This was the second Good Beer Guide pub that I went to in Acton, the other being the Red Lion and Pineapple. It was a strange first impression, as I entered the pub and the first room was empty (well, it had furniture, just no people), then the second room was the same and then the third room, which was the bar, was empty other than for a member of bar staff who seemed to be cleaning. It was one of those experiences whether I was wondering whether I’d wandered into a pub that wasn’t open yet.
But, all was well, it transpired that the pub had just opened at 16:00 and I’d meandered in a few minutes after that, so they likely weren’t expecting many customers at that point. The staff member was friendly and engaging, willingly explaining that there was one dark beer option that met my requirements.
This photo is of the main bar area, with fermentation tanks at the rear of the room, as the pub brews its own beer, trading as the Dragonfly Brewery. In 1958, the pub was advertising that it had opened a new ballroom and restaurant, which I assume would have been in this room. They also advertised “West End Cuisine at Moderate Prices” and this is clearly a location that has seen many weddings and functions over the decades. Like most pubs, the premises were also used to hold inquests into deaths, something which might be seen as a little macabre today. I’m not sure that the Queen of Iceni would be an ideal location to debate how someone had died whilst people are queueing for their unlimited refills of coffee.
The pub actually has a screen which lists the beer, which is clear and well presented, although I didn’t see it at first as it’s only noticeable when leaving the bar.
The beer that I opted for, the Clout Stout from the Clouded Minds brewery. It might have been because the beer was served just a touch cold that I struggled to get many flavours from this stout, although it had a generally pleasant and refreshing taste to it. There are meant to be tastes of malts, cocoa, dried fruits and figs, although they went over my head (or over my palate, whatever is the most appropriate phrase).
This is the second room that I mentioned earlier. There’s a lot of history evident in this building, something that I very much like. This was once a pub that was a stop-off for anyone travelling from London to Oxford, and they’re proud of their list of landlords dating back to 1759 which are on a board in the pub.
And the first room, where customers enter from the road. It seems that this first room dates to the eighteenth century, whilst the second room is earlier, from around the seventeenth century. The building itself wasn’t mauled about in the nineteenth century, a fate which befell most other similar premises in the area, but was originally two separate houses when it was constructed in the seventeenth century.
This is a communal table, a nice idea for when the pub is busy. There’s also a bit of a stage in this room, as there is live music offered, something which reading in old newspapers the pub has been known for over the last few decades. The pub also serves Thai food, although I didn’t see any menus, so that might start a little later on in the evening.
I sufficiently liked this venue to make it my first candidate for my pub of the year….. There’s a quirky edge to the pub, which is clearly full of history, with a welcoming feel to it. All very lovely.