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Beer of the Week (w/e 9th August 2020) with Wittenden on the Pub Forum

Picture of The Royal Oak
Image posted by sara blunden
Submitted on Tuesday, 28th August 2007
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Requested be closed with reason - For sale: Closed, with an application for conversion to residential submitted

The Royal Oak, Horsham

Friday Street
Postal town: Horsham
RH12 4QA
Correct details

Served areas

Reviews of The Royal Oak (Average Rating: of 10) Add Review see review guidelines

hondo . left this review about The Royal Oak

permission given to demolish it and build two new homes

On 7th November 2019 - no rating submitted
[User has posted 2693 recommendations about 2637 pubs]

Please Note: This review is over a year old.

TW G left this review about The Royal Oak

Some pubs don't merit a detailed review on sites such as this, as there just isn't much out of the ordinary to comment on. But this one really does - especially if it helps raise awareness of it amongst people who have yet to discover its delights, because folks, you shall no longer find the Royal Oak in the trusty CamRA Good Beer Guide.

This is in no way due to reduction in quality or range of beer, but rather to the sheer petulent officiousness of a couple of local branch members, who because of personal disputes with the landlady decided to bully the pub out of the latest GBG edition despite being an award-winner and patently the best beer-house in the region. Don't be fooled by this flummery: it is still well-worth seeking out if you love traditional ale houses.

The Oak is soaked in authentic character, being a traditional, unspoiled country inn in a marvellously-under-developed part of West Sussex. Its exterior charm should be apparent from the images above, and its interior is as one would hope - cosy, welcoming, and compact, centred on the bar area and the jolly banter of locals that it naturally encourages. There is seating to the left and right, but frankly, unless you're feeling unsociable, the bar is where you will prefer to be, even if it means standing!

Sara and Clive have run the pub for 6 years now, and have gradually built it up to create a solid reputation for provision of fine cask ales, ciders and perries. Also, there is high-quality food available (albeit limited in range), using local ingredients wherever possible. No kegged beer or stout is sold, and neither is cheap microwaved grub. Tough decisions to take in an increasingly-challenging marketplace, and one which some dismiss as stupidity or arrogance. However, in many eyes their insistence on only selling cask (with a few wines and spirits and softies behind the bar) and 'proper' food is a brave and welcome break from the usual conventions. A range of 7 ales feature (mostly from sound local breweries though some hail from more further-afield - accented towards Devon as S & C have a personal connection to that region). There are usually 2 ciders and 1 perry (or vice-versa). Rarely have I ever sampled a drink here that was not well-conditioned.

Food-wise, Sara's portions are generous, and such delights as chilli-con-carne and roast pheasant may appear on the menu, as well as massive sandwiches; a meal in themselves and highly-effective at soaking up the surfeit of ale that you're bound to have taken on board!

In busy periods there is an unmistakeable warm glow, especially in Winter, of hearty chatter amongst well-heeled but down-to-earth punters, who are united in the 'cult' that has developed around the pub over the years. Granted, sometimes Sara can be brusque with those who manifestly do not appreciate what she offers, but in truth, she'd have to be ten times more abrasive for me to cease coming to the pub; there's too much to enjoy! Give it a chance and you will be drawn in and happily-initiated.

In 2012 the pub began offering accommodation; 3 double rooms are available - I stayed overnight just before Christmas to avoid the inevitable drink-drive conundrum, and found it good value for £45. The room was bijou but it had an en-suite, was clean, and a full English breakfast (characteristically generous in size) was thrown in.

I don't believe everything to be a paragon of perfection at this pub. I don't even know if there is such a thing as pub perfection. But for my palate, this comes pretty close, and on a scale of ten, it has to score full marks from me. As soon as the current covering of snow clears, I'll be back!

On 23rd January 2013 - rating: 10
[User has posted 5 recommendations about 5 pubs]

Please Note: This review is over a year old.

Rich Gibbs left this review about The Royal Oak

Visited the Royal Oak for the first time yesterday and my only regret was that I hadn't done it sooner!
Varied choice of ales and ciders served in an old fashioned ambience deep in the Englich countryside. If it wasn't for the planes leaving nearby Gatwick you could think you'd stepped back in time.
Whilst the food menu is limited, I enjoyed the best bit of roast pork I'd had in ages which was complimented by the well-prepared local vegetables.
All in all, an experience I'm very much looking forward to repeating.

On 10th March 2012 - rating: 9
[User has posted 35 recommendations about 35 pubs]

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Pub location see interactive map of local area
Map location corrected by Malden man
Latest updates View all updates for The Royal Oak, Rusper
7th Nov 2019, 11:57
Review submitted by hondo .
25th Mar 2018, 12:14
Request to mark pub as closed by paulof horsham approved

Pub Details

Pub details supplied by members of this site to the best of their knowledge. Please check with pub directly before making a special trip.

  • Car Park : Yes last updated 12 December 2013 by paulof horsham
  • Dog Friendly : Yes last updated 04 September 2010 by hondo .
  • Live TV Sports : No last updated 12 December 2013 by paulof horsham
  • Pool Table : Yes last updated 15 August 2011 by hondo .
  • Real Ale : Yes last updated 04 September 2010 by Alan Hurdle
  • Real Cider : Yes last updated 12 December 2013 by Moby Duck
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