The Crown: polishing its crown jewels and back open for business

The popular park-side Crown pub in Bow reopens after its refurbishment, just four weeks after the project commenced.

The beginning of May saw The Crown pub in Bow close for refurbishment. Owned by the British Pub chain Youngs, the local gastro-pub has been transformed and refreshed, and is now back open for business.

Just four weeks ago, the well loved pub underwent a serious face lift. With a fresh lick of paint, new bar, furniture, and new upstairs function area, the Victorian style pub appears modernised and cool. The recognisable grey exterior has transformed into a deep, bluey grey.

The Crown pub is estimated to have opened in 1860. Since then, the East End pub has stood resolute in the face of 160 years’ worth of change, two world wars, seven monarchs, and even a pandemic. Its prime location on Grove Road, and being merely metres away from Victoria Park, has meant the Victorian building has become quite the local hang-out. Although the East End appears much different to how it was in the 1800s, the love for pubs and saloons has yet to disappear.

The building is listed, so not much could be changed to its structure. Although the iconic ‘Saloon Bar’ sign has remained the same since its launch. Over the years, the pub has grown and changed along with the community it provides pints for.

The Crown bar after refurbishment

Aline Schoder, general manager of The Crown and part time photographer enthusiast, moved to London from Germany in the 90s. Since then, her part time work as bar staff unexpectedly developed into being manager of The Crown for the last eight years.

‘I didn’t expect to be here’ she smiles, ‘but I love it. Serving customers and meeting all kinds of people. From yummy mummies to young hipsters or old regulars. I love being part of this community’. 

The gastro-pub has remained a fond location in many Eastenders’ hearts, and a call out on Facebook unearthed a lot of fond memories. One said, ‘My mum and dad had their wedding reception there and years later I had my wedding reception there as well’. Another commented, ‘Had the children’s baptism party there – it was perfect’. Another recalled the love her nan had for the pub, where she would be taken often as a young girl. Another local called it ‘a proper East End pub’. 

Schoder explains her ambitions for the upgraded pub. ‘I want to continue to be the hotspot for the community, and bring all people from all walks of life together. We are planning new events including pub quizzes, new menus and we’re starting to become popular for bigger events in the upstairs function room!’

But what do the regulars think of the new upgrade? ‘They love it’ chuckles Schoder, ‘they think it’s gorgeous and different, feels like the pub again’. One local commented on the Facebook callout, ‘such a lovely pub and a regular haunt, I popped in just yesterday. Pub refurbs can destroy the feel of a pub but this one has been done superbly well’.

While speaking to Schoder, in a brand new, lavish booth, some of the locals came in, including Mary Pimm and her husband, who have been regulars at The Crown for years. ‘We really like it!’, exclaims Pimm when asked about the new look. ‘The new upstairs is fantastic and we’ve already asked about booking our golden wedding anniversary here in four years!’ 

It is often said that change can be a bad thing, but in The Crown’s case this couldn’t be further from the truth. Over the 162 years it has been running, it has continued to transform, from bright blue exteriors, to white, or grey. However, like its famous sign, the nature of the pub has always remained the same, a well loved local boozer that holds invaluable memories of the community it serves.

The Crown bar before refurbishment

Enjoyed this article? Check out our list of best sport pubs around the Roman.

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