Top Bohemian Boozers. No 2. The King and Queen.

THE KING & QUEEN, FITZROVIA, W1.  BOB DYLAN, WITHNAIL, BUT NOT I.

The King and Queen

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 as well. Prices are not too bad. Wifi is good. They do food at lunchtimes, although I’ve not tried it. An old pub, there’s quite a young vibe, in its one single bar, 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’ used to happen here. 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 (you can hear them on the London Literary Pub Crawl  Podcast page) they are both soooooo cool, they almost frighten me.

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, but it was Bob 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.

http://thekingandqueenpub.com

Sherlock Holmes, Tron the Movie and Robin Williams!

Summary:

Nick Hennegan talks to writer Bonnie MacBird about her new series of Sherlock Holmes novels; how she came to work in Hollywood and created and wrote the Tron series of films – and how she discovered comedian Robin Williams!

www.BohemianBritain.com

For further information about Bonnie MacBird visit: http://www.macbird.com 

Twitter:@macbird / Instagram: bmacbird

— Send in a voice message: https://anchor.fm/londonliterarypubs/message

Transcription

Inside the Royal Society of Literature

Summary

Nick Hennegan talks to Annette Brook and Daljit Nagra from the Royal Society of Literature in London, about a 200 year old institution with a very modern outlook.

www.rsliterature.org 

https://bohemianbritain.com — Send in a voice message: https://anchor.fm/londonliterarypubs/message

Transcription

Welcome to Bohemian Britain!

This website has just been launched. It’s an accumulation of around 40 years of a chaotic career, stumbling success and acclaimed failure. I’ve been writing, recording and following mad notions and ideas all my adult life… and one of my podcasts has just been voted No 2 in the top ten bohemian podcasts on the web!

Photo by Meru Bi on Pexels.com

So I thought I’d try and put all this stuff in one place. Theatre, broadcasting, writing, music, publishing and podcasts. And, of course, I love Britain. I’ve been all around the UK (mainly because I’ve not been able to afford foreign holidays!) Friends give me a cottage in Wales for a few weeks every year. My family is from Ireland. I’m about to bring out a ‘Good Pubs Guide’. For writers. It’s not about the beer, but the ambience. The semiotics of a bar. So watch this space. And please feel free to get involved and comment. Or if you’re a creator and you have a favourite pub, please write a 500 word review and send it in. The fee is one pint on acceptance – one pint on publication. My kind of deal…!

Nick x

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SpeakEasy Cabaret 2

Summary

Recorded live at theWheatsheaf Pub in Soho for Nick Hennegan’s Resonance 104.4FM radio show ‘Literary London’. This episode features two memoirs; a moving recollection by Nick himself from his BRMB Radio days and an hilarious story from writer Zoe Antoniades’ youth! — Send in a voice message: https://anchor.fm/londonliterarypubs/message

Transcription

Virgin writers and the SpeakEasy Cabaret

Summary

Nick Hennegan launches a new book he’d like you to write for – about pubs – and we go inside a pub to hear 2 new writers at Nick’s SpeakEasy Cabaret night in Soho. Recorded before restrictions. Part Two next week.  — Send in a voice message: https://anchor.fm/londonliterarypubs/message

Transcription

The Bloomsbury Festival, London.

Summary

Nick Hennegan talks to Rosemary Richards, director of the Bloomsbury Festival about Bloomsbury, coping with COVID, filming live events and the future. Broadcast on ‘Literary London’ on Resonance FM, you can also see the interview on the Maverick Theatre Company’s YouTube channel at https://youtu.be/PWTjtEZtfbo

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Tolkien, Kipling and Covid!

Summary

Nick Hennegan returns to Literary London on Resonance 104.4fm celebrating a death and a birthday, from the Lord of the Rings and Jungle Book creators . And get in touch if you’ve been effected by Covid 19. Nick’s making a show about it!

Send in a voice message: https://anchor.fm/londonliterarypubs/message