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Royal Oak, Borough

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user reviews of the Royal Oak, Borough

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

This is still a great old school boozer. It has been slightly done up since I was last hear, so maybe it doesn't look so tired and worn, but still has character. Good quality 3.5 per cent IPA, and nice ambience to sit and reflect ... not a young person's pub.
alebarry - 5 Feb 2020 12:41
Very much the old school boozer - yes very worn and tired (as befits a lot of the clientele) but a proper pub in the sense of the word. Seems to be a Harvey's tied house and no guest brews were on offer.
Snarling_Mallard - 3 Oct 2018 21:39
Pains me to say it but this pub feels old and tired. The beer is always great but on too many occasions I've come across 'characters' I'd much rather avoid. The charm has gone replaced by an aggressive edge that matches the Royal Oak's dilapidated decor. Harveys, look to your laurels, deal with it.
MathewT - 11 Nov 2016 17:11
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 - http://bit.ly/2cYVT2P
Mappiman - 18 Sep 2016 12:11
Visited last month.How nice to walk into a pub order a pint of mild and be asked if you want light or dark.Apart from a few Tim Taylor's and Hydes houses this doesnot happen nowadays.I stuck to the superb light mild as it is a seasonal.On the food front ham,eggs and chips filled the plate.Good home cured thick cut ham not processed slices.Still has 2 bar and offsales layout plus a shelf of books for sale,proceeds for the british Legion.A real gem.

oldandmild - 1 Jul 2016 06:39
Once upon a time, say maybe 10 years ago or so, I'd have said this was my favourite pub in London with the possible exception of the Harp.

But I agree with the recent reviews; whilst the beer quality is still very good, it's perhaps not quite what it was. But the main issue is the service; I agree it is average, verging on below average now.

Has rested on it's laurels for too long now; still a good pub, but in my view the Lord Clyde and possibly also the Gladstone have overtaken it now in this area.
mike_s - 23 Jul 2015 13:08
As an iconic CAMRA pub it still defeats me how every time I come here (as little as possible now in view of my experiences) I get my real ale served in a hot glass. Yesterday evening I politely remarked upon this to the response that we are very busy! In my local pub which has 21 hand-pumps and can take over £30,000 in wet sales on a single night and is one of the three busiest pubs in London, if not the country, I never get my ale served in a hot glass. Why, oh why are staff not trained in this much smaller pub about hot glasses despite my past communications with Harveys Brewery on this topic?
craftman - 29 May 2014 18:29
Used to love this place. Now it has become an overpriced hole. Why can I get Harvey's beers up the road in other pubs as a guest beer at a cheaper price than in here in a pub owned by them???
littledrummerboy - 7 May 2014 18:40
Was there last weekend. Service poor; two barstaff more interested in chatting to each other than serving. Beer flat, tasteless (?stale) and overpriced.
Disappointing. Perhaps it's better on a weekday?
eastkent - 2 May 2014 22:19
A visit to the RO after the Simon the Tanner. A pub much more to my liking, as it has a more traditional feel, the standard range of Harvey’s Ales, Best, Pale, Armada and Old. We had the best and the pale, and saw them poured out of the respective taps but they looked and tasted identical! Nothing wrong with them mind, but the pale definitely wasn’t pale. The one thing that militates against a speedy return here was the attitude of the bloke serving, he exemplified everything wrong with service industries in the UK, he was clearly above all this serving malarkey; sauntered about behind the bar studiously ignoring waiting customers and prioritising looking at his phone. When he did serve my mate it was clearly something we should have been grateful for, he made no eye contact, didn’t say thanks or anything just told us the price. If you are too good to be serving in a pub get a job somewhere else. I would say the women serving were fine. Beer 6/10; service from this guy 1/10
Monkdawallydahonk - 21 Mar 2014 13:39
The first time I've been here for about 5 years and thankfully it remains unchanged. Great beer, great atmosphere, and very friendly bar staff. I tried the food here for the first time, good quality and prices for the area.
Islander - 14 Feb 2014 19:10
Another visit to this great little pub tucked away just off Borough High Street (about 3 minutes from the tube station off Long Lane). Great beer - I think they had the full Harvey's range available but I stuck with their excellent Best Bitter. Nice Victoriana-style decor with two rooms served from one bar. Apart from the good beer I really enjoyed my salt beef sandwich which was well-filled and very tasty - kept me going all afternoon. Prices are a bit on the high side perhaps? (£3.80 for Best) but we weren't complaining as the beer was really good. Don't miss this pub - it is well worth seeking out.
mcroyal - 2 Feb 2014 12:45
What an interesting pub! I love little quirky things about places and the one here is that you can walk through the bar to go to the other half of the building. Lovely architecture and Harveys beers. I had the mild which was tip top. There was a lovely, relaxed atmosphere on our recent visit.
BiffoBeer - 27 Jan 2014 09:12
It was a grey and mildly damp London evening. I attended the WheatSheaf in Borough for "Youngs Day" and to sample a free pint of Youngs ale to see if I could convince myself the stuff was palatable…I left half way through it was that disappointing.



Following this inevitability we sauntered down to a guaranteed winner, The Boot and Flogger, which many of you will have ventured into and remember as a delightfully idiosyncratic wine bar and free vintners with a class and clientele that would make the Master of the Rolls happy whiling away an evening in this fine establishment. Sadly, this is no longer the case, the staff were no longer the charming English family that used to own it but the usual motley crew of temporary staff to be found in any venue in London, the clientele seemed now to be mostly media types and tourists and the bloody place now served BEER, and only bottled stuff to add insult to injury!!! Half way through our first bottle (a reasonably priced Pinot Noir so won't quibble on the wine) my estimable comrade, good chap that he is, noticed the look of despair on my face and suggested a change of venue for a light repast and a few ales…I readily agreed.



We meandered, with the weather - a dull grey overcast evening with the menace of rain in the air - matching my mood, down to the Royal Oak in Tabbard Street just by Borough tube station. I jest not when I say it felt like we stepped into a little bit of Sussex in the very heart of our great capital. The décor is very old London with plenty of tiling, wood panelling and glass, bare wood tables, a rabbled collection of chairs and benches and a variation on a horseshoe bar as usually found in the heart of our good county. The staff were a motley crew as you would expect in any one of Sussex's pubs; Please don't think Forest Row style young lads and lasses about to head off to university but more local village rustic people found in the depths of Sussex, more Hatch style but younger and less proprietor/barman more employed barman.



The clientele, what can one say about this fine bunch of individuals, I will proffer a couple of examples here: we shared a table with a mother daughter combination (calm down Belcher, they were also akin to rural Sussex people) who complained at length about the parlour state of society whilst polishing off a few pints of cloudy cider and a meat pie, I believe the daughter was a teacher and the mother had been. To our other side a couple of chaps who looked like they had encountered a hard days toil tucked into one of the largest sides of Grouse I have seen in a while and made good work of it too, sadly I could not hear their conversation muffled as it was by game. two more characters will suffice and I venture that they will be in residence whenever you attend this charming venue, one a skinny chap wearing a warm tweed jacket sat with one leg draped over the other on the edge of a table, not engaging in conversation but most happy to sit and sup at a pint of Best and while away the evening. The other gentleman, maybe they are arch enemies crossed by a lady decades ago and resigned never to reconcile their differences, was a most portly chap who inhabited the other side of the bar. None of the ruddy cheekness of a wine and port consumer but the confortable shape of a chap who consumes plenty of ale and aspires to look like the vessel in which this majestic liquid is transported from the brewery, a jovial sight with braces and a smile perched on a stool also consuming a pint of Best. If these aren't sights enough to warm ones heart then this is proof that man has no soul and God does not exist.



Now, the ales…they had a reasonable selection of Harveys on tap and a couple of others, I have no idea which ones as I only had eyes for the amber nectar that is Harveys Best. It did not disappoint, on the hoppier side of the Harveys range it was refreshing and immediately lifted my mood, so much so that we felt able to raise our heads and contemplate the rather extensive menu. Very reasonably priced and big portions but more to the point good hearty fare. Between us we ordered Deep Fried Camembert and Whitebait followed by Ham, Egg and Chips and a Rump Steak Sandwich. All was exactly as you would hope for and condiments abounded, we washed this down with another pint of Harveys and left sated and in far finer fettle than I had previously considered possible given the start to the evening.



This was until my leather soled shoes slipped on my bicycle peddle and my shin caught a nasty edge. However, that cannot be blamed on the Harveys but on the damp conditions of the evening.
Chinery - 14 Oct 2013 17:02
Great pub, great beer and friendly staff. Pleasant atmosphere and great that there's no loud music. They even allow customers to take jugs of beer out to the excellent Indain restaurant across the road
seanieg - 21 Jul 2013 00:54
A Harvey's pub just a few minutes walk from Borough station.

4 beers on plus George Gales Spring Sprinter I had a pint of Harvey's Pale, which was decent.

Nice old style pub with a through bar area and the whole pub is open plan.

Pleasant enough but nothing too exciting.

lezford - 9 Jun 2013 19:22
Decent pint of Harvey's Sussex Pale on my visit. Pub suffers at bit from the 'loadsamoney, have I boasted about my salary/car/presentation/sportsmanship? Can I use my card to pay for a pint?' fraternity. Otherwise it is sound.
wobblybob - 19 Apr 2013 21:48
Had not visited the RO for at least 18 months and was pleased to see nothing had changed. Two visits in three weeks, so they are combined. The first was with a large group of mates and the pub kindly reserved us the big table in the bar on the Tabard Street side. The staff were friendly and helpful and both times the beer needing changing they did so quickly and without a quibble. The quality of the beer was superb, I stuck to the Pale and finished with an Old. The second visit was with a smaller group and two of us sampled the food menu and it was pretty good, though quite pricey. The beer this time wasn’t as good, it seemed a bit lifeless, both the Pale and Best, but that’s the beauty of real ale! 8/10
Monkdawallydahonk - 15 Apr 2013 13:29
I was a bit disappionted; my first visit and and fan of Harveys beer. Beer was fine but thought the pub a bit grubby. Could do with a good clean. I agree with the last comment - bar staff indifferent, to busy chatting with their mates.
Mothroy - 11 Nov 2012 19:36
What an absolutely wonderful place this is. A couple of miles north is full of tourist traps offering the 'authentic' British pub experience when the real, genuine, unchanged for decades thing is here. The Royal Oak is one of the last examples of a classic street corner local left in London and should be preserved for posterity. The beer's fine, the atmosphere is good and all it needs is a piano in the corner and you'd be able to re-make scenes from The Blue Lamp in here.

