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Crown and Two Chairmen

31–32 Dean Street Soho London W1D 3SB

For decades an old-school Soho boozer, a favourite after-work local for Dean Street’s film folk, the Crown has transformed itself with grace into an on-trend gastro-pub for a young, boho crowd. It’s an easy place to like – nothing feels forced, and the place has an effortless, comfortable cachet: not too gussied up, with a spacious open-plan room, wood-and-flagstone floor, and bare walls adorned with just one photo of a dog and a couple of old-fashioned lamps that appear to have been almost an afterthought. The white tiles behind the warm wooden bar – and the tucked away wood-panelled back room with elbow-to-elbow banquettes – pay homage to the pub’s historical stature in this booziest of London neighbourhoods.There’s a great number of real ales available, with craft beers and interesting bottled varieties from around the world, along with well-chosen wines and ciders. The food is good, too – seasonally changing modern British standards in the invariably buzzing upstairs dining room, or fancy bar snacks (beer-battered black pudding, salt and pepper squid, English cheeses) downstairs in the pub. They do brunch on a Saturday and a good Sunday roast – complete with the papers and a pile of boardgames – just like your favourite neighbourhood local.

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