The Crown Liquor Saloon is a Victorian Gothic public house (or Gin Palace) which is owned by the National Trust (one of 61 owned by the NT!). It is still run as a very popular pub. This is how the NT website describes the place.
“The most famous pub in Belfast. Wonderful atmospheric setting, with period gas lighting and cosy snugs. Ornate interior of brightly coloured tiles, carvings and glass.
The exterior is decorated in polychromatic tiles. This includes a mosaic of a Crown on the floor of the entrance. The interior is also decorated with complex mosaics of tiles. The red granite topped bar is of an altar style, with a heated footrest underneath and is lit by gas lamps on the highly decorative carved ceilings.
Built to accommodate the pub’s more reserved customers during the austere Victorian period, the snugs feature the original gun metal plates for striking matches and an antique bell system for alerting staff. Extra privacy was then afforded by the pub’s etched and stained glass windows. See if you can see the fairies, pineapples, fleurs-de-lis and clowns.”
The Crown was acquired by the National Trust in 1978 following a campaign to save it led by Sir John Betjeman among other. In 1978 £400,000 was spent on its restoration and further restoration was carried out in 2007 at a cost of £500,000. This ensured it was returned to its Victorian state.
The Crown Liquor Saloon is directly opposite the Europa Hotel – which used to be known as the ‘most bombed pub in the world’ – during the Troubles it was bombed 28 times. It has hosted Presidents, Prime Ministers and celebrities, it was the main accommodation for journalists covering the Troubles who dubbed it the ‘Hardboard Hotel’. The Crown Liquor Saloon due to its close proximity to the Europa often became collateral damage from the bombs.
Great trip to Ireland!