I didn't have a problem at all with the staff - the French (I think) barman seemed very knowledgeable about beer and seemed to do the job well.
djw - 5 Oct 2012 22:04
Have to agree with some other comments regarding current staff. On a recent visit noticed a complete absence of customer care. That's not to say they were rude, just total indifference. Beer was good as always but noticed that prices had risen steeply even in comparison with other pubs in the area - 3.90 for a 5% is still high.

Otherwise decor unchanged and still retains the feel of a local community pub.
davewat - 7 Jun 2012 21:52
A potentially great pub sadly ruined by the rather lackadaisical attitude of the bar staff.

On the positive side, the Royal Oak is a traditional back-street London pub with a buzzy atmosphere and a good range of Harveys Alesthere is also an attractive pub menu and good choice of wine.

However, it took several minutes to even be noticed by the 3 bar staff who didnt appear particularly busy but did seem to wander about a lot.

The person appearing to be the Manager primarily performed his supervisory role from in front of the bar rather than behind it.

After a couple of rounds, I was served a 'cloudy' half-pint of Harvey's Best which wasnt noticed by the barman until I pointed it out.

In response, there was much consultation among the staff with various beer samples being held up to the light in a manner suggestive of the laboratory procedures in nearby Guys Hospital.

Perhaps this is an NHS pub which provides a better service to private patients.

After waiting unattended for around 15 minutes, the barrel was apparently changed though the resulting drink was still decidedly cloudy.

Returning to my table, we allowed the drink to settle for 10 minutes but there was no improvement, which was drawn to the attention of a glass-collecting staff member who asked my companion if he wanted to drink itbeing told NO, he simply took it away without further comment or action.

It was only when leaving some 20 minutes later that my companion approached the bar and requested a refund which was given without question.

Personally, I would have been happy to just leave and never to return.
moderatedrinker - 5 May 2012 08:28
As a local resident in the Borough area of Southwark I find that the Royal Oak is like an Oasis in the Desert in terms of a good traditional pub. This is the only Harveys of Lewes house in London.
there is always the full range of Harveys ales both regular and seasonal ales, plus a guest seasonal Fullers ale on draught and a full range of Harveys bottled ales.
Added to the that the Royal Oak is traditional, with no TV, no Musak , no Fruit machines, just good ale, good food and good company. The food is of a very high standard and reasonable in price.
Those who complain about having to stand as the pub is busy should go to other less popular pubs in the area and leave the Royal Oak to those of us who enjoy its convivial atmosphere
PastryChef - 9 Jan 2012 20:25
Had a very nice Sunday afternoon thru till closing session yesterday,very good beer my friend went through the bitters and mild and porter 6 or 7 in total.Didn't eat but the food looked great.Busy to start then slowed but its a nice pub and the customers all seem friendly and willing to chat! I found the prices ok but maybe thats because my local (EX) is now charging 3.90 for London Pride.
Londonchef - 9 Jan 2012 12:05
Maybe too popular for its own good - and the gradual inflation of beer prices is noticeable here as well. The food is good - the beer usually good to excellent, but there's something that doesn't quite feel right when you're pressured to vacate even standing space for more punters to arrive.
meurglys_iv - 27 Dec 2011 16:08
I like this pub. But it is sometimes closed when I have tried to visit in the afternoons. Does anyone know what the opening hours are?
Hedonista - 30 Nov 2011 19:04
This pub used to be in my top 5 pubs in London but visited yesterday and was bitterly disappointed. The Quality of the beer used to set this pub apart but it was flat and uninteresting.

Also my experience of the staff was the same as 'youngbr' I found them not only grumpy but bordering on rude. More interested in smoking than serving punters and no verbal communication when the did get round to serving.

This is still an outstanding building inside and out but with pubs closing left right and centre then we cant afford for pubs to be serving poor beer with poor customer service. Such a shame.


juwwi - 27 Nov 2011 09:38
Went in last Thursday (10th November) and beer was average I thought. This may have been because everything was end of barrel as they ran out of all bar the Mild and a 5.8% called Bonfire - not exactly a session beer (and 4 a pint)! Nice food and generous portion but beer was disappointing which is unusual for this pub - has been very good on previous visits.
anonymous - 19 Nov 2011 15:35
Popped in on Friday evening, and once again not impressed with the quality
of the beer. Has happened a few times now.
beer123 - 14 Nov 2011 09:14
Really buzzing today,and the Old's on...knew there was something good about the winter.
Steamer1 - 12 Nov 2011 19:20
The Royal Oak is once again SPBW London Pub of the Year. Top notch beer and food, great service, no music or tv to distract from conversation - ideal!
ed.spbw - 27 Oct 2011 17:18
Whilst I agree with most users that the pub is pleasant and old fashioned that doesn't apply to the manners of the staff - maybe it was an off night but I'd at least expect a "hello" or "thanks" from serving staff - both staff members were grumpy and non-comittal. Disappointing as it is a very decent pub
youngbr - 4 Oct 2011 14:35
It's half past four in the afternoon and I have walked through the rain from London Bridge to get here- there is only one other customer in the bar and the barman is doing the crossword. I order a pint of Harveys Pale Ale to start with. It is a very tasty low gravity beer which I wanted as I read my paper. A couple of other people came into the pub and I am content. I then chose Harvey's Sussex Best and it is georgeous. A few more people come in and the beer pumps start earning their keep. Harvey's beer is obviously popular, because this pub is not on the main tourist route nor is it surrounded by massive office blocks spewing out loads of thirsty punters after a hard days graft on the computer,so you have to make a pint of going there. It is, quite simply, a great pub with great beer where customers go to appreciate the ale. Yes they do food but it is just one of those pubs where you go to sit and enjoy a pint and the company of your friends in a traditional London boozer. !!!
mcroyal - 24 Aug 2011 22:42
Harvey's Tom Paine was as tremendous as always in July and the rabbit pie delicious. Staff weren't too sure where the rabbit came from (possibly France). Just hope it wasn't China.
Pistol - 30 Jul 2011 09:09
Was its usual efficient self, an easy drinking unpretentious pub with quality beer to be had. Having said that I did find the mild a tad cold but the flavour soon came through as it warmed. Good pub 8/10.

Picasso09 - 4 Jul 2011 22:55
OK pub with different rooms. Real beers very well kept but prices very much on the high side for a back street boozer.
wrichard - 23 May 2011 11:31
Absolutely superb example of a traditional back street boozer - in a perfect world there would be one like this on every London street. There isn't, of course, which makes this place one of the very best pubs in the city. Great beer, good food, friendly service and a welcoming atmosphere - what more do you need? And unpretentious enough to leave its Christmas decorations up even though it's March.
rob1981 - 24 Mar 2011 19:19
Beer is very pricey now and what's with the harridan's behind the bar? They have obviously come from the grunt and glower school of customer service. Honestly it doesn't take much to say hello or thank you does it?
Miles007 - 14 Mar 2011 12:04
Frank and John are still in charge for the foreseeable future. Standards of beer, food and service remain as high as ever.
ed.spbw - 15 Jan 2011 10:23
So have the landlords moved on - or not? Returned to the Royal Oak last night after a couple of months away but didn't see them, and didn't recognise any of the bar staff.

Re the pub, as always the Royal Oak was great - tasty beer and tasty food. There was no music but just the sound of conversation - lots of it as the pub was extremely busy.
GrahamA - 15 Jan 2011 07:45
It's good to find a Harveys pub in Borough and the Royal Oak is a very smart little Harveys pub.
Decent atmosphere, fairly busy and well worth visiting.
terenced - 31 Dec 2010 08:26
Classic pub (except when the Hash House Harriers are in). Great beer and good atmosphere. Do yourself a favour and come here or the Lord Clyde instead of the overrated Market Porter
paul154 - 30 Dec 2010 14:32
Harveys ales are always welcome, and the Best was in good condition last Saturday afternoon. A well-kept pub with a friendly ambience and a pleasant all-round experience worth repeating.
Stamfordian - 20 Dec 2010 11:14
Fabulous find in the back streets of Borough. There aren't many good Harvey's pubs in the area, but this counts as at least three. Beer and food delicious, ambience is spot on, and if you can't spend a pleasant evening here you've got no business going into pubs at all.

Obviously some music thing going on, with leaflets for festivals and - oh dear - the odd musician. Which can be OK, but the evening we were there was not; one of these painfully earnest, painfully loud, painfully self-indulgent acoustic guitarist/singers IN A HAT who churns out tastefully-fashioned cliches as if they were searing exposes of the human condition. We made our excuses and moved to the other bar: no tedious twanger of the twelve-string was going to ruin our pint of Armada.
PumpChump - 10 Dec 2010 15:55
I came here to meet a friend. Its a nice "old man's" pub, with delicious Amada ale. Good mix of clientele, locals and friendly people. Unpretentious place with a good working mans cafe style menu. I enjoyed the chips. If I lived near here, I'd come all the time
thejollyone - 8 Nov 2010 23:26
Called in on a Saturday PM crawl. Good surroundings and the Best Bitter was pleasant enough.Only 5 customers so lacked much atmosphere .Was put off by the opera CD being played at full volume on the bar counter This is not to everyones taste, Mr Landlord.
covman45 - 2 Nov 2010 16:20
Sunday lunch here. Lamb, highest quality, perfectly cooked, trimmings excellent: portion considerable. Ale spot on; welcome friendly, service near faultless. I would recommend it without hesitation.
joegreen - 12 Oct 2010 21:36
Pirouetted into the finest pub south of the river with three friends on Friday night. A fabulous evening spent drinking the extremely quaffable Armada Ale. Do visit!
Newton_Lad - 10 Oct 2010 11:32
Harveys is a fine pint, and generally as good here as anywhere else in their estate, but I did fancy some Fullers Porter, and neither that nor the Southdown Harvest was on when I called in last week on a rare trip to London. Shame.

