When a pub has a sizable entry on dubious fact emporium ‘Wikipedia’ you know that you’re probably in for a bit of a treat (I’d check it out if you are planning a trip). The George Inn certainly doesn’t disappoint and is one of the few pubs I’ve visited where you feel a palpable link to the past in the midst of a city which rushes relentlessly onwards to the future.
It’s easy to miss The George Inn as it’s set back from a busy main road through an archway between more modern terraces. In days long gone by the whole courtyard you walk into was encircled by a coaching house but now only one side remains to host a Grade I listed pub owned by The National Trust. What was once the inn part of the building is fronted by galleries so alarmingly askew you’d be forgiven for thinking that the effect was achieved deliberately. The remainder of the building radiates the impression that the builder got bored of cutting bits of wood to shape and simply slotted them together as best he could the way he found them and hoped for the best.
Inside you have a choice of rooms in which to rest your posterior. The bar is at the centre and offers a few window seats. This room is flanked by two very different drinking areas. The far room is slightly more spacious and I suspect more modern but still with a sympathetic restoration which doesn’t detract from the heritage. Make sure you look upwards as you pass the stairs to get an idea of the scale of this warren of a building. The drinking room closest to the road is far more antique with a low ceiling, dark varnished benches built into the walls and floorboards that’d give a spirit level a headache, it’s here that I’d retreat to enjoy my beer.
Given that this pub is owned by The National Trust you may be concerned that they only serve tea and cake and those little packets of two fingers of shortbread out of a doily lined basket next to the till. Fear not though because whilst not being the most spectacular beer selection in the world there is enough for it to be respectable.
I’d suggest this pub is perfect for two things. Firstly it’s a cracker for evening drinks in the summer as it’s got a huge courtyard with tons of seating which is a bugger to find in London, given that it’s right next to London Bridge and Borough too it’s simple to get to. Secondly it’s a really great place to escape the bustle and take things at a slower pace, especially if you’ve been at some of the nearby tourist hotspots like the Dungeons or the market (though if you are at the market you’d be crazy not to stop into The Market Porter). It’s a sure bet for both those things but you’re not likely to be disappointed if you swing by anytime.