The Garrison has a distinctive look to say the least: cuckoo clocks and distressed mirrors adorn the walls, and low granny lampshades and knick knacks that look like they were found at Battersea boot sale on a lucky Sunday are everywhere you look. It may be heaving at peak times but it’s worth reserving a table at this treat of a bar and restaurant.
Halfway down buzzing Bermondsey Street, The Garrison is about a ten-minute walk from London Bridge station. It can be found next to the beautiful trees with fairy lights that make Bermondsey Street seem almost like a holiday spot rather than somewhere in the city.
Inside, it’s as small as a big living room so it’s difficult to get a space if you aren’t eating. Every table is booked on pretty much every night. You might squeeze in a slot on one of their high tables for a brief drink but there’s always the promise of someone needing that table for their dinner so it will probably only be one drink on a spontaneous visit.
There’s a screen for movies in their quirky little relaxed secret downstairs space. Movies are free on a Sunday and the room can be hired for parties.
The crowd is made up of after-work suits, groups of giggly friends and couples. It attracts the more well-to-do foodie type as the menu is a little pricey but everyone in attendance is smiling.
Staff are efficient, mock-bossy and charismatic. They’re hard working to the point of being borderline invisible, so service is not ‘in your face’, but sometimes a little hard to get the attention of. It’s forgiven though as it is so busy.
The initial impression from the menu is that it is underwhelming and sparse in comparison to the gorgeous venue but upon inspection there are lots of down to earth gems on their well thought out British menu. It’s definitely a case of quality over quantity. Starters range from £5-£8, mains £11-£17, and there are a range of specials and steaks to choose from. Desserts range from £5-£8.
In addition, there’s a fantastically fun range of bar snacks featuring Old Spot cocktail sausages, Welsh rarebit and fish finger sarnies.
The wine list ranges from £16-£41 for white and red, with a few roses to choose from and a choice of three reserve tipples for the more special occasion.
There’s a reasonable selection of beer on tap and in bottles, and a good selection of spirits with a classic negroni offered first on the aperitif menu.
The Last Word
An absolute indulgence of a bar and restaurant. It’s a shame that you’ll struggle to get a table unless you book, but it is so very worth doing so for a special dinner, lunch, breakfast or brunch.