Local Spot: The Crown and Anchor
As I’ve said before, sadly there isn’t much of a community hub in my local area, except a couple of pubs, a deli, a lot of estate agents and a Sainsbury’s Local. Consequently I spend most of my free time around other communities such as Sydney Street or Fiveways for a spot to write, read and enjoy some great coffee, or trying various places around town for dinner. But of course, I can’t spend every night eating dinner out – as much as I’d love – so I thought it was time I checked out a local spot. I know, after a year, it’s embarrassing and I’m a bad ambassador for local living.
The Crown and Anchor is a pub situated almost directly opposite Preston Park on a corner of London road and North road and, for all intents and purposes, looks a fairly attractive pub to spend a bit of time.
I’m going to be honest. The main reason we decided to go and check it out was because.. well, we had both just downloaded Pokémon Go and needed and excuse to go catching. Actually, I’m not as embarrassed as I thought I would be about this. It was one of the sunniest and warmest evenings we’ve had for a while, and we distinctly remembered seeing a sign outside the pub before for 2-4-1 burgers on a Thursday.
Burgers and Pokémon – great stuff. Oh, and the pub just so happens to be a Poké Stop.
I can’t believe I’d never noticed before, but the pub is huge inside! Peering in whilst walking past, I always thought the place seemed pretty empty, but I now realise there are different rooms and corners for people to sit in, and it’s quite charming for our local. The outside advertises a sun terrace, which always intrigued us, and actually provides a really nice amount of space with plenty of tables to enjoy your drinks or meal outside.
I’ll say it straight up before I discuss the food: I didn’t come here with intention of a food review, as I don’t generally expect much from pub food and we came to take advantage of a good deal. But I did think it might be an idea just to assess its potential as a local third place spot.
Burgers are usually £11 each on the menu, served with twice cooked chips and a small amount of salad. We ordered two, both with added bacon and cheese, a glass of Sauvignon and pint of Coors light which came to, hang on, under £18?! It seemed we didn’t get charged for additional toppings, and the menu didn’t specify topping prices so I can’t work out if this is the deal or just a happy mistake – but either way, it was incredibly cheap including the drinks and we got a great spot in the sun.
The “side salad” was essentially what you’d normally find in the burger itself but just on the plate, so a little underwhelming for a side but I often end up taking tomatoes out anyway. The burger itself looked pretty juicy and the brown seeded brioche roll made a bit of a change to your usual pub burger. It was also good to see a decent amount of cheese on the burger, as I hate places that scrimp over their toppings. Overall the taste wasn’t bad but it ranked on the more average end of the scale in comparison to some of the burgers available in the city, and a fair bit more expensive (usually) than a lot of them. The burger patty was pretty juicy with some tender pinkness inside, but lacked some sort of seasoning as the taste mainly came from the cheddar, and holding the bun left a fair amount of grease on my hands. Although much better than a Wetherspoons meal taste-wise, £11 seems a little steep for its everyday price and I don’t think I’d pay for it unless popping down for the handy 2-4-1 deal alongside some drinks. The chips were mostly good, your usually chunky pub type chips, although I couldn’t help but notice some tasted a lot like the oil they were cooked in.
So the meal was neither overwhelming nor underwhelming, it’s just kind of what we thought it would be and when you go in without high hopes, it’s alright. We were here to be nosey and have some drinks within walking distance of our place, which makes a nice change to the usual 20-30 minute walk to get anywhere else. Moreover, the staff seem pretty friendly here, greeting you as you enter and being the right amount of attentive throughout your visit.
For what it’s worth, The Crown & Anchor is a good local spot for some quiet and really reasonably priced drinks after a long day and, if you can’t be bothered to cook, a place to get some alright pub grub. Plus, the decent sun terrace makes a great spot for the summer evenings, especially as we don’t have the luxury of a garden at our flat. I’m looking forward to enjoying a few more glasses of Sauvignon Blanc as the warm evenings finally approach!
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** Update: Unfortunately, the cheap bill was a mistake on this visit! A recent drinks visit came to almost £10, suggesting that we had been undercharged first time around. So maybe not quite as reasonably priced as we had thought!