In our London History Podcast Episode 46: Beer, The Bard & Historic Buildings in Bankside, I asked London tour guide Stephen King for his recommendations for historic pubs in Bankside. This is what he said:
“The classic pub for everybody having to visit Bankside has to go to is of course the George Inn which is London’s only remaining gallery.
So if you go there, you are standing only a fragment of it remains for the very important fragment for the George Inn remains. And if you go there, you can get the sense of what a Georgian galleried pub. It looks amazing. There’s a whole book about it as well; Shakespeare’s local. There’s no evidence that Shakespeare ever went to the George Inn. There’s no evidence he ever did not go to the George Inn either! It’s nice to imagine that possibly Shakespeare did hang out there, but certainly that the pub that no longer remains, which is next door, is the White Hart. And again, we certainly know that Shakespeare did frequent the White Hart. And of course the pub that no longer remains on the other side, the end of a Tabard Inn, we know Jeffrey also went there, but of the remaining pubs, you’ve got some wonderful ones, got The Globe, which of course paired in various movies (including Bridget Jones).
You’ve got the Southwark Inn, which claims to have a series of cells. Underneath, in the old prison cells, you can have a drink in the basement of that. Here’s a little story Hazel, that’s not actually true. If you look at the old maps although Bankside had lots of prisons in their hair where the Southwark in there was never actually a prison there, but they’re, they’re old storage places, but they are very atmospheric. If you go to the, do you ever go into the Southwark Inn, can go underground there, but then there’s just so many other amazing pubs with amazing landlords as well.
So if you ever get into the King’s Head pub, you’ll get hijacked by the landlord who will show there’s an amazing painting on the wall of his pub, of the old London bridge, where it still had houses on and actually the landlord is in that painting. He had himself painted into that, which covers the entire wall of his downstairs pub. So yeah, they’re just so many in there.”
Find out more about Bankside. Book tickets for Dr Stephen King’s Borough Market and Beyond Walk. Private tour also available here.