But what struck me most and caught my eye as soon as I walked in the door was the filthy state of the brass hand pumps and T bars on the counter. SteveinLondon talks of standards being maintained (17/08/10) but these don't look as though they've seen the brasso in years
nelly0164 - 28 Sep 2010 14:42
Seems like the talk of John and Frank moving on might have been wide of the mark. They were both in there at lunch time, on good form and not planning to pack their bags any time soon. Great news as it is them that make this place the best pub in London in my view.
Alfnoax - 21 Sep 2010 14:33
Finally arrive at Oak on Sunday,for one of their famous Sunday Lunch, but as electricity was off at the time ,we had to settle for a mild and an Armada,as a starter and same again for the main course.......perfect only thing is will now have to go back again for the Sunday Lunch [a good reason]
hullcityfan - 6 Sep 2010 18:03
Last Friday - 27th August - I phoned the Royal Oak to check their opening times on Bank Holiday Monday. I was organising a group pub tour from out of town and this was the first on the list. I was told that the pub would be open all day. Imagine our surprise and disappointment when we found on arrival that they were closed all day. You let the Harvey's side down badly. The only consolation is that you were not the only pub to give wrong information. I give you zero for causing us to lose the first hour of the tour and a few good Harvey's pints.
boozyoldgit - 2 Sep 2010 12:16
The years roll by, but fortunately this pub never changes. All the standards are maintained: a fantastic range of ale, which now seems to take in a wider range beyond the offerings of Harvey's. The venerable Fullers London Porter was on last night, a pump clip that always calls for celebration. The food is still terrific, although I never stray further than their Steak & Ale pie that I would count as my favourite dish served throughout the whole city. Some outdoor seating has been added to help with the overspill, although last night was a reasonably quiet affair. I'm leaving the UK this year and can honestly say that the Royal Oak is one of the things I will miss the most. It adds to the enjoyment of life & is in my mind, the finest pub in the UK.
SteveinLondon - 17 Aug 2010 09:44
A near perfect pub with the only negs (high end pricing and cooked food smells) being understandable in order to keep this definitive city center pub in tip top condition.
beerandpaperman - 15 Aug 2010 01:29
Fair enough. Duly enjoyed a pint or six and some chips here on Saturday evening, and can happily report that it is still open and serving fine ales.
J
duchyjim - 9 Aug 2010 10:16
Because this idiot, FeFiFoFum, has put the same comment up about 8 or so pubs seemingly at random!
cheshirecat - 5 Aug 2010 09:47
So if the place is closed up, how come my mate managed to phone through to the pub last night, be told that it was open and to come along and drink there on Saturday as planned?
J
duchyjim - 5 Aug 2010 09:44
This pub has a high rating because it is a first class pub. It should be visited by breweries as an example of what a london pub should be, clean, good food, good conversation.And unpretentious, so stop slagging it off, plant acorns and grow a chain of Royal Oaks. Long may it stay open !
ROBERTA - 2 Aug 2010 11:57
I visited this pub, for the second time, on a Friday lunchtime. It is a small pub, in Victorian style, and the clients were a mix of young office worker types and midde aged wannabies, seriously, when I was there. But pleasant enough. I asked for a pint of Tom Paine export ale and after I started to drink it, the landlord confiscated it as it was cloudy and served me someting else. Later he give me a freebie half of the original which is a very nice touch in these money grubbing days. The best feature is the food. Portions are enormous and it is real food cooked in a real kitchen. I had sea bass with potatoes and veggies for just under 11. I saw doorstep sandwiches served up, the food is hale and hearty. Had a nice pint of Fullers Porter(not cheap) but quality. Let us hope this pub keeps up the quality and does not get overwhelmed by its popularity
mgahan - 24 Jul 2010 18:41
And the good news is that I was informed by Harveys today that there are currently no moves afoot to change the operational style of the pub. That may be politicospeak for something else, I don't know.

PS I've never given a rating to the J Sailor, W.Looe, but will on my next visit. I like this site but it does lack good management to the extent that I had to telephone them to get a racist removed after exhausting all other methods also advertised functions don't work.
lyeemoon - 23 Jul 2010 19:55
Regarding the post of 23rd, and similar. There is one simple and workable solutuion, used successfully by other sites.

A [nameless] pub review site I use alongside BITE only permits ratings with a review and vice versa. Silent ratings are blocked and there's a minimum word count (30 words etc). In addition to this, ratings only count once a user has rated a requisite number of pubs - I think it is 10. So when someone comes along and rates twenty pubs zero on the same day, their profile is available for all to see, together with the comments that have been left with those zero ratings, similarly setting up multiple accounts to rate one pub 10/10 on the same day is also not only visible to all, but a hassle for the person doing this, because on [this] site a new IP address is required for each new account.

Surely a rating/review system like this could be easy enough to set up on BITE.

My rating for this pub is an 8. Based on visits over the past 6 years when I've always had a decent pint and the atmosphere's always been pleasant.


lad_newton - 23 Jul 2010 17:05
John will be no loss at all to the pub, but Frank definitely will be - hopefully Frank can take it over alone without John.
alefellowwellmet - 19 Jul 2010 15:34
That's not bad news it's a disaster. How can you change what is the best pub in London and probably the country. How and when is this catastrophe going to occur?
lyeemoon - 17 Jul 2010 16:38
Bad news is that Frank & John's days here are numbered thanks to someone's bright idea at the brewery. It'll be a hard act to follow for a new tenant after 12 years. Beer quality last night was superb. Please, Harveys, don't let any second raters in to spoil such a good thing.
ed.spbw - 13 Jul 2010 19:11
A real pub with real ale. Worth going out of your way to give this one a visit.
lambethdoylee - 30 Jun 2010 12:34
Good honest boozer,fine range of Harveys beers and the foods pretty good as well.Always worth a visit.
Picasso09 - 27 Jun 2010 07:37
Popped in especially to see the place, well worth the visit. Lovely to see a wider range of Harvey's ales available. Armarda was in fine order.

Pub itself is an attractive high victoiran style pub.

This is all already been said though, judging by the below...
race_faster - 18 Jun 2010 11:45
Although (I think) there's only one Ladies loo in this pub it's a delight to visit! Always clean and well stocked with loo roll. The cubicle has lovely deep blue tiles and the victorian style loo is decorated with painted flowers.
Loo_Review - 12 Jun 2010 12:44
Still top class.
hillsidepaul - 11 Jun 2010 17:20
Lovely, lovely pub. First class staff, well looked after interior and a good mix of friendly drinkers. I hate to sound a heretic, but the beer isn't always as good as it could be. The Sussex best on my last visit was outstanding but the IPA was on its way to stale. Still, this is a brilliant pub.
Albert_Campion - 25 May 2010 17:33
Had a lovely pint of Armada Ale here last night - still an excelltn pub well worth making a detour for.
Darren_in_the_City - 21 May 2010 11:01
Monkdawallydahonk referred to 4 for a pint of lager. Whilst I cannot vouch for the exact price, I know from talking to the landlord that they have a policy to charge more for lager as this is not a "lager" pub. People mostly come to drink the excellent Harvey's ales and a changing guest ale from Fullers/Gales.

The pub is a jewel in North Southwark (the Borough) and too bad for lager drinkers!
malo66 - 19 May 2010 16:35
Went today for first time - very nice friendly pub split in two sections - was served quickly and the landlord (I recognised him from someone elses photo on another site) also came over to check I was being served with a smile, very nice. Very cosy, like a front room of a house!
adamwalsh - 23 Apr 2010 18:42
A great, very traditional London pub, a little of the beaten track. Well worth calling in, full range of Harveys ales available. Deservedly in the Good Beer Guide 2010
sussexboy - 19 Apr 2010 22:42
Had an hour to kill around London Bridge station last friday lunchtime week so called in for a first visit to this pub (and also the Market Porter q.v.) Simple two bar corner layout, nothing flash or fancy - thank heavens! The Dark Mild was very good and reasonably priced at 2.90.
ropey2 - 12 Apr 2010 10:42
Visited on a wet Thursday evening, 25 March 2010. Full range of Harveys beers including the Pale which Im pretty sure my favourite pub in Brighton, the Lord Nelson doesnt do. The beers were all excellent including the 1859 Porter. Food was good too, although the woman serving was a bit offhand. Ludicrous prices - 3.00 for the Pale, 3.50 the Porter and 4 for my mates lager but thats London for you , and why people drink that fizzy urine is beyond me anyway. A good pub, good interior and a very pleasant place to spend an evening. 7.5/10
Monkdawallydahonk - 30 Mar 2010 09:55
A marvellously unspoilt traditional pub, selling excellent ale. What else do you need?
Probably my favourite pub in London.
gaypostman - 24 Mar 2010 21:29
This pub does indeed deserve the high ratings... Very nice.
Marquis_of_Lansbury - 20 Mar 2010 10:35
Sussex Best on perfect form tonight, and the Sunday menu looks excellent; lots of stuff around a tenner, incl rabbit in mustard sauce. Beware Sun hours: 12:00-18:00.
trainman - 15 Mar 2010 00:14
This pub deserves all the good ratings it gets. It is a real gem and I am lucky enough to work less then a 3 minute walk from it. The Pale and the Mild are always in good condition and the food is also top notch, especially the double decker salt beef sandwiches!
jonosh69 - 13 Mar 2010 16:13
Great old style pub serving good food and first and foremost the best harveys to be had in town
willothewisp - 12 Mar 2010 08:56
A Rolls Royce of a pub? You mean a Bentley!

If you are anywhere near this area, just go. Frank is just the best guv'nor south of the river, keeps cracking ales and you can still get a pint for less than 3 if that matters to you.

