Visited: Friday 8 January by JC
Hot tip: If someone ever starts talking to you about a place in East London that you don’t know much about, fake it by saying ‘hmm, up and coming. Gentrification.’ You don’t don’t need to go into any further detail. You don’t even need to say whether you think that’s a good or a bad thing. Nobody knows. It’s probably both.
This is certainly true of Bethnal Green, which is already well underway in its metamorphosis from place where people live and not much happens, to place with lots of cool bars but also a load of wanky hipster bullshit as well, and it will eventually end fully transformed into soulless warehouse for foreign billionaires’ empty flats. So you’d better catch it while it’s still in the ‘best of both worlds’ part of the transformation.
You can see both sides of the coin on Bethnal Green Road alone: you’ve got the proper old school pubs like Salmon and Ball and Misty Moon which have been serving pints to locals for longer than you’ve been alive (probably) up to the more trendy Star of Bethnal Green, and the Old George. Fear not, Boozehound has visited all the aforementioned pubs already and can even remember some of them. But let’s start with the Old George.
The Old George has a nice, fairly relaxed vibe, which gently picks up as a Friday evening wears on. There’s plenty of space so if you don’t get there too late you should be able to find a table, and the décor is pleasant, in an old farmhouse kind of way. This would be a good place for a date – though we didn’t eat there’s a good selection of food (and anyway, we’ll let you into a secret: the best dates skip the meal part and start and end in a pub. Trust us). There’s also a lot of interesting paraphernalia on the walls, ideal conversation starters if your date (or you for that matter) isn’t as witty in person as their hilarious profile picture on Tinder suggested.
There’s a decent selection of beers here. Boozehound went for the Mosaic Pale Ale and a Leffe (on tap which is always a nice treat). There are also plenty of ales to choose from. The price is about what you’d expect for London (but certainly not the cheapest on this road). Service was friendly.
We imagine this is a great shout in the summer as well, boasting as it does a very large beer garden. Not loads of tables so get there early.
If you’re after a nice place to start a night out, or a date, or even a bite to eat, the Old George is probably the pub for you. If you just fancy a quick pint on your own, we’d recommend the Misty Moon as a cheaper alternative. Or do what Boozehound does: see both sides of the Bethnal Green coin and go to both.
Do they do food? Yeah and it looks nice.
Are they in the 21st Century? No minimum spend and contactless payments accepted.
Are there dogs? Spotted a puppy French Bulldog in there. What a magical moment that was.
I want to smoke: Massive smoking/outdoor area round the back, some of it covered.