‘They face away from the audience and the instrument is covered in felt. They play in the most tender and devastati… twitter.com/i/web/status/1…
At first glance you might question why the Ye Olde Rose and Crown is regularly voted the best pub in trendy Walthamstow. The décor has scarcely changed since its Victorian beginnings, and it’s ‘black box’ theatre is rather basic compared to some of London’s showier, high-tech small venues. But this place serves a brilliant purpose at the heart of the local community. Not only does it have a phenomenal beer selection (as the wall covered in many hundreds of beer badges attests), but as a venue it punches above its weight in terms of eclecticism and quality. Across the intimate theatre, cabaret lounge and bar you’ll be able to enjoy performances by award-winning stand-ups, long-running folk clubs, DJs spinning dusty 78s and now your favourite rules-free classical music night.
The clientele is a real mix. Faithful regulars jostle alongside hipsters priced out of now-unaffordable E8 and E9 postcodes. A local choir uses it for their rehearsals, and west-end buffs pack out the theatre for Sondheim musical revivals. Unlike most pubs these days, the menu isn’t full of try-hard dishes, just satisfying Sunday roasts and cracking pizza served from a pop up outside.
Now that Waltham Forest has officially been vaunted as a cultural destination, the area is likely to see a great deal more competition from new bars and eateries. But the great thing about this pub is that it will continue to do its thing without making a song and dance about it. That’s for us to do!
Come and discover why this boozer is so great at our first ever Walthamstow Night Shift, on Thursday 28 February.
Nearest station: Walthamstow Central (at one end of the nimble Victoria line)
Also in the neighbourhood: almost too many great things to mention. Read our guide to Walthamstow here.
Fun fact: When the pub first attempted to get it’s full licence in 1890, the local MP opposed the move on behalf of another local, the nearby Bell Inn. The licensing committee rejected this objection when it became apparent that the landlady of the Bell had died almost a year before.