Part of our Best Pubs in London microsite. Is your local listed?
An old Clerkenwell favourite, the Three Kings was once famous for its raffish vibe in an area that was increasingly monied and by-the-book.
The pub's hanging sign (shown above) was a local landmark, a trio of Kings comprising Elvis, Henry VIII and King Kong. In real life, the three never met, yet were harmoniously grouped in said sign. Alas, it went missing a few years ago. It briefly returned, but has now been permanently retired in favour of a more sterile version.
And therein lies the wider tale of this pub. If you're walking in for the first time then the mismatched furniture and cosy bar space are perfectly charming. But if you remember it from old, then this is a step down from the crazy decor of bygone years.
We also miss the famous jukebox, which played classic 45s from decades ago, ones that only those with a long-service award in the music business had ever heard of. The beer choice, once commendable, is now simply run-of-the-mill, but you're not going to be served a bad pint, and there's plenty of choice by the bottle.
Sounds a bit like we're moaning. This is still a very nice pub, but it feels like an old friend gave up their rock and roll dreams to become a stock broker. That said, they still put on live music, so perhaps those dreams aren't entirely quashed.