nothing special, but I quite enjoyed my brief visit to this pub.

On 29th October 2019 - rating: 6
[User has posted 2606 recommendations about 2520 pubs]


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Graham Coombs left this review about The Crown

A suitably aged building but the glass doors are the first indication that the interior has been totally modernised. Nothing like a traditional pub, although all the elements are here. Not especially unpleasant, but no real character at all. There is a separate wine bar signposted upstairs, available for hire but not open at time of visit. Beers are from Shepherd Neame, although I can't think of many of their pubs where asking for a Spitfire would result in the question "bitter or lager". Pretty stupid and inappropriate reuse of the name anyway, but I digress. The bitter was actually in tolerable but not great condition, so perhaps that was why. Will not be rushing back.

On 30th January 2019 - rating: 5
[User has posted 3353 recommendations about 3290 pubs]


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Pub SignMan left this review about The Crown

Situated in the centre of Blackheath, just a short walk from both the station and the heath itself, this is an extremely gentrified Shepherd Neame pub that seems to be trying to compete with the local bistros more than the neighbourhood pubs. You enter the pub through some sort of large, plate glass porch with a crown motif in the middle of the panes. It's a very unusual feature and looks very out of place on the front of an historic pub that can trace its lineage back to the 1740's. Once inside, it's just another upmarket gastro pub that greets you, with a bare boarded room and dark wood servery to the rear. The bar area is actually quite pleasant, thanks in part to the fine semi-circular bar counter and old pub mirror on the bar back. High tables and stools fill much of the space opposite, with some regular tables and chairs elsewhere and a couple of drinking shelves around the support pillars. To the left of the entrance there is a fairly homely looking area centred around a couple of fireplaces and this looked like it was probably the best spot to grab a seat. Moving past the right hand end of the bar you find a rear room (opened out into the main bar now) with more standard and fixed bench seating. There are some fine display cabinets in here with various collections of bottles and the like on show, with shelves full of dusty old books in between. One wall has been decorated with old Victorian era sporting pictures and equipment including cricket bats and hockey sticks. The pub has it's own wine bar upstairs, but this was shut when we visited, so I didn't get to snoop around. There are a few seats outside the front of the pub, which may well make for some interesting people watching, but I didn't see any kind of rear garden.
Three Shep's beers made up the ale selection - Spitfire, Whitstable Bay and Late Red. We tried the Late Red, which was in good shape and noticed that the menus had details of the full Shep's range printed on them, which caused much confusion when we tried to order from it only to be told that only the three above mentioned beers were actually available. We also decided to eat here and were pleased to find that against our expectations, the food was pretty reasonably priced, with most mains costing around a tenner. The food turned out to be of a high quality and I would suggest this makes it one of Blackheath's best bets for a good value meal.
It's no real surprise to find gentrified pubs in a place like Blackheath, but this one seems to have lost more of its pub character than many others in the area. It fits in with the neighbourhood fairly well and seemed to be doing decent business on a Saturday lunchtime but there are other better pubs in the area and this would only really be worth seeking out if you wanted some competitively priced food with your pint.

On 5th January 2017 - rating: 6
[User has posted 3150 recommendations about 3150 pubs]


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Malden man left this review about The Crown

This is an L-shaped wood floored pub with the curved bar counter directly opposite the entrance. A stair rises up to "The King's Room" which was unvisited by me but from the persons seen to-ing and fro-ing it would appear to be another regular bar rather than a dedicated restaurant. A fireplace to one end has a modern crown etched mirror above while the adjacent alcove is stacked with logs from floor to ceiling, more as an art statement than functional storage I'd say. The area completing the "L" behind the bar and stair has the feel of a library with full height bookshelves. There is a bit of exposed brickwork, otherwise the colour scheme is mainly magenta and grey. There are a few B&W framed photos of old Blackheath plus some of old SN brewery drays.
The bar itself has a painted mirror behind displaying the pub name plus the usual SN branding at the top of the bar back. It was well staffed on Saturday afternoon with four uniformed and efficient staff which is a nice change, beers were Masterbrew, Spitfire, Kent's Best, Canterbury Jack and the plainly named and never seen by me before, Mild.
here is a nice sunny terrace to the front which gives good views of the heath and seemed popular on Saturday afternoon despite the occasional showers.
A fairly routine village centre pub I thought, sitting somewhere in the middle range of Blackheath pubs, I cannot agree with the reviewer below enough though about the fully glazed entrance lobby, it was like walking into Superdrug, a hideous addition to the pub.

On 26th June 2013 - rating: 6
[User has posted 1708 recommendations about 1681 pubs]


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Roger Button left this review about The Crown

The Crown dates back to the 16th Century and was a popular stop on the London – Dover coaching route. It still has a prominent position on the edge of the heath although the customer base is now drawn from a more local source.

A lengthy and expensive renovation saw the pub closed for several months and its emergence as a slightly more upmarket pub that probably sits comfortably within its environs but doesn’t really add much for the people that regularly used the place. The main structural changes are the addition of a glass that makes it feel like entering a hotel lobby (sadly the small snug that was next to the door has been lost in the widening process) and a new curved bar in place of its rectangular predecessor. The general décor is a lot fresher than previously but there are a few homely touches; sideboards, lampstands, bookcases and a mix of armchairs, chesterfields among the standard pub furnishings. An upright piano sits in one corner and several interesting local pictures of the village adorn the walls. The rear section contains displays of sporting memorabilia (rugby boots, cricket bats, hockey sticks etc) that reflect the sporting use of the adjacent heath. A few antique looking Shepherd Neame beer bottles can be found superglued to the mantelpiece and one of the fireplaces has delicately placed stacks of firewood surrounding it that is almost an artwork in itself.

The upstairs has also been made more of a regular feature as opposed to an occasional function room and has its own bar with limited stocks. There are some interesting kite themed prints (kite flying is synonymous with the adjacent heath) and a championship kite dating from 1910 is also on display. A large clock looms over the end fireplace but the bookcase murals are no replacement for the real thing.

Outside, there are plenty of seats on a designated patio that overlooks the heath.

The pub has been owned by Shepherd Neame for the last couple of years and there is a standard choice of (up to) 5 ales available, a bit pricey at around £3.50 a pint although not too surprising given that is a fashionable area. Before being acquired by Shepherd Neame there was a half decent selction of ales with a fairly mainstream choice of ales that did occasionally threw up a pleasantly surprising guest beer so it’s a bit of a backward step for me on the beer front. A pub grub selection of meals is reasonably priced with several main course options around £7-£9.

The Crown has been a regular haunt of mine for many years and is a safe enough option but I can’t help feel that it has always lacked something to make it a place to go out of the way for. I can’t help feel that the switch to Shepherd Neame or the new refurbishment have done much to changed my opinion.

On 22nd December 2011 - rating: 6
[User has posted 1239 recommendations about 1233 pubs]


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john mcgraw left this review about The Crown

Supposed to be one of the oldest buildings in Blackheath.A single bar pub with a couple of seperate drinking areas.Had 3 real ales on tap.

On 25th February 2009 - rating: 6
[User has posted 2044 recommendations about 2025 pubs]