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The Royal Oak (Bar)

Holding image for The Royal Oak

44 Tabard Street, Borough & Southwark, London, SE1 4JU
Cuisine: Pub
Tel: 0207 357 7173 | Transport: Borough | Write review

The Royal Oak Review

I like the kind of pub that you really have to look for. If nothing else, you feel like you deserve a drink by the time you’ve found it. Turn right at the back of beyond and you’ll find the Royal Oak. Well, not quite, but, on emerging from the tube station, you have to locate and negotiate the rather bleak Tabard Street before you reach this 2002 Evening Standard Pub of the Year finalist.

When you finally find the pub, you may wonder what all the fuss is about. Though emanating a homely appeal, it’s a fairly average looking boozer from the outside, and though the inside is perfectly pleasant, it’s nothing special. On the other hand, everything is obviously well looked after - the mahogany gleams, the etched glass shines. That’s the key to this establishment: it does normality very well.

The Royal Oak is the sole London outpost of the Sussex based Harvey’s brewery, a family-run affair, and has their selection of real ales on tap. Hence it always has a contingent of CAMRA enthusiasts quaffing away appreciably. You’ll also find young trendies and locals of all ages, making for a pleasing mix. What’s more, it’s very friendly. The landlord, sporting splendid ‘Great Victorian Bloke’ whiskers, happily allowed me to sample a couple of ales before I made my choice, and as I sat down with my pint, I involuntarily let out a contented sigh.

There’s a bright front bar, surrounded by windows, and a shadier back bar, so you can choose the milieu to suit your mood. As it isn’t open on weekends, seek out the Royal Oak on a weeknight if you want a quiet drink with a friend or two in relaxing surroundings. The conversation, and the booze, will undoubtedly flow smoothly.
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Customer Reviews for The Royal Oak

Average (based on 2 votes): 2 Atmosphere: Value: Quality:

The following customer reviews are not endorsed by Fluid London and are simply those of users who wish to publish their independent experiences of The Royal Oak.

“Wow this is a truly terrible pub! I was very disappointed. I had read that the Sunday roast here were worth a try so I called and booked a table for 2, I rocked up at 10 to 2 and waited at the bar to be served, attempted to make eye contact with anyone one of the people who appeared to be bar staff very few of whom were actually serving, they were mostly just hurrying around without actually apparently achieving anything. If there is one thing the staff are capable of it is an ability to totally ignore the customers and then be surprised when you have to say excuse me very loudly when they have been polishing a glass for 5 minutes less than 2 feet from a bunch of thirsty customers. Anyway I booked, I waited, I waved for attention, had a word with the girl who finally responded asking for a pint and which table was the one I reserved, she said she would look into it, she then went and stood at the other end of the bar and did nothing, she did not even bother to pour my pint, I went over and asked what was happening she walked away without saying anything, I then asked another bartender who appeared and he just said the table was taken. I have never been so rudely treated in my life and I hope you don’t have the misfortune to go to this pub!”
Atmosphere: Value: Quality:
phillippa, london (5 years 10 months 4 days ago)

“Oh Dear! What in Harvey’s name has happened to this pub? Has it changed hands? It has always been a pleasure to visit this pub and receive a warm welcome from the hospitable landlord, Frank, and swap the occasional story and beer with him. However shock and horror upon my return here with my wife yesterday (Sunday afternoon at 5pm) for another anticipated pleasurable visit only to be confronted by a surly foul-mouthed man across the bar professing to be the Licensee and repeatedly shouting at us to "get out” whilst I was trying to politely explain to the barmaid that the bottom of a glass retains the heat for quite a while after the glass has come out of the glasswasher. My explanation was regrettably necessary as the barmaid (whom I had never seen in here before) had accidentally served me a pint of draught mild in a hot glass despite my request when ordering for her to please make sure that the bottom of the glass was cold – a request which the barmaid unfortunately did not appear to understand. Apparent attempts by the other barman to calm down “the Licensee” were to no avail and my wife and I accordingly departed amid further tirades of "get out” from the professed “Licensee” who refused to supply his name. A most unpleasant experience for my wife and I tinged with sadness at the rapid decline in the standard of service at this hitherto much-loved pub.”
Atmosphere: Value: Quality:
Tony Bell, London (10 years 6 months 14 days ago)

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Additional Information

  • Cuisine Type: Pub
  • Dress Code: Not Specified
  • Group: (Unknown)

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