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Beer of the Week (w/e 7th August 2022) with hondo on the Pub Forum

The Royal Oak, Borough, SE1

44 Tabard Street
Phone: 02073577173

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Reviews (Current Rating Average: of 10) Add Review see review guidelines

Please Note: This review is over a year old.

Ian Mapp left this review about The Royal Oak

Lovely unspoiled Victorian pub that you need to go out of way to find.

Decent beers from Harvey's but go for the experience.

Some photos at my blog -

On 18th September 2016 - rating: 8
[User has posted 277 recommendations about 276 pubs]

Please Note: This review is over a year old.

Real Ale Ray left this review about The Royal Oak

As you can see from my rating, I really liked this traditional, friendly pub. The pub was quiet on our early doors Saturday afternoon visit. This was to our advantage as the few customers that were here, were all friendly and chatty and they all had great respect and interest in the pub.
The barman also gave us a look at the upstairs dining room, which hosted a twenty seated dining table, in a traditionally decorated Victorian room.
Downstairs I especially admired the original mahogany bar, with its curved shaped detailed bar section and pot shelf. Ale wise, there were six Harvey beers on, so I settled on the Sussex Pale Ale.

On 20th July 2015 - rating: 10
[User has posted 3116 recommendations about 3116 pubs]

Please Note: This review is over a year old.

john gray left this review about The Royal Oak

I know its a favourite but not my style of pub.Bit too traditional.6 beers on my visit so I tied their 2 milds.Dull and duller and not to my taste.

On 15th June 2013 - rating: 6
[User has posted 965 recommendations about 951 pubs]

Please Note: This review is over a year old.

Just a quick pint, then I'm off left this review about The Royal Oak

A proper pub, retaining a two-bar layout (the front room fairly plain, but attractive traditional decor in the back). Friendly atmosphere and efficient service. Eight handpumps split between the two counters, with Harveys Mild, Pale, Best, Kiss and Old (£3.70) plus Fullers Bengal Lancer as a guest and Thatchers Heritage cider available on my latest visit. Overall, absolutely top of the range.

On 16th March 2013 - rating: 9
[User has posted 7108 recommendations about 7108 pubs]

Please Note: This review is over a year old.

Nick Johnstone left this review about The Royal Oak

Superb pub with everything going for it. Different ales than the usual fare and all the better for it.
Small selection of books on offer for sale too.

On 18th June 2011 - rating: 8
[User has posted 98 recommendations about 98 pubs]

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Danny O'Revey left this review about The Royal Oak

Small London boozer, run by Harveys, with two rooms either side of the bar. Traditional, wood floors, benches, with large windows to the street making it light and airy.

The beer was kept ok, but not to my personal taste.

On 8th June 2011 - rating: 7
[User has posted 1353 recommendations about 1330 pubs]

Please Note: This review is over a year old.

Pub SignMan left this review about The Royal Oak

This pub’s reputation as one of the capital’s finest seems to me to be well deserved. It’s a traditional, back street pub with two rooms and a small, reception style area that suggests it may once have been the section used for off-sales. The servery is an open area, allowing you to see through to the other room and also retains a hatch to the lobby, although whether anyone gets served through it now is unclear. Walls are half panelled and the floorboards are exposed, covered in places by well worn rugs. The larger of the two rooms benefits from large windows which make it quite light and airy in the day and, despite being partially screened with net curtains, also look out over the modern flats that surround the pub. Harvey’s brewery photos line the walls and what appear to be Christmas decorations still hang in front of the windows in mid March. Seating is fairly standard with simple table and chair arrangements in both rooms. A number of second-hand books were for sale on a shelf in the little lobby area.
Beer is from Harvey’s and on my recent visit I had a choice of Sussex Best, Mild, Old Ale, Armada Ale and Pale, each priced according to their strength and listed on a board behind the bar. My pint of Mild was in top condition, as was to be expected. In keeping with traditions of old, a jar of pickled eggs was standing proud on the bar counter, although I didn’t dare try one myself.
All in all, a very charming and enjoyable pub and one that I’m sure I will continue to return to in the future. Harvey’s should be very proud of their sole London representative.

On 14th April 2011 - rating: 9
[User has posted 2813 recommendations about 2813 pubs]

Please Note: This review is over a year old.

Nick Davies left this review about The Royal Oak

Pub refurbishments are usually disastrous. Perfectly good pubs are mercilessly lobotomised into some North London design consultancy's idea of what a pub should be, removing all character and atmosphere in the process. The Royal Oak is the exception that proves the rule. Harvey's took what was a so-so back street Courage pub, the sort which would be flats by now, and turned it into one of the leading real ale houses in the metropolis. The marvel of it is that everyone thinks they're in an unspoilt Victorian local, not a recent renovation.

It's a two bar layout, a lighter, more open pubic bar separated from the cosier saloon by a lobby reminiscent of the traditional "jug and bottle" servery common before off-licences came along. There's always at least five Harvey's ales on: mild, pale, best, armada, old, and maybe one of their seasonal brews. The Fuller's beer is something of a cuckoo in the nest. It's there for the benefit of the regulars in the Lewes Arms, a long story, but my guess is that far more Harvey's gets drunk in the Lewes Arms than Fuller's in the Oak.

It is of course a GBG regular, and winner of many awards. One of the best pubs in the capital, it's worth mounting a major expedition to visit it.

On 28th November 2010 - rating: 10
[User has posted 556 recommendations about 548 pubs]

Please Note: This review is over a year old.

I L left this review about The Royal Oak

A superb Victorian street corner local with the different rooms still separated by wood and glass screens. A very well looked after pub.

Has a good range of very well kept Harveys ales and normally one Fullers ale on.

On 18th August 2010 - rating: 9
[User has posted 287 recommendations about 284 pubs]

Please Note: This review is over a year old.

Alesonly . left this review about The Royal Oak

I was in here last week for the first time since we had a BITE meet up here over a year ago. Its still a very good Pub and the selection of Harveys Ales on Tap was excellent. Its a nice Old style Pub thats well looked after by the Staff & customers alike. I found Staff very friendly & welcoming and all four Ales I tried were in excellent condition. I would definitely recommend a visit too this Pub if your in the area.

On 5th August 2010 - rating: 9
[User has posted 132 recommendations about 105 pubs]

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