The Royal George, Tanners Hill


A small, handsome Samuel Smiths pub, dominated by its bar and featuring a mix of regulars and arts tourists exploring Tanners Hill.

Last time we passed, we heard a gentleman from the former group telling someone who appeared to be from the latter group that 'people around here look after one-another' - which is what you want from a traditional boozer.

31 comments:

Tamsin said...

It also makes us smile when cutting through to Deptford Bridge and points East with its offer of "DINNING".

But nice to see a traditional pub still with its traditional name and existing clientele.

graeme said...

Gotta hand it to Sam Smiths business model (if that's what it is. I use phrases like that to appear clever). Making boozing affordable without resorting to the full-on Wetherspoon's experience. OK, so the beer isn't exactly the finest (though that could be down to the cellarman) but it's generally quite drinkable, and does the trick for a budget sesh.

I've never made it into the Royal George mind. It's always looked closed when I've gone past

Headhunter said...

I've been past this place a few times, didn't know it was Sam Smiths, they're always great, cheap places for a few beers. Does it have a quiz night?

Tyrwhitt Michael said...

It's shame it only does Sam Smith's keg and not their cask beer. As with the Chandos no Cask no custom from my viewpoint.

This also mean half the swanky bars in the West End miss out on my custom!

Bobblekin said...

Real nice boozer and would like it to be closer to Tressy rd - but as it is, I only pop in from time to time.

Pretty ont outside, tidy in.

Sam Smiths is a real enigma - they run some of the BEST pub boozers in central London, but I agree with prior posts.. how do they keep the prices down, is it the keg over the cask? Always a nice night, but suffer in the morning on their beer.

patrick1971 said...

"People around here look after each other" = code for people around here are clannish and insular. IMHO.

graeme said...

Bobblekin - s'cheap because there's no nasty pubco's in the supply chain who control the wholesale price, the choice of beer, and the rent on the pubs they own and lease to the tenant landlord. In this sytem, the tenant has to charge over 3 quid a pint to make a small profit.

Sam Smiths of course brew and supply their beer to their own pubs, but it does beg the question 'why can't other brewers do the same'? Except with beer that doesn't give you a bad head the next morning.

Tamsin said...

If I've got it right this is what used to be the system - smallish local brewers with 100 or so tied houses. Lovely. And you could tell as you moved through the countryside and were getting back onto your home turf as the "second billing" as it were on the inn-signs changed from Morrells to Arkells (or the like). But then some govermnent busy-body decided this was unfair and monopolistic and decreed that many of these tied houses had to be sold off. So they were. To foreign chains.

Anonymous said...

I have vivid memories of being made to feel very unwelcome because my face did not fit in with the then landlord's expectations.

I was a student at the time and new to the area. I did not realise that 'traditional' pubs like this were dominated by a few local families keen on 'lock ins' after the then closing time of 11pm.

The technique seemed to take loud exception to some breech of what they deemed to be common good manners. Embarrassed, you look around, puzzled and taken aback, never having been reprimanded for not asking permission before using a payphone. No glint of sympathy from anyone. You slope off home.

I had friends who had similar experiences. The pubs in the area were not welcoming to strangers. They had misanthropic landlords and inbred customers. It was 'East Enders' without the genetic diversity.

It was years ago now. But it rankles to this day.

You won't find me mourning the passing of these 'tradiional pubs'. The sooner they turn gastro or are transformed into 'retro-chic pied a terres', the better, in my opinion.

M said...

Sam Smiths Ayingerbrau is the work of the devil. Awful stuff that gives you a bad head AND the runs if you drink too much (as I used to regularly do at the Firzroy Tavern on Charlotte St.)
Cheap though - that's probably why we stuck with it.

Anonymous said...

" Look after one another "

This means If you upset one of them they all give you a good hiding.

Pete said...

We regularly used to have pints of "man in the box" from the Sam Smith's pub on the Strand when I was at university. Also when I was at school we did the same at the Malt Shovel in Oswaldkirk.

Matt-Z said...

Sam Smith's is a strange business, run by a mad chairman (a descendant of the original Sam Smith, who himself was related to John Smith, another big Yorkshire brewer of old). Apparently their business model is that they only put their prices up in line with tax rises and inflation. So when the chancellor puts 5p on a pint and Punch Taverns or whoever stick 25p on a pint and blame it on the taxman, Sam Smith's just put the actual increase on. Added to the fact mentioned before that they brew their own beer, distill their own spirits and even make their own wine, it's no wonder they can keep their prices well below standard highstreet fare.

