Instantly, the George IV wins a prize for the most attractive exterior in K-Town, with its cascading foliage and corner plot, a real sun-trap in the summer months. And yet when – if ever – did you last have a pint there?

It was a question we pondered as we sat in its equally charming interior, naughty Monday lunchtime Kronenburg in hand, admiring the old signs, jumble of paintings, and wonky red lights. The pub dates from 1870, its name taken from a boozer that stood a century earlier on the opposite corner (what is now Spring Place).

George IV extThere was a lively crowd drinking at the bar, so we grabbed a table in the corner to spend a moment perusing the red faux leather-bound menu. And dear god, it’s an extensive offering: classic sandwiches (from a bargainous £2), and “de-lux” versions with names like hit movies from the 1980s – Casino Special (roast beef, turkey, iceberg) or Florida Melt (tuna sweetcorn peppers). Then – deep breath – there are Danish open sandwiches, piled high with things like duck and orange pate, or the enigmatic Tuna Aztec Pyramid. Pies abound too, including a steak and kidney (£3.45). And finally, a full page of “platters if you’re hungry”, a daunting roll call of salads groaning with various cold meats, cheeses and slaw. Phew.

George IV club sarnieWe opted for a simple farmhouse cheddar and pickle (£2.30) and shared a turkey and bacon New York Club sarnie with chips, coleslaw and salad (£4.30). And both were spot on: springy fresh white bread, a rich mature cheese and fruity chutney, nicely-cooked bacon the right side of crisp without gristle or fat, and a rich old slaw to thicken the arteries on a cold weekday morning.

The damage? Two lunches and two pints of lager clocked in at around £13, fantastic value, with friendly service. A downside is the drinks offering, sadly perfunctory in a Bulmers-Websters-Fosters kinda way.

But no matter. What we loved most was the pub’s oasis feel in this industrial corner of NW5, much appreciated after a morning spent fiendishly subbing our March print edition (due out next Thursday folks). And, furthermore, it’s proof that a traditional boozer can still survive in Kentish Town without changing what it does best.

Words & Pics: Stephen Emms

[box] Lunch for two with drinks £10-15. 76 Willes Road NW5. Kentishtowner Rating 7/10 [/box]

About The Author

Group editor and publisher of London Belongs To Me, a family of cultural guides to London neighbourhoods

9 Responses

    • Kentishtowner

      As we say, the drinks offering is quite standard, Martin. And a shame the excellent Camden Brewery ales aren’t on tap, especially as they’re so near by.

      Reply
  1. Dudisimo

    Sounds as though it’s changed a bit since the last few times I was in there, when it was as dead as a doornail. Maybe the influence of the Lycée next door?

    Reply
  2. Brian

    Confused over whether they sell real ale. On the couple of times I have been there I had the impression that they had real ale but it had run out. What is meant by ” the drinks offering is quite standard” and in a “Bulmers Webster way”? Happily it is becoming standard to have real ale but not clear from your report if it has. Did I miss something?

    Brian

    Reply
    • Kentishtowner

      No real ale as far as we could see, Brian. And no interesting lagers either other than Kronenburg etc. But feel free to pop down and report back as our emphasis was firmly on lunch.

      Reply
  3. Sir Boldness

    Danni Lamb reviewed 8 months ago on google…

    Atmosphere Poor to fair Decor Poor to fair Service Poor to fair

    This is a terrible pub. Dingy decor (apart from the outside, which does look very nice with the flowers in hanging baskets), terrible service from rude, surly staff, flat tonic, off beer. Absolutely awful experience from start to finish. Never going back.

    Reply

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