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Royal Oak, Hooksway

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user reviews of the Royal Oak, Hooksway

please note - reviews on this site are purely the opinion of site visitors, so don't take them too seriously.

This pub really ought to be called 'The Who'd 'a' thought it' as it takes some finding but what serendipity when you do. Warm welcome; good range of beers, good and well priced range of food. I always go for the all-year-round Christmas Pudding. Called in for a pint and a simple lunch while country walking on 10 August. Always a pleasure to visit.
snosnikrap - 21 Aug 2013 15:42
Shantyman, another single poster, wonder what failing pub he comes from?
littlecon - 25 Oct 2012 10:20
Points taken, certainly wont bother to visit.
einhorn - 19 Dec 2011 13:36
Good beer but disappointed with the food.

A bit pricey for what it was, and a little pretentious. Ravenously hungry, "venison pie" sounded just the ticket. It turned out to be a smallish quantity of tasty venison stew put on a litlle rectangle of puff (or was it filo?) pastry, with another piece of the same pastry put on the top. The pastry was much so, I took the top bit off and had it for dessert. Quantity was not generous. Price was about 10 (including a little mashed spud and some rather tasteless boiled veg).

I left hungry, and wondering how anyone could call that thing a pie, or think it was worth a tenner. It's a beautiful little country pub, what a pity the food isn't just hearty, simple traditional English food!

shantyman - 27 Aug 2011 23:19
This is a good traditional English country pub serving excellent home cooked food which I feel is good value, this is not Wetherspoons as some previous reviewers seem to expect. We have never had a bad meal here. Perhaps some earlier reviewers went to a different Royal Oak as we have always received a warm welcome from the Landlord and Landlady, and always received excellent service from the other staff as well. We have sat outside and staff have taken our dessert order to save us going in, they could not be more helpful! I would recommend this pub to anyone who wants good traditional home cooked food with a good pint. I don't think there is a better example of a English country pub!
PetersfieldPete - 17 Aug 2011 20:49
A pub in an absolutely wonderful location..... Great views, lovely aspect, and perfect for the walker or cyclist.

That is really the only positive thing I can say for this pub, unfortunately, as having made a few pilgrimages there recently, my opinion has been more than made up:

The last few times, I have made a visit, I have come with all my family - that is my girlfriend, our children, my brother, his children, my good friend, and our dogs. We have tended to park in the pub car park, walked for a good couple of hours, and finished back at the pub, to quench all of our thirsts and fill some hungry bellies. We arrived there one morning about 10.30am and were told immediately by the landlord, in a rather bruske manner that we could not park where we were as the dust-lorry would be along to empty the bins at some point during the day. An understandable predicament for the landlord, but his harsh attitude gave the impression that we should all have been well aware of this from the start, despite any signage indicating a waste collection, or in fact any reason we couldn't park there!

Parking aside, in the three times since then when we have requested food and drink, we have been made to feel as though we are inconveniencing the landlord and the landlady while placing our orders. I can only compare the attitude of both to something from Fawlty Towers. As there were quite a few of us, we asked to set up 2 tabs - my brother for his family, and me for mine. It was as though we had asked for the pub to be moved a few meters to the left! The landlady in particular seemed to find this most inconvenient, and siged and rolled her eyes as she begrudgingly filled out another paper tab sheet - both of which totalled in excess of 40 pounds once we had paid!

Visiting again recently we asked to do the same, and were greeted with the same attitude - as if they were saying "how dare you want to give us your business!" PlusI overheard her telling the landlord - "It's them, they always do seperate tabs". How is this inconveniencing you, Royal Oak.... How? Both tabs totalled 100 pounds this time for food and drink!

All in all, I cannot remember another single incident at any other venue, where I was made to feel like a complete and total inconvenience for wanting to bring my family to this pub. I would understand if the children and dogs were behaving anti-socially and irritating the other customers, but this was sadly not the case!

I also overheard the landlord on the telephone turning down a large booking as the party would have arrived at 1.45 and the kitchen shuts at 2, and would not be able to cater for them! Unbelievable!!

I would recommend this pub be avoided like the plague, as I can think of no worse way to end a beautiful walk in one of the most lovely parts of the South of England, than to be treated like this! To the landlord and landlady of the Royal Oak, Hooksway - your establishment could be a goldmine, and in the current climate, to treat and lose customers like this is nothing short of utter foolhardiness!!