It's a proper pub, thank heavens!
Pubspymaster - 11 Mar 2010 18:36
Never disappoints. Especially if you like Harvey's beer. Full range available and all are spot on. I think the cheapest is the Mild at 2.90.
TheHorsesMouth - 1 Mar 2010 12:51
Good Harv.ey's beers, not much in the way of atmosphere though. quite hard to find but worth a visit. Shame there are no guest beers other than Harvey's own selection
sadies - 25 Feb 2010 18:24
Did another check yesterday for lunch. Still a Rolls Royce of a pub for atmosphere, beer and food. No music, what a blessing! Not sure about the window decorations though. Amazed it's not busier.
lyeemoon - 18 Feb 2010 20:48
A nice drop of Harveys Best, served by friendly staff who. Cheese sandwich on thick bloomer bread slices went down well too.
MrBabble - 16 Feb 2010 13:08
Found this gem of a pub just over 3 years ago and can't get enough of it. The Harvey's beer is lovely particularly the Old Ale and all very well kept. Nice treat to find the Christmas Ale on hand pump in December and in bottles to stash at home! The food is also very good. Big portions of locally sourced, home cooked grub, massive ploughmans, game pie and the seasonal Sunday roast boasts grouse, partridge, duck, rabbit you name it, and all for very reasonable prices. The clientele are generally quiet folk who enjoy a good pint and the bar staff are always helpful. Generally doesn't get too busy as it's tucked away off the main thoroughfare.
firsttimewalker - 28 Jan 2010 14:30
Don't work in the area anymore so my visits are far less frequent. Was good to be back for a couple of pints last night -the Old and Armada were very good. Usual pleasant laid back atmosphere. Frank and John the landlords here know how to run a pub brilliantly and how to keep it that way.
Alfnoax - 15 Jan 2010 10:37
Lovely pub. If the beer is not great it's likely you're not a fan of the southern way of serving beer. Friendly staff, good range of beers, a bit of a local feel. Varied clientele. I will definitely be back
dry_riser_inlet - 12 Jan 2010 23:43
Grabbed a rare weekday lunchtime session at this wonderful pub. Went with a good friend of mine and enjoyed the great atmosphere (almost festive with the Christmas decs still up), excellent food and lashings of Harvey's mild. They still had the Christmas Ale on draught and we had a couple of half pints which were on the house because Frank thought the brew might be past its best. However, tasted lovely to us! Thanks, Frank, you run a great pub. Very civilised and gets all the important things spot on. One hesitates to use the phrase 'real gem' because it's so overused but this is the genuine article.
realalemadness - 12 Jan 2010 18:59
Visited here in early January and I was most impressed. A regular named Richard chatted away to us during our visit and has since emailed with a list of other London pubs he recommends. We were made to feel very welcome immediately and the two beers I tried from the Harveys range were excellent. I shall be returning very soon!
rjb1973 - 5 Jan 2010 10:25
As a Borough boy I suppose I can honestly say that this is one of the very best of pubs in London.
CityBobby - 30 Dec 2009 13:18
I'm new to beerintheevening, so this writeup is late in coming! Good pub for girlie nite out one friday last Sept. Fine wines, some of us had a beer called "Pale" with a blue/white badge on the pump handle. I loved the staf here, and scrumptious food (fishmonger's pie).
persona_non_grata - 27 Dec 2009 19:45
What more can be said about this gem ?Like Mr Bonser I was surprised to read posts questioning the beer quality.We went through the card and every Harvey brewed ale was spot on ,and the general consensus was that the Sussex Best and the Old Ale were the finest of a great range.The Christmas Ale at 8.2% was one of the best barley wines we've (carefully) supped.
The food is substantial,traditional and well cooked.The punters are in the main serious ale drinkers but there are younger customers and medical students who also appreciate the traditional pub atmosphere in an area dominated by deafening bars with bouncers .Harveys are also brewers of very traditional ales,where else in the southeast can you find a tasty low strength mild,a pale ale and an old ale under the same roof ?
An outstanding pub and a reminder of times gone by.
Bucking_Fastard - 24 Dec 2009 09:43
Fine, unspoilt Victorian street corner pub situated in a quiet side street off Borough High Street.

There's 2 bars either side of an unusual small central lobby, which I imagine was originally used for off sales. Some etched glass and curved woodwork add to the appeal of this pub and there's no TV's, fruit machines, music etc.

As if you didn't know by now, it's a Harveys of Lewes pub - their London outpost. 5 of their beers were available on our recent evening visit - Mild, Pale Ale, Bitter, Armada and Old. Fullers London Porter was also on, as part of the reciprocal trading agreement with Fullers whereby the Lewes Arms continues to stock Harveys. Perhaps not surprisingly, the London Porter pump was scarcely noticeable and the existence of the beer not advertised.

There have been several adverse postings on the beer quality here, so here's our take. My recent visit was one of a group of 14 enjoying a fine Xmas meal and get together in the small upstairs function room. We're all experienced beer drinkers - a good number of us are members of the former Youngs 135 Association and some of us have also done the Harveys Hop Ale Trail. Apart from the Old Ale, which 2 of our party thought was slightly chilled, we all agreed that the beers were in excellent form as befits a CAMRA GBG regular pub.

This pub is well worth seeking out and it now does weekends. Highly recommended
JohnBonser - 15 Dec 2009 11:58
This is a very nice Harveys pub that wouldnt be out of place sitting in Lewes along with some of the best. I spotted London Porter, which was off, alongside the Harveys ale range and Stowford Press cider. I stuck to the Guinness which was well poured by the friendly barmaid.

This is a nice looking well kept pub and I would recommend others to visit if in the area.
Strongers - 9 Dec 2009 10:26
Good pub but disapointed with the ale. My brother was drinking cider and it wasnt good either. It is my 4th visit and the ale is always poor. I was expecting more from a 7.6 rated pub. Un-happy
cooperob - 9 Dec 2009 00:31
A real, trad backstreet pub with character and some unique eccentric touches in the dcor, where you can get a range of Harveys outstanding ales that are always in perfect condition. A place for a quiet conversation, or a celebratory pint or a place to just mellow out thinking alone, letting the world pass by, communing with the spirit of Morse, as the complexity of the Harveys Best takes the thoughts deeper and deeper. My only gripe is that at certain points in the evening the smell of the (admittedly very good) food can overwhelm the pubs atmosphere and the drinkers nostrils (but, it is only very slightly touched by the plague of gastropubs that has infected so many once-fine boozers).
alebarry - 30 Nov 2009 11:56
An absolute gem of a pub. Although many people have commented on the quality of the beer it's the ambience that does it for me. The pub is divided into two rooms traditionally designed without the interference of TV or music. Really you could be sitting in pub 40 or 50 years ago. A relaxing environement interrupted only by the gentle buzz of conversation.

Oh yes and a full range of Harveys that's pretty damn good as well.


murgatroyd - 18 Oct 2009 11:00
Full range of Harvey's beers (including the Dark Mild), lovely traditional small-pub atmosphere, friendly staff and regulars, wonderful food....quite possibly the perfect pub. A visit is essential.
E17Bee - 30 Sep 2009 15:22
I had the same experience once in there having been served by one of the staff. It was a bit cloudy but tasted ok. I was a third of a way through it when the Landlord spotted it and gave me a fresh pint straight away which was fine. Don't be put off, the Landlord knows his beer unlike most of the modern day muppets.
lyeemoon - 22 Sep 2009 16:39
Plenty of character in this old 'luvvies' pub and it looks like it hasn't changed much over the years. I picked what looked like the strongest Harvey's brew (can't remember the name) but it was a bit cloudy and not very nice. A bit of a disappointment as we went there as we thought it had a reputation for fine ales.
DarkLordOfBarnet - 16 Sep 2009 23:36
Long overdue visit to this Harveys gem on 1 September 2009, first visit since the smoking ban which makes visiting this pub even more pleasurable. Sampled many pints of Pale Ale which was perfect, a lovely combination of dry bitterness, very quaffable; also tasted the Best and the Lewes Brown Ale, which was very dark almost stout like, heavy and slightly too sweet for me but still good. Combined with the excellent food its easy to see why this pub was packed on a Tuesday night from around 6pm, only emptying around 10pm. Almost perfect pub, thanks to the landlord who shows how a pub should be run. 9.5 out of 10.
Monkdawallydahonk - 4 Sep 2009 12:29
Proper pub not mucked about by 'wetbehindtheears' area manager types, great cask ales, trencherman food, affable guvnor Frank - just go and enjoy the experience.
CommanderJim - 18 Aug 2009 16:23
really nice. its set back in Tabard Street so a little difficult to see when you look down the street. Maybe that's why its nice - not too many parties and tourists find it. The interior has been artfully re-created as a local boozer, with a reasonable degree of accuracy. There is a jug and bottle between the bars.
goldenlane - 5 Aug 2009 11:05
Very nice pub with a friendly atmosphere that also looks the part. Tried Harveys Pale, Mild, Blonde, Best and Copperwheat; all of them fine and well kept. My dinner was simple and well done.
Green_0nions - 25 Jul 2009 12:30
This is quite simply a fantastic pub. Great beer, great architecture, great food and a lovely atmosphere. Everything a pub should be but about 90% sadly aren't.
Mickyosan - 30 Jun 2009 23:03
One of the best kept secrets in South London. A drinkers delight! Enjoy!
Princemonolulu - 29 Jun 2009 10:21
Sorry konarob, having been attracted by the positive reviews, this North London lad got his passport out and went Deep South Thursday evening to visit.
Excellent back street traditional corner boozer which is a little difficult to search out but well worth the hunt.
I know I am repeating a lot of what has gone before but here goes.
Traditional old style public and saloon bar layout either side of a central serving area. The public is plain but lighter and airier than the saloon bar, having light coloured walls above wood panelling and wooden seating. Whereas the saloon has the more comfy chairs but with dark burgundy flock wall paper.
The full range of Harveys ales with both Light and dark Milds, Pale Ale and Sussex best through to the Porter and Armanda. So as you can see the budget effect when comparing to love_good_aless posting from a year ago, these are now 2.80 for the Milds , through to 3.40 for the Porter and 3.50 for the Armada.
I tried both milds and they were excellent, and at 3% the Dark Mild proves you dont need a high abv to get flavour.
The deal with Fuller still appears to be in place, and there was a lone Chiswick hand pump hidden away , almost in shame, around the saloon side.
Also full range of Harveys Ciders seemed to be available as well

Gann - 21 Jun 2009 12:58
One of the best pubs in London: less quirky than the Wenlock, less crowded than the Harp, less touristy than the Lamb. A great range of beers including two milds, and the food was good (rabbit stew which was pretty much half a rabbit and some mashed spuds and veg!). A good and welcoming atmosphere too, open to all.
rainlight - 10 Jun 2009 08:27
Shh you lot. It's terrible, don't go!
konarob - 26 May 2009 12:24
Spent a wonderful lunchtime here. Amazingly not too busy. Sussex Best perfect. Food excellent, proper pub grub large portions. An absolute delight.
lyeemoon - 20 May 2009 20:44
This pub rocks. No music, no games machines, just fab fab beer brilliantly kept, excellent simple food and always packed with interesting folk. We had to move and miss it terribly but we'll be back sometime. Please please don't change.
anniewakeywakey - 20 May 2009 16:52
Superb pub in quiet location. Friendly attentive bar staff and mild on tap..
Couldn't fault anything about this place.
nickthefish - 24 Apr 2009 10:56
I'm running out of superlatives for this place. Yesterday lunchtime was superb. Very busy with a good atmosphere. Both bars were crowded without being over crowded. It's such a pleasure to go to a proper pub with well kept beer, good food, no machines and no music. As a result you have a good mix of customers. If there's a better pub I'd be surprised.
lyeemoon - 10 Apr 2009 20:56
I can only echo previous reviews. I had a superb pint of Harveys' Mild in here yesterday lunchtime, and the other members of my party enjoyed their pints of Old, Porter and real cider. It is a fairly simple, traditional boozer in terms of layout with the two seperate bars and the wooden furniture. If I lived in London I could see this becoming a regular haunt.
ChrisP87 - 29 Mar 2009 10:55
Drank here last night and quaffed five awesome pints Harveys Mild, Armada, Old and Porter along with Fullers Hock. Also had a superb S&K Pudding. The perfect night.

