So there I was with my sister having a yuletide stroll down Upper Street when we felt like a beer, and as the day was chilly and we were passing The King’s Head Theatre Pub we decided to stop by for a drink.
The King’s Head is a beautiful Victorian pub with a roaring fireplace, ready-to roast marshmallows and pictures on the wall of all the famous stars of the screen and stage who have passed through its doors.
I love pubs like this because, although the current incarnation dates from the 1800s, there had been a pub on this ground since 1543, when it was known as The King’s Head Tavern, named after King Henry viii who used to stop for a flagon of ale on his way to see his mistress. We do not know which mistress but it is fair to assume he had a good number.
I’m not one for roasting marshmallows but it does look terrific fun and the people doing it looked very festive and cosy, all tucked up close to the fire. I, on the other hand, opted for one of their sausage rolls and a scotch egg. These aren’t any old scotch eggs; they are like a meal in themselves, and just as I was tucking in I hear a kerfuffle and a man singing in the corner.
At first I thought he must be a drunk but his voice was remarkably good. He was singing in English and it appeared to be La Boheme. Then the doors flung open, letting in a gush of fresh, cold winter’s air, and in strode a beautiful woman in fur. She was also started to sing and ended up on the bar, to the delight of everyone in the pub. This turned out to be Caroline Kennedy, an opera singer who was in that particular production of La Boheme. The first act had been in the theatre out back which was founded by Dan Crawford in 1970, the first theatre pub in London since Shakespeare’s time, but they had decided to set the second act in the pub, just as it is in the opera.
The King’s Head Theatre is famous for nurturing new talent and if you get a chance to visit, you definitely should! Even if it’s just for a drink.
My sister and I enjoyed the experience so much that we bought tickets, went back and watched the whole opera!
I love the history, I love the impromptu visit and sudden music bursting out, the fire place and the whole Dickensian feeling of the experience.