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Picture of Crown Liquor Saloon
Image posted by Blackthorn _
Submitted on Friday, 18th October 2019
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Crown Liquor Saloon, Belfast

46 Great Victoria Street
Correct details

Pub Type

Nicholsons (Mitchells & Butlers)

Served areas

Reviews of Crown Liquor Saloon (Average Rating: of 10) Add Review see review guidelines

Please Note: This review is over a year old.

Blackthorn _ left this review about Crown Liquor Saloon

Perhaps the most iconic of all Belfast pubs, it’s in a prominent, street corner position on a busy thoroughfare and looks immediately appealing with it’s ornate exterior tiling, imposing pillars and stained glass.

It certainly doesn’t disappoint on the inside either, and although it’s perhaps a little smaller than it initially appears (due to the mirrored back wall), what there is, is really quite splendid. Victorian style tiling is on the floor, with an embossed dark brown ceiling. The ornate stained glass windows on two sides are a very impressive feature and must count as some of the most intricate that I have seen. Seating along the right hand side was divided in to individual booths with a low level, carved wooden door providing access. A brass bell push in each booth presumably provided table service at one time, although I suspect that now they are merely decorative. A similar booth arrangement was at the front on the left, but the majority of this side of the pub was taken up with the bar counter. Carved animals adorned the woodwork and there was also some ornate tiling on the wall at the front.

Not only was this by the far the most impressive interior of all the Belfast pubs we visited, but in also had quite an impressive beer selection in an area that largely seems to be a real ale dessert. On this occasion the line up consisted of Doom Bar, Whitewater Belfast Ale, Stewart’s 80/-, Mourne Gold, Nicholson’s Pale Ale and St Austell’s Proper Job. Cider choice was disappointing though with only Magner’s being available, but overall a fantastic pub and certainly a must visit for any visitor to Belfast.

On 22nd October 2019 - rating: 9
[User has posted 1749 recommendations about 1684 pubs]

Please Note: This review is over a year old.

Pub SignMan left this review about Crown Liquor Saloon

Often cited as the best pub in Northern Ireland, this fabulous example of a Victorian gin palace certainly lives up to such claims from an architectural point of view. The pub’s facade displays some pretty stunning, ornate tiling along with restored signs and impressive etched glass windows. Entering from the main road, you pass through a doorway with a nice mosaic tile floor design depicting a crown image, flanked by some detailed etched and stained glass windows, before emerging into the main bar area, with the servery along the left hand wall and some unique fully-partitioned booths to the right, each with its own door. The room has a decorative tile floor, an elaborate moulded ceiling, some superb ‘fish scale’ carved pillars and a run of elaborately etched and stained glass windows. The ten booths all have low doorways flanked by carved lions, bears, dragons and so on, and inside, hard bench seating runs around a single table, with the floors decorated with their own patterned tile design. The partitioning screens between each booth have a number of painted panels and coloured window panes whilst the doors have been fitted with smart, decorative handles. The servery is a real stand-out feature thanks to the incredible glazed tile bar counter with its polished granite top, heated foot rails, gas lamp lighting and grand bar back displaying high arched mirrors, old barrels, some attractive advertising friezes and pretty stained glass inserts. The toilets, to the rear of the room, also have fine glasswork in their doors and nicely tiled interiors, making them worth a quick look too. Aside from the booths, seating is very limited, with the odd drinking ledge here and there and a good deal of standing room opposite the bar. Upstairs, there is a split level dining room with its own bar. This is a much plainer space with lounge furniture on the lower section and formally set tables through the rest of the room, with decent fireplaces and a basic servery along the right hand wall as you enter.
The pub is currently operated by Nicholson’s, who have invested a good deal into the pub and deserve some credit for the maintenance and restoration of the interior. A typical Nicholson’s ale range was available, comprising Broughton Hoppopotamus, Madness Absolutely, Mournie Gold, St Austell Proper Cracker, Harviestoun Bitter and Twisted and Nicholson’s Pale Ale. The Hoppopotamus was in fine shape but the Mournie Gold was flat and less enjoyable, although this was poured from the first floor bar, so I’m not sure if this was a location specific issue. As you would expect, the pub is very touristy, with a large group of Italian students entering as we were leaving and a few couples from the Far East popping in just to take some photos during the course of my visit. We also ate here, in the less interesting first floor dining room, and found the food to be pretty decent standard pub fayre.
This really is a must-do pub for anyone interested in historic pub interiors, as it has to be one of the finest restorations of its kind and I thoroughly enjoyed exploring all the intricate details and grand gestures the pub has to offer. Whether it is the best pub in Northern Ireland though, I cannot say, but it did strike me as lacking the genial, lively atmosphere you might expect to find this side of the Irish Sea – a factor that perhaps makes this worth a look, but perhaps not a full session.

