The owner of a family-owned pub with nearly 500 years of history has slammed Dry January as a "detriment" to the industry.

Nick Lamb, 38, has co-owned the George and Dragon with his brother Nathan for eight years.

The pub, at 85 Castle Street, was named 'Salisbury's Favourite Pub' by Journal readers in 2019 and has continued to build a strong relationship with its regulars.

Nick prides the pub on catering for everyone with a wide array of entertainment on offer every week.

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Every Monday evening is games night and the pub is transformed into the 'Geek and Dragon', providing a place for tabletop enthusiasts to socialise and play.

Salisbury Journal: Inside the George and Dragon.Inside the George and Dragon. (Image: Salisbury Journal)

Live music is back and better received than ever this month following a hiatus. Nick described the turnout in previous Januarys as "near the point of embarrassing", however, this year they've tried again and the response has been "much more positive".

"We're trying to be more proactive. Times aren't as scary as people are saying, you just need to give people a reason to come out now," he added.

'Dry January is a detriment'

Nick condemned Dry January as "a detriment" to pubs during hard times. He said: "It always seems to be banging on at the pubs.

"It's just another thing to lump onto pubs' shoulders when they are having a difficult time."

Connecting with customers is an important value at the George and Dragon and "90 per cent" of customers are on a first-name basis with the staff.

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On Wednesday, January 18, the pub invited a few of its regulars to get behind the bar and serve staff for the night. Fifteen people took part and Nick said it gave them a chance to see "a little insight into what we do".

Big plans are in place for the pub this summer and construction of an outdoor tent bar, with space for live music and a barbeque, will begin on February 20.

Salisbury Journal: Outside in the garden at the George and Dragon.Outside in the garden at the George and Dragon.

Insulation was installed recently to help reduce energy costs however working on the Grade-II listed building itself can be difficult due to its history and the protection in place.

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Nick's main concern is the city's footfall "in general" and said it's difficult to get "young blood" into the pub since there are no universities nearby. Nick thinks that would make a "massive difference".

Industry night every Tuesday gives deals for people working in pubs, there's a quiz every Thursday, live music is on Fridays and Saturdays while Sunday is the pub's open mic night.

You can read stories on The Dust Hole here, The Ox Row Inn here, The Royal George here, The Duke of York here, The Five Bells here, and The Winchester Gate here and the Village Freehouse here