It’s a bit like walking into a library, except the books have all been replaced by bottles of wine – this is clearly a place which values its vino.

However, glancing along the long, heavy wooden bar I was pleased to see they hold their ale in high esteem too.

To start with I selected a pint of one of my old favourites, Doombar. I’m not saying every pint is perfect but over the years I’ve found it a safe bet and once again I wasn’t disappointed.

Then, reaching for my notebook I realised to my horror I’d forgotten my specs. Seeing that I was searching for reading glasses I was politely directed to the pub’s glasses rack where punters have a choice of pairs with varying strengths – what an excellent service. So, the very fact you can read this report is down to the service on offer at The Crown and Anchor.

I would describe this as a quality establishment, the décor is classy, without being over fussy.

Sam the barman says he works every day and only likes to take half days as holidays – apparently he finds this more relaxing.

Once I’ve paid my £3.80 I wandered off for a looksee and discovered a whole shelf full of board games. There are no fruities, no quiz machines, no darts, no screens, no pool, no jukebox. No, this is definitely not the place for that stuff, it’s for drinking and talking.

Personally I wasn’t eating but there was a family of five, three in uniforms, all tucking into some great fish and chips. Mind you at £11.50, I hope they’d taken advantage of some kids’ portions. This is a real foodie pub and I’m sure the grub is great but it isn’t cheap. If I had been eating I don’t think I’d have been able to resist the masala style swordfish I spotted on the specials board at £14.

If I’d also gone for the London Pale Ale, which is 4.2 per cent and on tap, that would have cost me a further £5.50. I thought this was expensive but I’m told they sell loads of it and people are queueing up to pay the price.

I suppose you can get away with it if you call it a craft beer.

Actually while I’m on the subject of hard-earned cash, have you noticed that when pubs get redecorated in light grey and olive green paint they immediately think they can jack the prices up by 25 per cent?

My host had begun rearranging his wine bottles proudly and was adjusting every label meticulously.

No wonder he can’t take a full day off.

I asked how the pub managed without screens and machines and he said they were happy being a foodie pub, leaving the footie and other sports to bars like Preston Brewery Tap, a few paces down the road.

In fact, he didn’t even see the Tap as competition saying the Park View, five minutes along Preston Drove, was the real competitor.

Mind you, he was confident enough about his pub’s qualities to say he even recommends the Park View occasionally, knowing the punters will prefer The Crown and Anchor and return.

Two girls had now come in and were working out a half share on a bottle of red at £17.90. Yes, this place takes its wine and its maths seriously, though they made it very clear they weren’t staying for the quiz at 9pm.

I had moved on to my second, a London Man, which slipped down really easily.

Wandering off again I came across another, even better stocked shelf, which contained the pub’s tuck shop.

Rows of old fashioned sweet jars containing every colourful delight you can imagine – a great idea and perfect addition to any pub.

Pleasant, helpful staff, sweets galore, good ale – why wouldn’t you pay this one a visit?


Decor: ★★★★ (Out of five)

Tasteful and trendy without being over the top.

Drink: ★★★★

Well stocked and well kept.

Price: ★★★

Not cheap, but £3.40 for London Man really isn’t bad.

Atmosphere: ★★★

It is what you make it.

Staff: ★★★★

Welcoming and helpful.

Food: N/A

I didn’t eat but it looked and smelt good.