Waterloo’s a no-nonsense part of London, all oil smells, and the clack of trains overhead. But in the noise, there are so many gems, and the Crown & Cushion is one of them.
It’s in many ways unremarkable, free of the frills and frivolities associated with the London Pub norm. There’s no Neck Oil here, no trendy chef, or 2-4-1 cocktail deals. This here is a pub, made like they used to & a darn good one at that. With exposed wood everywhere, this spot simultaneously channels the energy of a Western saloon with an old-school Guinness den. If you need a bite, you can grab some no-nonsense pub grub or pop into the Thai restaurant upstairs, but this isn’t the main attraction of the Cushion.
The unassuming, retro signage outside amidst the noise and din of Waterloo might pull you in, but what makes you stay is the genuine town tavern feel inside. Through the doors the vintage vibe continues, creating an effortlessly cool energy free of the shackles of trying to capture the trends of the day. Complete with a beer garden, this is a boozer you feel hasn’t changed in years, and its mixed patronage indicates this.
Inner-London locals prop up the bar while blokes who have recently got off the tools chew the fat on their day. Backpackers and young people passing through from Waterloo’s hostels drink alongside young professionals who have clocked that this is a far cooler spot than so many of the identikit pubs around the city.