Crown Liquor Saloon has more the feel of 'Dodge city' about it rather than that of an Irish watering hole.
The place is widely regarded as one of the best examples of the Edwardian mania for incredibly ornate pubs. As such it is owned by the Nation trust and leased to a company.
The mixture of gas lamps, tiling and mirrors is ceratinly very impressive, although some feel that it is not maintained to 'museum standard'.
It is, remember, a working pub rather than a museum piece. Opinions are certainly divided about the quality of beer, food and service in the place. Some see it as a tourist trap, others as an authentic part of Belfast life.
I would also question the quality of the clientelle. Last time I was there the bloke in the booth area (sort of box shared by about 8 people around a central table) who I was chatting with proceeded to eat a snack from a packet. No problem there...until he went on to pull out a frighteningly sharp nine-each hunting knife from his sports bag and pick the bits out between his teeth with it.
I also rather like the story about how the pub got it's name. It was originally owned by a couple who were 'mixed' (i.e One protestant and one Catholic). The proddy insisted on putting 'crowns' in the design. The Catholic one responded by inserting them in the floor - so you would walk on the Queen's head everytime you went in or out of the place !
Its a Belfast instutions opposite the Europa Hotel (formerly the most bombed hotel in Europe), inside its very dark and most of the seating is behind booths... very nice once you met your friends, but could cause confusion as everyone gathers...
Its a good place to meet when arriving or leaving by bus or rail.... the station is at the far end of the shopping centre, adjacent to the Europa Hotel...
Historical Pub Tours of Belfast
No visit to Belfast would be complete without a trip around it's famous and historic pubs.The hospitality of Belfast city and it's people is legendary and there's no better way to enjoy the 'craic'and the banter with the locals than over a few Baileys