Saturday, 19 September 2015

Prince of Wales, Shrewsbury

How best to describe the Prince of Wales. The pubs own website suggests 'Hidden Gem', which seems entirely legitimate to me. It might even be described as Shrewsburys best kept pub secret, certainly it's a little off the beaten track, though we found it easily enough. Indeed the landlady of the B&B we were staying in seemed reticent recommending the Prince of Wales to us, something to do with it being her local!

It can be like that with a well-loved locals pub, the last thing the regulars want is an influx of tourists and part time pub-goers clogging up the normal, efficient day-to-day service. But as we know, pubs need all the trade they can get these days, so I have absolutely no qualms in recommending this very fine pub to you, and urge you to seek it out the next time you visit Shrewsbury. Local Shrewsbury folk need no such urging, they've already found it, they're just not saying!

The view from the lounge to the Patio and Bowling Green
From the outside the pub presents itself as a fairly typical wide-fronted community local of a type which came to prominence in the inter-war years. These so-called 'improved' pubs were designed to replace some of the more 'earthy' Victorian and earlier boozers, and appeal to a wider range of tastes and social backgrounds. A feature of many was the inclusion of recreational facilities not primarily associated with drinking, and this period marked the beginnings of the dedicated beer garden proper. The wide frontage of the Prince of Wales gives a clue to the pubs star attraction. Not a beer garden but a full-size Crown Green Bowling Green which sees very regular use throughout the summer months.

If you've yet to witness a Crown Green Bowls match in progress this is probably the ideal place to see what all the fuss and noise is about (it's a far noisier game than its Flat Green relative). A raised patio overlooks the green, and there's plenty of 'stadium' style seating bordering the green for spectators (some rescued from the old Shrewsbury Town Football Club ground). It really is the perfect accompaniment to a cool pint on a warm summer evening.

Inside and to the left of the entrance is the public bar (above), home to the Darts Board and several raised-edge games tables suitable for the rattle and click of league Domino play. Dominoes is still very popular in Shropshire and the local Shrewsbury Domino League seems to be well supported in the more traditional pubs of the town.

A central bar serves both the bar and lounge. Originally a Border Breweries pub, the Prince of Wales is now free of tie, and when we visited the beer range included excellent local ales from Salopian and Three Tuns breweries. The pub is the current (2015) Shrewsbury CAMRA Pub of the Year.

The sharpening stone, grooves worn deep from many years of restoring a sharp point to Darts.

1 comment:

John Penny said...

Great to see a pub with a Bowling Green. Many have been lost for car parks over the years as mentioned in the excellent book 'Played at the pub' by Arthur Taylor. Was pleased to see 'The Waterloo' televised this past week, the ultimate Crown Green competition apparently! This one looks a little rough around the edges but who cares? It all adds to the vagaries of the game. Pleased to see the pub in the 2016 Good Beer Guide, and your description reinforces the small amount allowed in said book. Definitely one to look out for.