After several weeks of planning, on Friday our very own Crown Liquor Saloon in Belfast welcomed Prince Harry and Meghan Markle as part of their pre wedding tour of Northern Ireland. The couple chose to visit the pub, which is one of the most historic and ornate pubs in Belfast, to not only see the building for themselves, but also to enjoy a private lunch in one of the confessional-style snugs.
The visitors were welcomed to the Crown by RBM Alan Campbell, General Manager Andy Dickinson and ABM Simon Prudames and were keen to understand the history and significance of the building. Built in the Victorian period, and like a lot of Nicholson’s pubs, heralded as being a former Gin Palace, the interior of the pub includes a host of original features, from still working gas lighting to confessional style snugs with original gun metal plates for striking matches, an antique bell calling system for alerting staff within each snug to amazing stained glass windows throughout. Prince Harry asked if the “place was rocking last Saturday for the rugby” and was most surprised to be informed by Andy that the business in fact has no TV’s! He also was surprised to learn that 120,000 pints of Guinness were sold by the pub last year.
The pair then met some local young people, including up and coming musicians and comedians, that had been invited by the Northern Ireland Office before moving into a booth for their private lunch. The couples meals were prepared by two of the Crown’s chefs Tammy Glendinning and Kitchen team Leader JP Cluskey before being delivered to the table by Tammy. During the meal the visitors table was attended to by another couple of our FOH team Jade Dornan and team leader Connor McGowan. The couple enjoyed a selection of our local menu options with Prince Harry opting for Sausage and Champ and Meghan choosing Irish Stew. This was washed down with a half Guinness and ½ pint of local cask ale Mourne Gold.
After finishing their lunch and some 90 mins into their visit they left to go and meet and greet well-wishers who had gathered in their thousands out on Great Victoria Street that had been closed off especially for this event. Immediately on leaving, GM Andy was inundated with requests for interviews from BBC, ITV, UTV, BBC NI, Sky, CNN who were all keen to know who the couple had talked to and most importantly what they had eaten, you will probably have seen him on all the news programmes on Friday night!
The following is a link to an interview conducted with GM Andy by the Northern Ireland Office:
This is a Royal coup for the pub, so if you are heading to Belfast then be sure to pop in.