It’s a dull grey day in London and I have a long evening ahead of me. It’s hot and sticky and I have a strange hankering for a hauf’n’hauf as I cross from one side of the capital to the other.
So I indulge myself (well, nobody else is going to).

The Rose and Crown is a short walk from a tube station halfway from where I’ve been and where I’m going, so I don’t see any need to do a lap before settling on a location.
I’ve drunk in this pub for 30 years, from when it was a dive where you ran the risk of dysentery if you drank anything that came through the pipes, through the fun years when it was run by Matt and Anna and was more of a community centre than pub, to the recent Shepherd Neame regime of Rory and Joel, which definitely had the best soundtrack.

When I enter, the pub is still, a deserted cool oasis in the metropolitan melee. Quirky and quiet.
I miss the old Rose and Crown. I miss its old community, largely displaced by office development, by flashy hotels and gastropubs, by million pound studio apartments and twenty million pound penthouses. I miss it’s earthy liveliness.. But this two hundred and fifty year old pub has outlived many young upstarts. and is still spreading the gospel to locals, tourists, regulars, satisfying rare old-time visitors like myself, and giving a first-taste of British pub life to the-high energy neighbourhood English language school, which over the years served up so many interesting bar-staff from all over the globe.

I go for a Glenlivet Founders Reserve, August’s malt of the month here at Liquid Sunshine, with a Spitfire lager.

I’ve been a firm fan of Shepherd Neame’s brews since the 90s and they’ve crafted some excellent ales in their time. I loved their Frosty winter ale, which disappeared quicker than they could deliver it. Full-strength Spitfire was a truly tasty treat on a dark winters night. Hell, I even liked the Masterbrew as a session ale. As they should, being Britain’s oldest craft brewer, hitting the hops since 1698.

The Spitfire lager is a respectful brew that may be perceived by some as light on flavour. Though cool and refreshing, I was looking for more of a dry lager taste. Never one to mope if a plan doesn’t go to, well, plan, I quickly move the drinks into the Recovery position by going into boilermaker mode.
It’s a great boilermaker.
The buttery, balanced Glenlivet works stands up for itself well in the wild. It adds depth to the lager, shining through in just the right proportions.

London changes daily, it’s the most vibrant and diverse place on the planet. Nothing stands still. That’s the attraction.
But pubs like the Rose and Crown, locals that have been around for hundreds of years, they’re London’s soul.