The dog-friendly Bristol pub where the cheapest pint is now £5.20

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The George Inn at Abbots Leigh also has a separate cafe popular with cyclists

Before mobile phones, the old-fashioned red telephone box opposite The George Inn would have been used to make important calls, perhaps in an emergency in this rural spot just across the Clifton suspension bridge.

These days, the shiny phone box houses the village defibrillator, which is just as well as unsuspecting visitors to this busy Abbots Leigh pub may experience mild chest pains when they see the prices at the bar.

We all know pubs are struggling at the moment thanks to rising costs, but quite why commonplace Thatchers Gold costs £5.60 at The George Inn is slightly baffling. An hour earlier, I had enjoyed exactly the same pint at the Duke of Cornwall in Pill for a mere £4.

I asked the barman at The George if the price was was right and he nodded, adding that even he felt embarrassed asking that price these days. He went on to tell me the cheapest beer or cider in the pub is currently Butcombe Original at £5.20, which is a pricey entry-level pint and a sign of the times.

Not that people frequenting this 17th century pub - once known as the Church House and its stables used to accommodate horses of long-distance churchgoers - are likely to flinch as much as other customers.

The woodburner keeps customers warm in winter at The George InnThe woodburner keeps customers warm in winter at The George Inn
The woodburner keeps customers warm in winter at The George Inn

This is one of the most desirable villages near Bristol and has been for years. Down the road from the pub is The Priory, a Victorian mansion built in 1831 for the Fry family of chocolate fame.

A quick search on my phone as I sipped my pint revealed a house near the pub on the market for a cool £2.75m and a cottage for £795,000. This is not a village pub where locals need to check their bank balance.

I didn’t ask the prices of the other drinks on offer - among them Wye Valley HPA and Thatchers Cheddar Valley - but I can only imagine the likes of premium products like Guinness and Moretti require a second mortgage.

The George Inn dates from the 17th century when it was the church house and stablesThe George Inn dates from the 17th century when it was the church house and stables
The George Inn dates from the 17th century when it was the church house and stables

In comparison, the food isn’t quite as expensive as the drinks and more in line with other country pubs around the edges of Bristol. There’s haddock and chips for £16.50, sourdough pizzas from £12 and burgers from £14.95.

I grabbed a table in the lovely garden with its outdoor bar and wood-fired pizza oven. By 1pm, it was already packed with families and large groups enjoying the sun, many of them with dogs.

The suntrap garden at The George Inn in Abbots LeighThe suntrap garden at The George Inn in Abbots Leigh
The suntrap garden at The George Inn in Abbots Leigh

Dog treats are even available to buy from The Bike Shed Cafe housed in an outbuilding in the pub’s car park. Open every day from 8am (9am on Sundays), this bolt-on business serves coffees, teas, cakes and snacks. It’s especially popular with cyclists and visitors to Leigh Woods and Ashton Court.

So, two businesses for the price of one in the only pub in the village. It’s no wonder Abbots Leigh locals flock to The George, whatever the cost.

The George Inn, 1 Manor Road, Abbots Leigh, Bristol, BS8 3RP.

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