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The Royal Oak is a thoroughly traditional pub, with net curtains and a suitably wooden interior within a Victorian corner building. Arguably, its most notable feature is its affiliation with Harveys of Lewes – an independent Sussex-based brewery founded in the late 18th century.
While many London pubs stock Harvey's flagship Sussex Best bitter, The Royal Oak is one of only three in London to be owned by the brewery, and thus it's a rare joy to find something approaching its full range of beers. Seven hand pumps, usually featuring at least one guest ale, are split across two bars that are often busy without being packed. We're particularly keen on the Copperwheat beer.
To help soak up the drink, The Royal Oak also offers a decent food menu — more stodge than haute cuisine — but popular with the pub’s friendly regulars. One hitch: the toilets are a little deficient, particularly the Ladies, which features just one cubicle and a difficult door.
The pub underwent a change of management in January 2019, after the retirement of Frank Taylor and John Porteous, who'd overseen the pub for 20 years. We've yet to return to see how the new order will affect this most timeless of pubs.
Last updated May 2019.