The first in an occasional series of places I like that are there in plain sight, or sometimes hidden away, but generally overlooked by the passing public. This is in an unprepossessing spot, the one-way system around Gray’s Inn Road at 66, Acton St, and is virtually invisible from the exterior – except that on a summer’s night there is usually a crowd around it – a good sign.
The Queen’s Head is a gem of a pub that appears to have been deep-frozen around 1935. It has ale festivals, comedy nights, folk sessions, blues & roots nights, quizzes and singsongs at the piano as well as a very relaxed attitude to closing time, which may or may not be midnight.
There’s a piano and board games and magazines dating back to the 1920s, and beer barrels and old oak tables, and the kind of lighting that no longer exists in pubs – there’s also, oddly, a youngish hip crowd who can’t possibly realise how untouched the pub is.
The only shock is emerging into a horrible road choked with Tesco trucks and realising that, dammit, it’s the present day.