I love this place - that's why I keep coming back every 3/4 months.
twineyboy - 26 Mar 2009 22:27
This place is a gem. Superb ales (Mild, Pale Ale and Porter all on top form on my last visit), food looks superb (I didn't eat, but eyed up my neighbours meals hungrily), furniture and features are gorgeous. Will be back here many times, I think.
scissorkicks - 18 Mar 2009 10:55
I happened to hear from the landlord last week that Fullers HOCK should be available as a guest beer from about 19 March for a limited period! Some of you might like to know this as HOCK is not frequently available.
malo66 - 16 Mar 2009 18:54
Been in twice in recent weeks. It is like a friendly country pub but in London. The food was good and honest not gastro or ping. I just wished I worked for the company that sent in a staff member for two four pint jugs for their Friday afternoon meeting
KentishScot - 7 Mar 2009 14:50
Went there again yesterday bang on lunch time. Both bars were pleasantly busy with a good mix of people. Ignoring the fact that the woman behind the bar short changed me, accidentally I'm sure, although she did fawn over me subsequently which was a bit off putting and the gents toilets were out of order. I cannot emphasize enough what a gem this pub is. It's a bit like stepping back in time to the halcyon days when a pub was a pub and not some multi owned nonsense tuck up theme place. It's great to order a sandwich and get proper thick bread as well as decent well kept beer.

If this were to close or change hands it would be a disaster off the Richter scale!
lyeemoon - 7 Mar 2009 12:24
Harveys Lewes Castle Brown Ale, cant say i've ever seen that before not even in Lewes.
Thought it was spit and sawdust this pub but very well kept beer and friendly locals, like the way the pubs split in two as well.
superseagulls - 1 Mar 2009 11:44
This pub should be wrapped up in cotton wool and a preservation order slapped on it straight away. Went there for lunch today and loved it. 2 pints of Sussex best and wonderful doorstep sandwiches. A good atmosphere with a mixture of locals and business people.

How wonderful that they've kept the 2 bars and it retains many old features like the ceiling decoration and tiling in the toilet area. The place is an absolute gem and I wish it was my local although I'd never be out of it.
lyeemoon - 25 Feb 2009 20:46
This is an excellent no-nonsense pub. The two bar layout (back and front) is unusual and the Harvey's real ales are well kept. The food menu looks uninspiring, but when the food arrives it's a different story. Huge portions and good quality ingredients mean that simple dishes like ham, egg and chips are really good. Recommended.
h0rseb0x - 8 Feb 2009 22:08
Great unassuming backstreet pub not a million miles from Borough station, but far enough away to ensure it doesn't get too crowded. A Harveys pub which also has a good choice of real ciders (from Thatchers as I remember). There is a small collection of books in the rear bar which are available for purchase.
blue_scrumpy - 1 Feb 2009 18:10
RECENTLY HAD OUR CHRISTMAS PART HERE . ALTHOUGH THIS
PUB HAS NO FRILLS FOOD , AND THE SERVICE COULD BE
BETTER., THE FOOD WAS ABSOLUTELY SUPERB AND THE
PORTIONS WERE HUGE . A REALLY NICE FRIENDLY PUB . WE WILL DEFINITELY RETURN FOR SOCIAL DRINKS.
nincompoop - 29 Jan 2009 12:23
Great pub, I am a Harvey's fan and as the reviews state the place is in great order, very traditional boozr
BenEd - 23 Jan 2009 15:45
Nice traditional pub, good ales on which were well kept. Friendly locals and bar staff.
OldRogue - 10 Jan 2009 19:02
Wonderfully unspoiled street corner pub. Old fashioned two bar arrangement, and an interior that makes you feel like you've stepped back in time (in a very pleasant way). Good range of Harvey's beer, well served. The atmosphere is spot on. A gem.
thomashenry - 22 Dec 2008 13:25
Fantastic pub. Not overly keen on Harveys ale, but the great atmosphere, friendly staff and cosy decor certainly make up for the (one) drawback. Good food too though the portions are huge!

A proper traditional boozer that is alive and well.
dhalliford - 21 Dec 2008 19:33
At last, managed to get over to this pub and was glad we did, lovely local atmosphere and great beer. Great stuff.
imdownthepub - 14 Dec 2008 10:44
Popped in at lunch time, the first time for ages. Had a very good pint of Mild, a chat with the Landlord about the Fullers beer they are now stocking - emphasis on the seasonal stuff. Tried a pint of the London Porter which was very, very good. An interesting, seasonal Fullers brew to compliment the excellent Harveys beers makes this place even better, if that's possible!
Alfnoax - 18 Nov 2008 13:46
Had a pint of London Pride the other night - thank God they've got a decent alternative in to that ditchwater from Sussex!
Tankbuster - 30 Oct 2008 17:12
Went in there last night, as usual the Mild was excellent. No sign of any London Pride being purchased!
Islander - 10 Oct 2008 20:21
Happy to say my experience with the beer last week was (hopefully) a one-off. The Best and was spot on last night, though I still prefer the Harp's. The salt beef sarnie was about the best thing I've ever eaten in a London pub, too.
Albert_Campion - 10 Oct 2008 17:03
Great traditional pub close to Borough Tube Station. Excellent Harveys beers (Armada, Sussex Best and Porter are terrific) in simple plain surroundings, but great atmosphere and feel. Plain wooden tables in bar area, and smaller lounge/snug to the rear. Home cooked food which I understand is very good, though not had it myself.

One of my favourite pubs in London, simple & plain, but great beers (and why on earth would you want to drink Glosch or a lager in a Harveys pub for goodness sake??!!) Landlord always happy to chat and make you feel welcome. I always visit the Royal Oak on any visit to London!


FrostyJW - 10 Oct 2008 10:07
Well, I've been meaning to come here for months and I finally managed it. I wasn't disappointed - this is an excellent pub. Very nice interior - lots of original features but a good balance of 19th and 21st centuries. Service was excellent - laid back and friendly. Empties promptly removed, and the tables had that London rarity - beermats.

Have to say, I prefer the Harvey's at the Harp at Charing Cross. One or two pints I had were rather insipid, but still drinkable. My mate's mild was as dull as ditchwater and looked like strong, cold tea. Once the pub filled up and more ale came through the pipes the condition of the beer improved. Mind you, everyone else seemed perfectly happy so maybe it's just me. I'll definately be back.

Oh yes - if you fancy a Grolsch, that'll be 3.80, squire. Blimey.
Albert_Campion - 2 Oct 2008 12:35
Well worth a visit if your in the Borough! Good place.
SUSSEXSAXON - 27 Sep 2008 06:55
Didn't notice if Pride was on yet, we didn't stay very long as there seems to have been a sudden price hike, once everybody had met up we moved on. One of my friends reported 3.30 a pint, not sure which beer that was for but even the barman expressed his sympathy! But the pub was busy with people drinking and eating and the pale Ale was excellent as usual.
Phil_C - 19 Sep 2008 08:56
I just can't speak highly enough about this place. Harveys beers are so good and stand out from the usual national stuff, service is outstanding, interesting menu and good food, and the customers and surroundings are amenable to a relaxing pint.

I do agree about the acoustics though, when it's busy or there are a few noisy customers it can be difficult to hear conversation. All that glass and wooden floor. Perhaps some curtains would help.
ilikegoodpubs - 28 Aug 2008 20:32
A bit of change on its way here!

Apparently they will be stocking London Pride because of a deal done with Fullers over the Lewes Arms retaining Harveys Best! Let's hope they add an extra pump here, rather than dropping one of their own beers!!
----------

Last year an old pub in Lewes, East Sussex, became famous. Greene King - owners of The Lewes Arms - told the landlord to stop selling beer from the town's own brewery, Harvey's. The locals organised a boycott. Against the odds, they won, after attracting the attention of national newspapers and enlisting the support of their local MP.

GK have now agreed to sell the pub to Fullers, London's leading ale brewer. The new owners will continue to sell local beer there, but at a price: The Royal Oak in Borough - Harvey's only London pub - will have to introduce a Fullers beer. Presumably that'll mean dropping one of the brewery's own range. Boo. Hiss.
Quinno - 28 Aug 2008 11:47
A welcome 'oasis' just off the bustle of Borough High Street, this pub never disappoints with a fine range of HARVEY's ales - I love the Sussex pale.
Thankfully, this is not a gastropub but good wholesome food is available at very reasonable prices. This is my number one pub in Central London.
malo66 - 26 Aug 2008 11:39
I take it all back....
Called in for a couple on the evening of Thursday 24 July: the Pale was hazy and lacked condition and the Best Bitter was taken off because it would not clear. The otherwise excellent barman did his best, but sadly I think these were circumstances beyond his control.
This will not stop me using the pub though, the Mild was very good!
79Thatcherite - 27 Jul 2008 00:57
Yes, I've always had a decent pint in this fine pub. The BLT sandwiches are superb.
My only gripe would be that the acoustics are awful, and it does get very noisy at times. I went there recently when there was a group of shrieking tarts in the front bar. Had to put the earplugs in.
79Thatcherite - 11 Jul 2008 13:05
When you read a review like JustinForaquietpint's amongst all the other glowing ones, you wonder whether everyone's talking about the same pub. The vast majority can't be wrong. Olympia is not to everyone's taste, mine included, but that doesn't mean the pint is off. I have never had a bad pint in this pub.
southdown12jack - 26 Jun 2008 14:27
I was in here on Friday the 13th June for a meet up with a few others. I found it to be a very nice old style Pub with a very good selection of good Real Ales including Milds Tried four or five different Ales and all were in excellent condition. The good thing is the Pub has not been spoilt too much by the Gastro foodie brigade. Would definitely recommend this Pub to others.
Alesonly - 22 Jun 2008 22:50
I went to the Royal Oak last night for the first time and was very impressed. I am from Sussex and have been a Harvey's drinker all my life. Althjough i was only there for the early part of the evening I found the place to be just right, no juke box, good food, only 2 lagers (which is enough) and plenty of excellent Harvey's with the whole summer rande available. The rest of the people in all appeared to be men and women who appreciate a good pint. The prices were good as well especially for a pub in the heart of London. I will definitely be going there again.
pigeon0 - 5 Jun 2008 15:58
All of the beer that I drunk in the pub tonight was poor quality. I ordered Olympia that tasted awful. Someone else asked for one and complained that it was the end of the barrell. The one I think is the landlord a fat obnoxsous bloke said, no it was'nt, there was one pint left. He told the guy that he didnt have to drink there if he didnt like the beer which is not a good advert for Harveys. All the time the staff here are very good, the landlord should stay out the way if he takes this attitude to customers.
JustinForaquietpint - 28 May 2008 00:57
Was in today, the first time for too long. Both the light and dark milds were on top form as was the Olympia. Pubs don't get much better.
Alfnoax - 23 May 2008 22:02
I've been coming here for years, ever since the night Harveys re-opened it (when the beer was free all night!).
Still one of my favourites. The light mild was very good tonight and my pepper steak was very peppery.Another in my "I wish this was my local" category.
Ordinary - 7 May 2008 22:36
Finished here on Saturday on the way back from Charlton. Had the Mild, Pale Ale and Porter which were all ok. They also had Best and Armada. Not entirely convinced by the Harvey's beers. Rabbit casserole was very nice.
GuideDogSaint - 13 Apr 2008 21:30
Had the pleasure of finding myself in this tucked away little boozer last Saturday lunchtime after a Borough market blitz... With two small sized rooms around a central bar, the drinking space was cosy and informal, and tall etched windows in the property gave an airy light atmosphere. I sampled two of the Harvey's ales on offer, and they were both in top notch condition. Coupled with the friendly service and good company, this venue was a pleasant surprise (and almost the polar opposite of The Market Porter!). The food looked lush and copious too, but had just had a giant feed at forementioned market so gave it a miss!
TerrysJessica - 1 Apr 2008 23:22
Well-known Harveys pub, yet retains the atmosphere and feel of a backstreet boozer. Some of the best sandwiches around can be bought here. So great beer, excellent sarnies, super atmosphere top pub then. Well recommended for inclusion in a Waterloo to London Bridge crawl. Definitely one of my favourites.
RexRattus - 25 Mar 2008 22:50
Alas the interior is not a victorian original it is a later copy but lets not take anything away from what is a top pub!
Norealaleinorpington - 18 Mar 2008 16:04
Now opens normally on Saturday, abandoning its previous (& bizarre) 18:00 start, although very quiet around 14:00 so maybe word isn't out yet or, as the barman suggested, it could have been rugby affected (no tv here). Ales yesterday as per LGA's att'd list & the Best, Armada, & Porter were in fine fettle.
trainman - 16 Mar 2008 11:40
Excellent back street Victorian Harveys owned pub. This was the first pub in our pre match ale crawl yesterday. The first and in our small touring party's opinion the best.
Six hand pumped Harveys ales were available yesterday Mild, Pale, Best, Old, Armada and Porter. I have complained recently in a few of my other reviews about the increasing cost of a pint of ale recently but was very impressed with this in central London. The prices ranged from 2.50 for the 3.0 Mild to 3.00 for the 4.5 Porter. All the other available beers were pitched in between those amounts. I noted that 5 real ciders were also available, unsure if they all were available on hand pump, maybe bottled.
Fantastic original Victorian carved bar area that many other breweries have stupidly removed over the years. The lighting was quite impressive with two chandeliers in the main bar area where we arrived.
This seemed to be a real community pub which I guess there are very few left in the London area. Friendly and welcoming landlord and customers. The customer who was an Irish rugby fan and one time Wimbledon fan kept us amused during our stay. The landlord helped us with directions and was interested in where we were off to and made helpful suggestions.

