Historic pub with ‘snob screens’ to protect women is so good it’s now protected

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Built in 1856, the Prince Alfred in Maida Vale, west London, has rare etched glass ‘snob screens’ that were originally designed to provide privacy to women ordering at the ladies’ bar. Still a popular venue, the pub retains many of its original features including the so-called snob screens, as well as detailed high ceilings and interior features dating back to the Victorian era. The building has been granted Grade II* listed status to help protect and preserve the heritage so good

The Prince Alfred has five bar compartments divided by screens and each one has its own entrance and low door to allow ‘pot boys’ through for glass collection. The pub has been featured in several films including David Bowie’s Grammy Award-Winning Jazzin’ For Blue Jean and in the music video for his song Blue Jean.

According to MyLondon, chief executive of Historic England Duncan Wilson said: “At a time when many historic pubs in England are susceptible to change or at risk of closure, we are pleased to celebrate pubs that have kept their remarkable interiors. These rare interiors help tell the fascinating story of pubs over the centuries and how they reflected society.”

Historic England worked with the Campaign for Real Ale (CAMRA) to protect historic pubs and their interiors. Paul Ainsworth, the campaign’s chair, said: “Times are tough for all pubs at the moment, including those with important historic interiors. The more protection they can receive, the better.”

Grade II* listed status means the building is particularly important and of more than special interest. According to Historic England, only five per cent of listed buildings are Grade II*. Buildings can also be Grade II, which means they are of special interest, and Grade I, which means they are of exceptional interest.

The Prince Alfred, in Formosa Street, is located tight by picturesque Little Venice and they serve up huge varieties of pub grub. The menu includes classics like burgers and fish and chips alongside more modern dishes like duck breast with artichoke puree and beetroot and freekeh wellington.

On Sundays, they do a Sunday roast with choices between pork, beef, chicken and a vegan option. There’s also a brunch menu with lots of sandwiches and an extensive cocktail menu. Reviewers love the pub’s food and atmosphere as one wrote “Great place to come and eat with great food and drinks. If you love table-side magic tricks then this is the best place in London to come and eat at” and another called the food “delicious”.

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