Top Writers Pubs. The King & Queen, Fitzrovia, W1. Bob Dylan, Withnail and not I.

Posted by Nick Hennegan on Saturday, March 4, 2017 Under: Hennegan's Best Bohemian Literary Pubs
There are many pubs in Fitzrovia, just North of Oxford Street in Central London, W1 and most have some claim to fame, but the King & Queen, on Foley Street, in the shadow of the Post Office Tower, is a personal favourite for a number of reasons - although chiefly, as with most decent boozers - because of the staff.  
It's what we would call a ‘proper’ pub.  It's part of a small chain now, I think.  According to the website, it's been owned by the family run LEA Taverns since 1985, and a jolly good job they've done too.
Like most of the city centre pubs, I've not been there often for last orders and it has TVs and a juke box.  But importantly for places to find inspiration, the vibe is good.  And the staff are smart in that old-fashioned, no-nonsense way.  The second time I went in there, on a fairly busy Friday night, I did single myself out by asking to take a pic of their classic old till, but then I perched on a seat at the end of the bar with a pint of what I call ‘cooking’ lager. Lower alcohol.  Carlsberg, in this case.  Just as I'd finished it, one of the barmen, faced with a busy onslaught of other customers, noticed I'd finished and nodded to me.  “Same again?”  Classy.



It's a reasonable place to write in too.  Prices are not too bad.  Wifi is good.  They do food at lunchtimes, although I've not tried it.  There's quite a young vibe, but it's a real mixed crowd and in spite of its city centre location, there's a smattering of locals.  I got chatting to one chap - a Mathematician - who has lived nearby for over twenty years.  He frequents the K&Q precisely because of the staff .  “They  have a low turnover of staff here”, he told me.  “It makes a difference to the ambience of the pub.”  And he’s right.  It does. 
They have a function room upstairs too and not only is there a regular folk club, but one of the best spoken word events  in town - ‘In Yer Ear’ happens monthly.  Ish.  It's run by Covent Garden resident and Soho regular,  Dave The Hat, a good and true man with ties to Julia Bell, erstwhile writer and head of Birkbeck’s acclaimed Creative Writing course.  Even though I consider them friends and I’ve had them both on my radio show, they are both soooooo cool, they almost frighten me a bit.
The K&Q is also the place where non other than Bob Dylan performed.  Yep,not only did he take his name from Dylan Thomas, another local, it was Dylan's first gig outside the good old US of A.  The story has it that in the days when the BBC could do such things, they hired him as an actor - to play the part of an American Folk Singer!  Apparently his acting wasn't too good, but while he was in the area, he thought he'd get his box and ‘Monica out and play a few tunes at the local boozer.  His performance in the pub was much more successful than his performance on the telly, apparently.  No surprise there then!
It's worth a visit even if you don't want to write.  This area of Fitzrovia is slowly but surely being overwhelmed by new build flats for millionaires, and I fear for its future.  But the King has retained many of its original features and you wouldn't be surprised if Withnail walked in, resplendent in Trenchcoat and asked for the finest wines known to man.  The staff at the K&Q would, I’m sure, help him out.

🍷🍷🍷🍷 This pub changed the world.  Wear tweeds.

In : Hennegan's Best Bohemian Literary Pubs 



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Nick Hennegan Hello. I'm Nick Hennegan and I started the London Literary Pub Crawl. Most of the blogs on here will be by me. I've always written but my first theatrical success was an adaptation of Shakespeare's 'Henry V' (www.HenryVPlay.com) I founded Maverick Theatre in 1994. (www.MaverickTheatre.co.uk) This pub crawl is really more a promenade theatre performance than a tour and I'm running it with a bunch of enthusiastic local actors and writers. I love sharing my passion for the area and the artists. I also present a radio show on Resonance 104.4fm - London's Arts Station and a podcast on our site. If you haven't visited us in London yet, I hope you'll come soon. And feel free to leave comments or email me at nick @ LondonLiteraryPubCrawl.com - I reply to them all and I love to hear from you.

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