Love_good_ale - 9 Mar 2008 12:25
Reliable Harvey's house with two bars, the font has high ceilings, chandeliers, etched windows and a choice of traditional chairs or wooden settles. Old theatre flyers adorn the walls. The back bar is more like a parlour with its fireplace and cosier ambience. Not quite the full range, Sussex Best, Pale, Old, and Mild. Guest beer for Valentine's being Kiss at 4.8%, a sign over the bar challenges punters to ask the barmaid for one.
Maldenman - 23 Feb 2008 13:27
I took some Australian friends of mine to see this wonderful gem of a pub. They were delighted both by the quality of the food and the superb beer range (not all Aussies like cold fizz). John the governor made them very welcome and the upshot was they have hired one bar of the pub in July for a 60th birthday bash. No wonder why this pub is so highly rated.
cochondair - 22 Feb 2008 19:53
Total winner of a pub!!
Great beers (Harveys) and happy staff.

Met some top people and had a great laugh
Badgers - 14 Feb 2008 05:42
Visited there this week -Frank & John are 2 of the friendliest and most helpful licencees in London. The beer quality was superb and the service excellent as ever.
Secretary - 13 Feb 2008 13:38
I have been visiting the Royal Oak for the past five years and have always enjoyed excellent service, beer, food and conversation. Its a super pub to seek out.
Beeel - 12 Feb 2008 12:59
A top notch pub in every respect. Beautiful unspoilt interior, retains its local feel, excellent Harvey's ales.
grecian - 6 Feb 2008 12:29
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 "f... off and 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 "f... off and get out" from the professed "Licensee" who refused to supply his name or cease swearing. A most unpleasant experience for my wife and I tinged with sadness at the rapid decline in the standard of service at this hithertoo much-loved pub.
zeitlin - 4 Feb 2008 13:33
one of the best pubs in london: fabulous interior and good atmophere.
mozzzzzz - 1 Feb 2008 18:39
Been coming here for years, me and my mates and we are never disappointed. The Harvey's ales are superb and not often found in London. The food is robust traditional British - plenty to eat!
malo66 - 30 Jan 2008 14:42
Best pub in London. Simple food but until late (9pm) - including death-defying double ham sandwiches. Harveys bitter, which is pretty much otherwise unobtainable in London, kept really well and with all of their seasonal brews too. Pretty interior, plenty of seating space. Has all the hallmarks of a good pub, including a payphone by the bar which doesn't work (and a sarcastic note posted above). Mixed bunch of drinkers - always seem to be a lot of runners in there; always good staff.
swchairman - 27 Jan 2008 20:43
This pub has a beautiful interior. Worth a visit for this alone..........but also come for the ale which is wonderful. Very much looking forward to my next visit.
biermeister - 22 Jan 2008 21:03
A proper pub.
rpadam - 18 Jan 2008 23:44
Fantastic pub. Harveys beer in top condition, great staff, freindly and efficient landlords and great food - what more could you ask for - well a decent mixed clientele and they've got that too!
Tankbuster - 17 Jan 2008 16:13
Went into this pub for a pint on Saturday. Very nice and welcoming.

Had a great pint of mild.

It's always worth a visit. I must eat here sometime as the food looks great.
maddom - 9 Jan 2008 15:09
Yes the Harvey's is good. But the place lacks atmosphere, and you do feel like your being watched. Also feels abit too much like your Gran's front room.

The Lord Clyde 5 minutes away is a much better boozer.
mrse1 - 10 Dec 2007 10:35
i like harveys, i like the royal oak - nuff said
roosterdrewster - 7 Dec 2007 13:52
Excellent pub, with great atmosphere: quiet, friendly, laidback. One of those rare pubs where you feel like spending the whole afternoon, reading a book, watching people, having quite conversations, sipping the absolutely gorgeous and very well kept Harvey ales.

Yeah, the do have the Mild - which is extremely rare, but the pint to reorder is of the Best Bitter. Real Cask Ales is the thing, of course, but don't forget to try the bottled Tom Paine and the hard-to-find Imperial Foreign Double Stout. Recommended to share with a friend, though; the alcohol content is fairly high.

Ah, and while we're at it: those big cheese sandwiches are spectacular, tasty and big enough to make you order another two pints of Best Bitter. Or three. Or four.
Hakanofsweden - 1 Dec 2007 20:59
Can't quite believe someone would go to the Royal Oak and moan about the wine list. It's kinda missing the point. You can get a choice of three different chardonnays at any identikit madeover pub or bar in London, but what you can't get is the range of wonderful Harvey's ales, the warm welcome from the landlord and landlady (who recognise you after just two visits), the timeless atmosphere and the really good hearty food (that doesn't wave the fact that it's sourced from Borough Market in your face and hitch up the cost by a fiver for doing so). As a woman, there aren't many pubs in London that I would happily go to by myself and read a book by the fire with a pint of Best at my side, but then again there aren't many pubs in London as wonderful as The Royal Oak.
trippymanda - 26 Nov 2007 18:15
Went here as in Borough and saw it on the top ten. Was absolutely astonished. It was full of toothless old women and regulars arguing that you are 'in their seat' dispite the pub being half empty. Also, very limited wine list.
scarydragqueen - 13 Nov 2007 12:50
Really nice boozer.

I'm from Sussex so I am biased, but Harvey's beer must surely be the best in the world and these people keep it really well. This week they had four on: Mild and Pale and Best Bitter and "Bonfire Boys" Old, all good, and we had one of each each. Proper dark mild, hard to come by these days, and worth going to the Oak just for the Mild!

I didn't have any food as I had to get home but my mate's plates smelled wonderful and the portions were HUGE.
bob_brown - 11 Nov 2007 00:36
Really nice boozer.

I'm from Sussex so I am biased, but Harvey's beer must surely be the best in the world and these people keep it really well. This week they had four on: Mild and Pale and Best Bitter and "Bonfire Boys" Old, all good, and we had one of each each. Proper dark mild, hard to come by these days, and worth going to the Oak just for the Mild!

I didn't have any food as I had to get home but my mate's plates smelled wonderful and the portions were HUGE.
bob_brown - 11 Nov 2007 00:36
Excellently kept selection of Harveys beers, friendly staff and customers and lovely food (I recommend the game pie). Keep up the good work.


DuchyBoy - 7 Nov 2007 09:09
it was alright nothing major to announce
anonymous - 4 Nov 2007 18:49
Despite living in SE1 for the last 18 months I had never made it in here.

Popped in for a mates birthday drinks last night and really liked the place.

Decor, service and beer quality all get 10/10 from me.

I never ate but it looked good.

Highly recommend this place if you are in the manor.


Badgers - 1 Nov 2007 11:56
A pub worth its weight in gold. Top beer, clientele mainly professionals and white collar employees. Food good, beware the booby trap boiled egg in the fish pie though!


DaveHarley - 11 Oct 2007 17:44
You are always guaranteed to enjoy different ales from the Harveys (of Lewes) stable in this pub. Staff are great and the double decker sandwiches have to be seen to be believed. A treasure of a pub.
malo66 - 8 Oct 2007 18:32
didnt like it busy so many pretentuse big mouthed self opinuanated monkeys seem to be there other wise it was ok
Smif - 8 Oct 2007 14:07
Ignore the review of 20/9/07 (@14:28). A visit to the Royal Oak will leave a positive mark in your memory for a long time. Harveys, tasted for the first time in a while on Friday the 5th of October, was superb; the PALE was indeed exquisite. Staff are remarkably friendly here given the near-overcrowding that descends on the premises of a Friday evening.
Phucough - 7 Oct 2007 21:36
Excellent session last night. Harvey's Mild, Pale and Best were on 100% top form, I enjoyed my scampi and my friend loved his sausages & mash. Despite the early crowds and having to wait for table space, I still found the pub relaxing. This really is one of London's top class pubs, and long may this continue.

