Bustling, boisterous and blessed with excellent food and drink, the Crown and Two Chairmen will undoubtedly win you over in no time at all.
Located on Dean Street, deep in maze-like Soho, the Crown and Two Chairmen definitely embodies the reckless, bohemian spirit of the neighbourhood, with patrons regularly spilling out into the street and adding to the party atmosphere on busy evenings. Inside, the layout is informal yet carefully premeditated, with uncomplicated wooden tables and chairs taking up most of the main seating area and jutting out from the nearby walls, and comfortable sofas and booths available for intimate discussion or raucous after-work drinks. The exposed brick walls, chunky supporting pillars and massive flagstone floor all lend a rustic charm to the surroundings, and the wooden bar completes the effect, with wine racks and hanging glasses contributing nicely to the overall décor.
With a low ceiling and limited elbow room, the downstairs section can seem a tad too small to cope with the vast influx of customers, which is where the second floor comes in. Primarily laid-out as a dining area, with rows of one-on-one or group tables and chairs placed in between luxuriant sofas and overgrown pot plants, the upstairs room can also double up as an auxiliary, not to mention immensely appealing, bar affording wide-reaching views over the streets below.
A favourite haunt of the Soho jet-set, as well as neighbouring office cliques and the occasional inquisitive party of tourists, the Crown and Two Chairmen is never short of customers, and the atmosphere among staff and patrons alike is invariably loud, bustling and extremely merry. While maybe not the best setting for a heartfelt confession or romantic candlelit dinner for two, the venue certainly delivers on its promise of a great all-round pub experience, and is a great place to repair to after, or even during, work (business lunches are a common spectacle downstairs). While there are no regular events to speak of, the pub does show all major sporting events on flatscreen TVs and, depending on demand, an upstairs projector – a rarity, and veritable godsend, for a Soho establishment.
The Crown and Two Chairmen’s food menu is updated daily, but invariably makes use of freshly-sourced ingredients, and sticks to a credo of simple but highly effective British cuisine. Stalwart main courses include beer-battered haddock and chips, ox cheek pie, full Sunday roast at the weekends, and Shropshire roast chicken with red wine gravy – all dependably delicious, and not particularly expensive (£9-£10) given the generous portions. For those of you just passing through, a selection of mouth-watering sandwiches (£5-£7) are served between 12 and 5pm, and an ever-changing roster of starters and desserts round out a generally excellent menu.
As with so much else, effort has clearly gone into the selection of drinks at the Crown and Two Chairmen, with craft beers (£3.50-£4) from BrewDog, Camden Town and Brooklyn breweries available on tap, as well as a remarkable range of ales and draughts from around the world – Estrella, Kozel and Veltins are among the unlikely brews on offer for reasonable prices. Along with a lengthy wine list (the components of which are proudly displayed behind the downstairs bar) and an unsung yet masterful line in cocktails, it seems safe to say that whatever your tipple, the bars here have it covered.
The Last Word
Understated it ain't, but if you're looking for a no-frills, fun-filled night on the town then there are definitely worse places to call upon than the Crown and Two Chairmen.