PS. I have just read some other users comments, and see I am not alone here!
jimjim76 - 5 Jun 2011 21:30
Visited this quaint, secluded country pub after a long walk with some friends on a recent bank holiday. From the outset disappointment set in and remained. The "welcoming" was particularly nice with a scuffy hand-written sign on the main door saying what times food was served on that day. Went up to the bar and waited for ages to order a drink and when I was finally served the most surly, rude male (who I was later informed was the landlord), managed to find a glass and pour a pint. It was so obvious from the outset that he didn't want to be there that day and all his customers were an imposition and keeping him from far better things. It's such a shame as the beer quality was good and the food was over priced, but typical fried pub grub. This pub's location thrives and survives on walkers and people making the most of it's idyllic setting on the South Downs and how the landlord feels he can continue an on-going business with the appalling service both myself and others members in our group received is a mystery. Can only imagine that it's a free house and not kept in line by a brewery.
Hot_Toddy - 5 Jun 2011 21:14
This has to have the most expensive beer in West Sussex, 3.40 for a pint of HSB! Rest of the beers and lagers the same all London prices. The pub is off the beaten track and frequented by walkers - many of which will object to these prices. I have visited this pub on many previous occasions and agree with what other people have said. The landlord can be very 'offish' and could not care less about serving you. There is no 24 hour opening here - in fact the opening times seem very short and you can easily arrive to find they are already closed. When time approaches those in the garden are told to leave their glasses by the door, and the landlord disappears inside banging and locking the door. You never feel like a 'valued customer' more an inconvenience. A further danger exists when the landlord goes on holiday - the whole place is shut for the duration. Another annoying thing is that it has signs everywhere telling you what you can't do. I hate that.
Piy, I love the location, and it is a lovely pub but they have priced themselves out of the market as far as I am concerned.
HSBplease - 18 Oct 2010 18:17
As most of the previous reviews have said, this pub provides oddles of character, very good real ale, and passable food for the weary traveller.
Thrown in is a bit of quirkyness via the landlord & the serving staff. Make an effort, engage the staff in conversation, remove your walking boots and toast your toes in front of the open fire. We will call in again if we are this way in future, but not a pub that excites enough to seek out. Really good beer though. !!!
John.T - 15 Feb 2009 18:43
A bit off the beaten track but well worth the effort.
Hammerpot Brewery Madgewick bitter absolutely fantastic. Shame I cant find a local outlet when I only live a couple of mile from Hammerpot.
Excellent food and service, Only lost a point as it closes after lunch.
ChrisL - 19 Apr 2008 13:13
There's little doubt that this pub is, on paper, excellent: a good selection of real ales, good honest food and the place oozes with character.
However, notwithstanding this, regretfully, I have to report that I have frequently found the opening hours to be very difficult to interpret (opening in the evenings in "Summer" but not "Winter" with no indication of actual dates), and are far from generous. Moreover, on my last visit, I arrived some 15 minutes ahead of closing time (billed as 2:30PM on both the GBG entry and the front door), only to be told in no uncertain terms that they had "finished" and that we would not be served. Somewhat bewildered I glanced at my watch by way of reminding the licensee of his published hours, but to no avail, as it was made very clear in a polite but firm manner that we would be getting no service, despite there being two custoners still at the bar enjoying drinks.
Perhaps I'm being unreasonable, but I really do expect licensees to keep to their advertised hours. Had we been within 5 minutes of closure on a slow day then okay, but with a full quarter of an hour to go and having driven some way to the remote location of Hooksway, I was profoundly disappointed by this attitude.
Full marks for this place in principle, but nothing out of ten for flexibility. Sadly, I shall not be visiting again in the foreseeable future, especially with the plethora of excellent free houses in the area, which are willing to serve during their appointed hours.

TWG - 2 Oct 2007 01:24
Genuinely ancient - the building dates back to the 1500s and it's been an inn for at least half that time. Visiting the Royal Oak isn't a 'heritage experience' though- it's a functional village pub in the old-fashioned sense, serving good beer and plain but decent food, much of it to walkers and cyclists passing through here between Chichester and the South Downs Way. Easy to miss - Hooksway is down a single track lane east off the B2141 Chichester - South Harting Road, south of Harting Down. Blink and you'll miss it.
myPetersfield - 7 Apr 2007 22:17
The Royal Oak is one of the hidden treasures of West Sussex. Certainly no passing trade - at least by road! A good range of Real Ales - mainly from local breweries in good condition.
inbiber - 28 Jan 2007 22:21
A great location with a lovely garden plus a good selection of beers. Food slightly too expensive for what it is but made up for in the friendly landlord.
Barry Quinnell - 21 Oct 2005 14:07
Once had to camp out in the field next door - good real ales !
W980501 - 11 May 2005 15:04
Smashing remote pub located close to the South Downs, excellent walking country.

Good beers and food.
XanosPhoe - 27 Feb 2005 08:43

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