As for the Royal George, it's a great pub serving its community well. How many pubs still have a dart board? There's usually free food on the bar on a Sunday and even a meat raffle if you like that sort of thing. OK so there's not a huge range and their drinks aren't to everyone's taste, but at the prices offered it's pretty good. The other decent pub on Tanner's Hill, which sold a range of exotic beers and put on live music, the Crystal Palace Tavern, is now an ugly block of flats. We should be grateful to Sam Smith's that the Royal George is still there. Any other pubco would have binned it long ago.

Anonymous said...

The Royal George is brilliant and I urge you all to try it. If I remember rightly the landlord posts a 'question of the day' on a blackboard, has loads of good old books around the place for swapsiz and was friendly and welcoming.

The other customers weren't scary or gangster at all and I wasn't intimidated in the slightest (even being a wee slip of a girl).

The real ale was dead nice and stupidly cheap. Do it.

Bearded boozer said...

Anon @ 11.40. Have they started serving real ale?

Last time I was in they only had Keg.

I assume you know the difference betweeen Keg and Cask? Or being a slip of a girl perhaps you don't?

the gardener said...

When I moved to London in the mid eighties I was very home sick, walking up Tanners Hill(I hadn't sorted out the 36/36a bus routes remember them?) I came across the Royal George, it was like going home to Darlington. In the days of afternoon closing and reopening at5 or 6 they had an 8 before 8 club and such was the drinkability of OBB it was not that unrealistic, I think or that my have been a pub in Darlington. Many happy times followed. I believe I even went out there with the woman who is now the mother of my three children, although she says it wasn't a date. If any anyone can remember the time I prepared the pub quiz there and got a question answer wrong ? it nearly caused a riot! We were eventually lured to the Crystal Palace next door and their fantastic ale and blues nights never to return really because of the keg ale. I still mourn the loss of the Crystal Palace.
Sam Smiths certainly has an different buisness plan, but I think the quality of their ales has gone down.
You've made me feel very guilty that I haven't been back in such a long time.

Tyrwhitt Michael said...

Curious as to the definition of an Arts Tourist?

Anonymous said...

I remember 36 and 36b but not 36a

Anonymous said...

Class war!

washington mutual online banking said...

I don't know much about this place, but i love the building and its historic looks.

Headhunter said...

Didn't WaMu go down the toilet with the credit crunch?

Matt-Z said...

It went the way of the Crimson Permanent Assurance I think.

Anonymous said...

36a terminated at New Cross Garage 36 went on to Lewisham 36b to Catford I think....

Seal said...

Yes bearded... they had two or three casks on.

Wee slip, but ex-pub landlady with a cask marque to my name.

T'was lovely.

(I've un-anonymoused myself... realising there are so many who can't be bothered to say their names and how confusing that gets.)

Bearded Boozer said...

Thanks Seal

Must pop in and see if it is going to be a regular thing.

Must say Casque Marque is great except it can spoil it when you visit a new pub and you realise they are not accredited.

graeme said...

It's possible that some people wouldn't know that this is a Sam Smiths joint becuase of the lack of the familiar black and gold emblazoned on the outside.

But

http://archive.thisisyork.co.uk/2000/10/4/311717.html

shows they got rid of this style ages ago. This really does seem to be the place that SE4 claims it wants. Independent, inexpensive, architecturally sensitive and culturally Kosher, but without the corporate branding that so many claim to dislike, few seem aware of its existence.

Pity it's in SE8 :-)

Tamsin said...

Gross error in my first posting - it is the Royal Standard - now painted green and further down Tanners Hill that offers "Dinning".

On the Royal George - I do love the way that pubs within reach of Deptford still show the maritime legacy with ships on their pub signs and names - this one and the Centurian also springs to mind.

Matt-Z said...

The Centurion is long gone. It was Bar Sonic for a while with a strange mix of live music in the bar and an African restaurant in the basement. Closed now for the inevitable conversion to flats I think.

Anonymous said...

They weren't very welcoming when I went in with two friends

DeptfordJo said...

I've bene coming to this boozer off and on for a long time and although the initial isn't exactly open-arms-welcoming it's not intimidatingand people are happy to make conversation. It has changed landlords recently but I've yet to notice any impact on the general drinking experience.

Richard said...

The Royal George sound like my type of pub sick of being ripped off by pubs pretenting to be resturants.

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