Continued 10/10.
lad_newton - 6 Oct 2007 12:23
A splendid pub in an area with plenty of competition. Great few pints tonight!
billtc - 6 Oct 2007 03:18
Went in this lunchtime for the first time in ages. The mild was excellent as was the service and food. Best tied house in London by far!
Alfnoax - 26 Sep 2007 15:09
Idiots like anonymous are ruining the site for everyone. You must know who he is, as he must have registered to be able to post. Please do something about it.
southdown12jack - 21 Sep 2007 14:17
never been there read the reviews if those are the punters then i wont be going.
please add a review if there is any loose women there
do they have stamford press cider ???

anonymous - 20 Sep 2007 14:28
love it!
polegateseagull - 10 Sep 2007 17:38
Still a top quality proper pub; Harveys Mild very good but will stick to Sussex next time !
mtaylor40 - 8 Sep 2007 12:24
Nil rating due to not being open. Rang to confirm opening times on Saturday and food availability. Turn up in the afternoon to find it shut with no indication of when it opens.
Barra - 6 Sep 2007 10:20
this is quite simply a really good pub selling one of the truly great beers (Harveys) in top nick. Hope the smoking ban doesn't bugger it all up for them.
nelly0164 - 27 Aug 2007 13:11
Superb Harveys pub selling their full range of ales. The Mild (2.40) and PA (2.50) were in excellent condition on Sunday afernoon, and the food looked very nice too. One not to miss when in the area.
wee_jock - 20 Aug 2007 09:24
A superb local which does things properly - decent beer (sensible prices) and reasonably priced food (which does not dominate). Add decent service, pleasant bar staff and no loud music, TV screens and you have a winner. Simple really. It would get a 10 but for the occasional whiff of chip fat which can dominate the atmosphere, but wasn't present on my last visit.
simontheeditor - 15 Aug 2007 15:13
Great pint and some very nice food as well. The beer up to Lewes standard for Harvey's (which is praise indeed). Well worth a visit.
Tigerdrinker - 14 Aug 2007 18:01
wish i didn't live the other side of london to here; concur with everyone else it seems this is a wonderful pub, with excellent beer.
mps77 - 13 Aug 2007 13:39
Only been in the once, which is a shame, great beer
kenincamden - 7 Aug 2007 10:27
Ive been popping in here on and off for several years, since Harveys took it on. I even went on the re-opening night, when the brewery paid for the drinks all night.

In again last night for another good evening; rabbit stew was on the menu and it made a rather good supper, washed down with some excellent ales. The pub was busy almost a rarity in a backstreet local these days, so what are they doing right that others arent?

This is another of those I wish it was my local pubs.

Ordinary - 12 Jul 2007 14:05
Absolutely class pub - definitely worth not stopping at The George and stumbling a little bit further down Borough High Street from London Bridge.
jonnyt - 9 Jul 2007 13:16
A flagship within the capital for Harvey's beers - rather hard core real ale for some perhaps but quite brilliant in my book. The variety of ale on offer can usually sustain an entire evening. The excellent and genuinely home-cooked food helps things along. All in all, an excellent pub.
MeurglysIII - 20 Jun 2007 23:40
Here Here.
anonymous - 15 Jun 2007 19:45
The gentleman below speaks in isolation, this is a fine pub - plenty of award-winning, well-kept Harveys ale, a smashing atmosphere and at least one lager available for those needful of such a drink.

The pub attracts the reviews it deserves thanks to the efforts of Frank and his team. Featured in Camra GBG for its beer amongst other attributes, it is bound to attract ale-focused commentaries, good ale attracts loyal ale drinkers, whilst lager that tastes the same wherever you go will not hold such enthusiasms. Long may this continue.
Phucough - 14 Jun 2007 22:40
Too many Ales for my liking and not enough lagers. I guess most of the beer geeks on BITE get aroused by ales so I can see why the reviews are so high. Food is very good though.
Chav_man - 14 Jun 2007 15:29
First visited this wonderful pub back in 2003 and very pleased to find it's not changed. Usually stocks the full range of Harveys excellent Sussex ales, at least five (Best, IPA, Mild, Armada and either Old or Olympia) at one time plus a seasonal (different one for most months) or one-off brew. Bizzarly, you usually don't find this range of Harveys in their three Lewes pubs! A Sussex oasis in south London - deserves a visit and top marks.
Highbury - 14 Jun 2007 12:34
Spent a thoroughly enjoyable Sunday afternoon here yesterday joining friendly locals and very hospitable landlord. Excellent Harveys Sussex Mild & Knots of May at 2.40 per pint - intended to advance to the Harveys Pale Ale but just could not leave the Mild alone! Very good value Sunday lunch at 7.75 served until 4.45 pm (most civilised for those who like to lie in on a Sunday morning). Will definitely return soon.
zeitlin - 4 Jun 2007 22:12
Absolutely superb.

Spent Friday evening here with six friends. Sussex Pale was so good it was hard to come off it. Pub is completely unchanged since my last visit and the beer quality, staff friendliness and atmosphere win the pub a continuing mark of 10/10.

Fully deserving of all the praise heaped upon it from other reviewers.
lad_newton - 2 Jun 2007 20:12
I went to this pub for lunch today and was not disappointed. Enjoyed beautiful chips (not the frozen so called french fries) with bacon sausage and egg, washed down with 2 pints of Sussex Best ale!
malo66 - 24 May 2007 18:03
Fantastic pub, wonderful Harveys Beers-comfortably one of Londons finest.
BlindTiger - 18 May 2007 13:34
I love this pub. It looks great, the beer is excellent (especially the Pale Ale which was fantastic) and the service is good. Worth going out your way for. Will be coming back again soon. One of my very few 10/10s
TheHorsesMouth - 11 May 2007 12:52
Always considered this pub first rate with quality Harvey's ales, good layout & decor, lovely food (based on a single experience) and friendly service. This week, however, I had a most unfortunate experience when the barman (E.Euro, I think) sneezed into his hands before serving me then reached straight for a pint glass without giving a thought to washing first. It quite put me off my beer; I must give the Royal Oak a low rating and a wide berth until I manage to erase the incident from my mind.
trainman - 11 May 2007 08:39
First visited this place two years ago and consider that the extra journey to drink here is well worth a diversion on returning from Gibraltar! Super ale, atmosphere and decor... a blast from the past!
Gillyches - 7 May 2007 10:56
first visit to this place - slightly off the beaten Borough track, it was fit to bursting on a Wednesday at 6pm. a large group of squeezed in and loved the place - great atmosphere between a cosy lounge and almost-as-cosy bar area, lovely wood feel to the place, and very tasty looking pies... I tried a very distinctive porter, and another I enjoyed but couldn't remember by the end of the evening. strikes me as a perfect place for a lazy saturday afternoon of pints n grub. a delight
automatik - 3 May 2007 15:16
What a great traditional pub - excellent beer (Harveys Mild @ 2.40) & friendly locals & staff in comfortable surroundings & glorious Victorian decor sadly long removed from numerous pubs with most brewers' current conversions to trendy bars & over-priced pseudo gastro pubs in the misconceived belief that they will maximise takings thereby. When will the national brewers (& sadly now Youngs) realise that such current marketing is destroying a unique culture which is envied throughout the western world! Just missed the scallops & bacon (8.95) yesterday but will return earlier next time!
zeitlin - 1 May 2007 01:33
Not the cheapest pint of Harvey's beer that you'll find but the Royal Oak is a welcome outlet for their beer range in an area where trendy bars abound. A short walk from Borough tube and the ever popular market, this is a real pub with an interior virtually untouched by time. If you like real pubs and real beer, this is an irresistable combination.
Alerover - 16 Apr 2007 20:36
This is my FAVOURITE London pub. What is there not to like? A varied selection of locals and people who travel from a few miles away. Good beer and good plain old-fashioned(in the nicest way) food. The architecture is great and the staff are all helpful. Great landlord too!
malo66 - 16 Apr 2007 14:29
I made a special trip to find this pub after seeing their advert in London Drinker.

It was well worth the visit, the beer was on top form and the pub itself is wonderful. A good pint of Harveys is worth searching out.
petergoesrock - 16 Apr 2007 11:02
Wonderful pub. You really feel as if you have stepped back in time to a world long before chain pubs and cheap, fizzy lager. Original bar and fittings really contribute to the cosy, anachronistic feel.
Ale is excellent. I was initally reluctant to come here as I had been previously served some rancid Harveys beer throughout Sussex, but the Royal Oak has now completely altered my opinion of Harveys! I had the Armada and the Best - both excellent, very moreish!
I am yet to try the food, but the menu and previous remarks certainly make it seem very appealing!
Well worth a visit.
Highly recommended, and sadly, almost unique amongst pubs.
Morris.E.Smith - 22 Mar 2007 14:50
Good food.
Good beer.
Good staff.

Only gripe I do have is it's a bit pricey but I suppose you pay for quality.
DH_PARKY - 21 Mar 2007 15:39
Excellent pub - not the most salubrious inside but the beer was exceptionally good - had the Best and Harveys Kiss. The Best was outstanding. No scratchings means it only gets a 9.
anonymous - 4 Mar 2007 21:30
Friday saw a great session with 5 of us enjoying wonderful beer as ever. Mild pale and old were consumed with great enthusiasm all beers on top form.
A quite brilliant pub.
ed.spbw - 3 Mar 2007 23:20
Paid another visit on Friday. Still doing a great job in here with a good range of the Harveys, including a couple of guests.

There are better interiors to drink beer in nearby (stand up, Lord Clyde) but rarely do the beers come as good as the nectar served up in The Oak.

