Housed in a delightful corner plot, adorned with hanging baskets in bloom, sporting immaculate crimson velour banquettes and boasting quasi Art Deco stained glass windows, The Golden Eagle on Marylebone Lane in London’s affluent W1 seems quite the metropolitan idyll.
Its bold red paintwork, Fleur-de-Lys patterned carpet and idiosyncratic decorative features provide just enough diversion to occupy the idle, wandering eye of any afternoon loper. And the beer, while nothing to cross the street for, is reassuringly well kept. I’m even satisfyingly amused by the notice on the wall that advertises ‘Tony Fingers at the Piano’.
Throw in the paintings on the wall, the badly written ‘Toilets are downstairs’ sign above the door to said lavatories and the frequently replenished vases of flowers attended by the local florist and you’ve got what should happily add up to a quality pub experience. Even the piped music is half decent. So I should by rights be booking myself in for an extended afternoon on this, my first visit. But I just can’t be arsed with it.
No reason, on the surface, but just a general feeling of blandness. Of pastiche. Of a lack of real character. Of trying a bit too hard? Don’t get me wrong this pub is absolutely fine and better than many in the area. But as we all know there are several meanings of the word ‘fine’ and this one is firmly in the ‘satisfactory’ camp.
Perhaps its refurbishment is too recent for it to have acquired the all-important character it seems to lack. I want to like it because it has everything I need in a pub. And maybe that’s the issue. There’s nothing obvious to criticise and so it inspires little passion. And for that, it’s in the right part of town.