Tuesday 11 January 2011

Crown of thorns

At the great risk of sounding like Swiss Tony, going to a new pub is very much like going on a date for the first time. 

You're naturally excited and want things to go well, but wary too. Worried about how things will turn out, whether you'll get on, if there'll be any awkward silences. And as with anything new, you wonder if you'll actually like it or whether it just won't be for you.

That's how I feel as I walk into The Crown in Southwark, a newly converted place on Blackfriars Road that promises much. All the ingredients are there from the outset. Three real ales on tap, large beer garden, reasonably interesting kitchen. But as with the date, there's a crashing sense of disappointment when it doesn't pan out quite how you'd hoped.

Perhaps it's just too new. Maybe it's the way the barmaid didn't quite understand your order. Could be just that the beer garden was closed when you wanted to sit outside. Whatever it is, it hasn't done what I'd hoped and, sadly, it appears I'll have to look elsewhere.

It's almost gutting, as I thought it could be so much more on first glance. Just what I thought I needed. A diversion from drudge and the crap life can sometimes throw at you. A ray of light in an otherwise dark, dingy January. But it's not going to work out between us.

The pub has extended a cold shoulder where a warm embrace would have been more welcome. In all honesty, it did seem too good to be true at first. But in the event, it felt as if all it wanted was my attention, fleetingly at that, then was quite happy to cast me aside for what it felt were clientele more deserving of its affections. And it's difficult to put my finger on why. Perhaps I betrayed too much enthusiasm up front? Did I want it to work out too much? Did it just not like me?

No matter. There are always other pubs. Now some would say it might need more time, but sometimes you just have to admit something isn't going to click and just move on. The beauty of pubs is that their characteristics and general feel can change, so perhaps that's where the date analogy falls down.

Maybe I'll be back in future to give it another whirl, but for the moment, The Crown, that's all you're having from me.

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