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Crown Liquor Saloon
Crown Liquor Saloon Review
Opposite the Europa Hotel on Great Victoria Street and owned by the National Trust (the United Kingdom's official conservation organization), the Crown is one of Belfast's glories. It began life in 1826 as the Railway Tavern; in 1885 the owner asked Italian craftsmen working on churches in Ireland to moonlight on rebuilding it, and its place in Irish architectural pub history was assured. The bar has richly carved woodwork around cozy snugs (cubicles—known to regulars as "confessional boxes"), leather seats, color tile work, and an abundance of mirrors. An ostentatious box of delights, it has been immaculately preserved—it is still lighted by gas. The pièce de résistance is the embossed ceiling with its swirling arabesques and rosettes of burnished primrose, amber, and gold, as dazzling again now as the day it was installed. The Crown claims to serve the perfect pint of Guinness—so no need to ask what anyone's drinking—and you can order a great plateful of warming Irish stew. When you settle down in your snug, note the little gunmetal plates used by the Victorians for lighting their matches as well as the newly restored antique push-button bells for ordering another round. Ageless, timeless, and classless—some would say the Crown is even priceless.
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