ANDREW LENG’s Croydon pub crawl takes a pause, as indeed does he, while waiting for a tram in George Street
It’s Wednesday afternoon, I’ve just finished work and before I hop on the tram home, I nip in to The George for a quick pint. Business is brisk, even midweek. Inside, the pub is decorated with different national flags to indicate that Wetherpoons, who run the George Street pub, is part way through their “International Beer Festival”.
The JD Wetherspoon chain, or “posh pub company” according to its literature, opened its first pub in 1979. The chain now has more than 800 pubs, seemingly with one on every high street in the country, employing around 23,000, and as well as owning the Lloyds No 1 bars, the company has also successfully branched out into the hotel business.
Until recently, there were three Wetherspoons in Croydon: The George, The Skylark in South Croydon and the Ship of Fools opposite West Croydon station. The Ship bit the dust in 2013 and was turned into a small Sainsbury’s.
In a previous life, The George was a furniture store. It opened as a large pub in 1993 and has two bars, positioned at the front and back of the pub. Several years ago it was the place where a small number of colleagues and I used to spend our Friday lunchtimes. Happy days, but you wouldn’t get away with that now. My colleagues have all moved on but, being Croydon-based, I visit the pub every now and again, usually when the trams in George Street are up the spout. Continue reading