On 25th January 2019 - rating: 8
[User has posted 2512 recommendations about 2512 pubs]

Please Note: This review is over a year old.

Aqualung . left this review about Crown Liquor Saloon

I arrived at this place at around 20:00 on a Thursday evening to find it packed. Why does a busy pub like this have stools at the bar? It's hard work getting served with these things in the way even if they are not occupied. It certainly is a time warp of a pub with no resemblance whatsoever to any more modern pub.
I managed to find myself a place at the bar behind a frustrated looking punter waving a note who had presumably been there for some time. After a long wait he got served and then after an even longer wait I managed to get a short pint of Peerless Icebreaker which cost an outrageous £4.45. In my opinion this was too warm, definitely above cellar temperature. There are six hand pumps here but the only other two I could identify were Hilden Gold and the Nicholson's house beer.
I thought this place was hopeless. With only three behind the bar the service was abysmal, there were uncleared glasses everywhere and it was a rip off. It might be unique but that's the only factor that saves it from the Score Of Shame, It's best left for people who prefer to just gawp at pubs rather than drink in them. I wouldn't return and was relieved to get back to the comfort of the Bridge House.
It's GBG 2018 listed.

On 1st May 2018 - rating: 3
[User has posted 2143 recommendations about 2143 pubs]

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Pub location see interactive map of local area
Map location corrected by Clive Thompson
Latest updates View all updates for Crown Liquor Saloon, Belfast
22nd Oct 2019, 09:19
Review submitted by Blackthorn _
21st Oct 2019, 13:49
Picture submitted by Blackthorn _ approved

Pub Details

Pub details supplied by members of this site to the best of their knowledge. Please check with pub directly before making a special trip.

  • Accommodation : No last updated 07 August 2013 by ROB Camra
  • Bar Billiards : No last updated 07 August 2013 by ROB Camra
  • Beer Festivals : No last updated 22 October 2017 by Komakino .
  • Beer Garden : No last updated 07 August 2013 by ROB Camra
  • CAMRA Discount : No last updated 07 August 2013 by ROB Camra
  • Car Park : No last updated 07 August 2013 by ROB Camra
  • Child Friendly : Yes last updated 22 October 2017 by Komakino .
  • Darts : No last updated 07 August 2013 by ROB Camra
  • Function Room : Yes last updated 22 October 2017 by Komakino .
  • Hot Food : Yes last updated 07 August 2013 by ROB Camra
  • Jukebox : No last updated 07 August 2013 by ROB Camra
  • Karaoke : No last updated 07 August 2013 by ROB Camra
  • Live Music : No last updated 22 October 2017 by Komakino .
  • Live TV Sports : No last updated 07 August 2013 by ROB Camra
  • Micropub : No last updated 22 October 2017 by Komakino .
  • Pinball : No last updated 07 August 2013 by ROB Camra
  • Pool Table : No last updated 07 August 2013 by ROB Camra
  • Quiz Night : No last updated 22 October 2013 by ROB Camra
  • Real Ale : Yes last updated 29 July 2013 by Dave McNally
  • Real Cider : Yes last updated 22 October 2017 by Komakino .
  • Wheelchair Access : Yes last updated 22 October 2013 by ROB Camra
  • WiFi : Yes last updated 22 October 2017 by Komakino .
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