Deserving of high praise and many visits.
Quinno - 28 Feb 2007 23:01
Excellent pub with a full range of Harvey's ales. We had the mild and old ale. Both were in good nick, but the old ale was superb. You can buy cheap used books for charity as well. The landlord was personable and knowledgeable about the beers. Great place to spend an afternoon. When you get out at Borough tube station just ask the newspaper salesman for directions to the pub. You won't be disappointed.
endoderm - 24 Feb 2007 15:49
One of my favourite pubs in all the world. Food is stupendous, huge portions of lamb shank, rabbit, sometimes halibut & pheasant and loads more at a reasonable price. Full range of Harveys beers including always the excellent dark Mild. Winner of SPBW London pub of the year twice in the last 4 years.
Secretary - 22 Feb 2007 11:35
I've always enjoyed my visits. Beer has never been anything less than excellently cared for. The food is an excellent value for money. The staff have always been genuinely friendly. Its the sort of place that is as comfortable as sitting in my own front room.
Zaphod - 16 Feb 2007 16:42
I love this pub, but then i love Harveys beers, They normally have the full range including a seasonal, also they do huge portions of reasonably priced food.
lovesong - 16 Feb 2007 16:22
Decent little pub with plenty of character. Wasn't mad on the Harveys bitter I had, but OK.
JonW999 - 16 Feb 2007 10:50
Yeah, only Harvey's, but it's kept very well! Great service and atmosphere, but getting a bit small, given its fame.
Regis - 14 Feb 2007 13:24
Wonderful beer and atmosphere. The food's good too. My favourite London pub. Harvey's did a great job in recreating traditional-style pub fittings.
g.brandwood - 11 Feb 2007 10:01
Excellent pub. Good food, beer and people.
seasiderMM - 10 Feb 2007 07:52
A top pub. Good ales etc
JockStrap - 19 Jan 2007 08:30
Interesting two room pub, a little quiet when I visited on Sunday afternoon, maybe it's a bit more lively at other times. The interior is old-school, plenty of wood around, plus shelves of books to make it feel like yer living room. The beer selection comprised only Harvey's, which I found slightly disappointing as I'm not so found of them; would've been nice to have a guest on just for variety.

Certainly worth a visit, but I wouldn't go miles out of my way.
Muzthing - 8 Jan 2007 20:42
If you eat here, you leave very happy. Best pub food in London, in my experience. Everything's good about this place, and it genuinely surprises me that anyone could go and not want to rave about it to everyone they know. You know a pub is good when people aim to get their at opening time - I once went pretty much on the dot at 6pm on a Saturday assuming I'd be the first in. Feelings of sheepishness as I walked were totally unwarranted as about six other people had beaten me to it.

This pub has one of the most traditional interiors I have ever seen - yet totally unpretentious with it, which makes all the difference.

I haven't been recently and need to put that right - is the seasonal Harvey's porter on yet?

stonch.blogspot.com
anonymous - 5 Jan 2007 17:33
Maybe I'm biased as I use this pub quite regularly but I think it's one of the best anywhere. The draught beers are lovingly looked after and therefore always in top condition; the staff are friendly and efficient and the food is good and substantial. My only complaint is perhaps that it's become too popular - but it deserves it.
ed.spbw - 30 Dec 2006 21:19
Loved it here. Spent a Sunday afternoon reading the papers, drinking the Best and having an excellent roast. Pleasant seating areas, very friendly bar staff. There were a group of people (15 or so) all singing carols too which was great to hear. You can't help but sense a real community spririt in this place and I would recommend it to everyone - except I don't want it to be rammed so I will keep it to myself....
Mr_Flash - 18 Dec 2006 13:57
ChrisF, 27th Nov, must be jesting. Nothing here is "overcooked" or "murdered"! You will find perfectly prepared vegetables accompanying the best home-cooking in London. My wife, no mean cook herself, on her first visit here, declared she would be making this her first choice London pub for food.

For myself, I just love a few pints of Harveys, and trying the latest "seasonal" offerings from the full range stocked here. However,I stuck to an old favourite, the Sussex Best on Friday lunchtime. It just begged to be drunk...
Alph_river - 17 Dec 2006 13:37
One of the best pubs in London which I try to visit as often as possible.

The beer is always excellent as is the food. Even though I only had a cheese sandwich last night it was made with delicious bread and cheese. Last week I had the lamb shank which was delicious too - and a large meal.

The staff are friendly and efficient and the whole pub has a welcoming nature. The pub is usually brightly lit but last week I arrived after the power cut and the interior was beautifully transformed by candles on all the tables. They should do that more often.
GrahamA - 15 Dec 2006 11:36
Top quality pub not a million miles from the entertainment strip that is Borough High Street. It's so unpretentious here, you can't fault it. Beer is good. I love the no nonsense food menu -- you won't find "Triplet of succulent pork sausages, served on a bed of garlic mash with a red onion jus" here. You will find excellent sausage and mash. And some of those items that don't normally appear. The venison casserole was loved by one of my co-drinkers. Bar staff friendly and efficient. Prices are reasonable.
jamesRadley - 5 Dec 2006 16:34
This is a superb pub. The full range of excellent Harveys beers, Old/Armada/Sussex Best/Mild/Pale. No distractions like music or TV screens, just the quiet burbling of contented beer-drinkers. The food is exactly what you look for in pub grub, nothing poncey, just stuff like overcooked roast beef and murdered vegetables. More pubs should be like this.
ChrisF - 27 Nov 2006 11:00
I always think this place is called the Duke of York for some reason.

I tend to agree with an previous reviewer's description of the beers - pleasant but unremarkable. But you're either a fan of Harvey's or you're not. If you are, you'll be as happy as Collymore in a car-park.

All in all a pub with no obvious flaws and clearly a strong BITE following. Well worth a visit.

Boozywoozy - 21 Nov 2006 11:19
Nice pub, tucked away on a residential street in sarf London. Polite staff, decent ales, Victorian (or at the very latest Edwardian) decor makes for a very old fashioned feel. Overall: nice, but I can't help thinking I've stepped into a timewarp when I visit...
burnsy - 14 Nov 2006 13:16
Ship & Shovel and Sultan (especially the latter) are indeed decent pubs and so is the Oak. I'd like to see another Harvey's and Hop Back pub in central London too. In fact I'd love to see one of them save the Fox and Anchor near Smithfields!!!

As for the brew, I like it. Maybe Ale K should try it again.

mitomighty - 10 Nov 2006 23:52
I would have to say I disagree with the last post (but one mans nectar is another mans poison so this is not a criticism!)

The fact is that they have a good variety of beers (in terms of style and strength,) that far outstrips the Ship & Shovell (where I think the beer quality is ordinary.)For example THe S & S has $ (and the same 4 pretty much all the time, the Royal Oak has At least 6,most of which you rarely see elsewhere in London.

As for the Sultan................I only wish those nice people at Hopback would open a central London watering hole.
Norealaleinorpington - 8 Nov 2006 16:09
Tucked away, I found this to have a nice, traditional dcor and layout, with very friendly bar staff, who knew their produce, and a nice atmosphere. As for the second best pub in London (and the fifth best in the country), there is a vital aspect that, for me, stopped it progressing past very good into excellent. That, controversially, is the ale.

The indigenous Harveys selection was somewhat middle of the road, so when I walked in there, I didnt have Wow, Ill start off with that and try that and then moment, something I've experienced in excellent boozers. Mild, Pale and Best were all pleasant enough but unremarkable. It is this lack of character that takes the gloss off an otherwise quality pub. If I compare other brewery-owned pubs that I have strolled into, the regular beers have a more distinct identity too them, which makes the pub/drinking experience more varied and distinct. Stripping out guest ales, the domestic/seasonal ales on offer at the Badger-owned Ship & Shovel (Tanglefoot, Fursty Ferret) or the Hop Back-owned Sultan (GFB, Stout, Summer Lightning) present a bit more flair, taste and personality, which I think gives them more of an edge.

Despite that quibble, it certainly warrants a visit and I will return. A great put but, according to my palate at least, the slight lack of character in the ales prevents it from attaining such a lofty and prestigious position in the Top 10 table.
AleKing - 7 Nov 2006 10:22
To put it simply - this pub rocks! Great real ales (I had the Armada myself which was lush) and amazing food! Of the main road, great interior, loads of CAMRA awards on the walls and books for sale! I just love this pub!
london_fox - 31 Oct 2006 15:58
This was the second pub we hit on our Saturday night crawl with RobBeer. What a nice place. It looked like it's been around forever, so I was surprised to read that it was fairly new in the g0od pub guide. We had the mild, pale ale, and best bitter that I remember. All were in great condition and tasted wonderful! We also ate a late dinner here. My wife had a sandwich which was huge and I had a delicious pie as well. This place is well worth checking out or adding to a pub crawl if you're on the south side. It's not far from many of the other places one would be checking out (market porter, rake, etc.)

surfadelic23 - 30 Oct 2006 13:10
This is a nice pub with a good old interior and some nice real ales.

The Harvey's beers are really nice and well kept. I particularly enjoyed the Old Ale.

I didn't eat but some people were and the food looked amazing. I'll definitely be going back to eat at some point.
lukemarson - 29 Oct 2006 17:42
It was indeed a random beer that no Harveys name on.

Maybe more a long-lost cousin than a guest beer...
Quinno - 18 Oct 2006 21:21
I think Quinno probably means the Harveys seasonals when he says guest beers. There is always the standard seasonal, whether it be Old or Porter or whatever, but then the Royal Oak always seems to have on something else random on - often not clearly labelled as being a Harveys beer (though it always is). At the moment they have a 5.5% IPA, previously I have seen a lovely one-off stout called Black Bull and some kind of wheat beer.

Last night I was in there with a mate and we and asked if they had any bottles of Imperial Stout knocking around. Two bottles of 2001 vintage (bottle conditioned) were duly uncorked and served up. Like treacle. Complex, alcoholic treacle.
anonymous - 18 Oct 2006 19:20
Quinno. There are no guest beers served in any Harvey's pubs, the exception beng when the brewerty (and the rest of Cliffe) flooded in Oct 2000 and the late lamented King and Barnes provided some beers. Harvey's do brew a great range of seasonal and occasional beers though which the Royal Oak frequently chooses to sell.
CJG - 18 Oct 2006 17:31
An excellent Harvey's outlet, with a few guest beers on too. Great to see. Pop along!
Quinno - 15 Oct 2006 00:34
Sublime.
CJG - 9 Oct 2006 09:16
I was heartened to find this one sitting atop a national Top 40 of BITE ratings; it is indeed a classic and alas, something of a rarity in London. A Harvey's pub is pretty rare outside Sussex; to have one in Borough is a God-send. On every visit the ales have been excellently kept (all 5), and the home-made, traditional food is keenly priced and well worth sampling if one favours solids as well as liquids. The pub interior itself is I believe a very faithful and award-winning replica of classic Victoriana, which is not at all ersatz and successfully avoids gloom and "themed" cliche. A must for ale lovers, traditional pub-goers, and anyone around really.
TWG - 4 Oct 2006 17:29
Quite simply the finest example of a London pub which ticks all the boxes.
It comes into its own when it's quieter, say on a Tuesday evening, when there's a chance to have an interesting conversation with the other locals, or the landlord when he's not run off his feet.

Excellent Harveys of Lewes ales. Miles Jenner: if you read this be proud - you've a good'un here.

Proper home-made steak and kidney pudding which even mother couldn't do better.

Go there, but take a couple of ale-loving chums, and enjoy an unspoiled proper grown-ups' pub.
Cheers
zjp - 3 Oct 2006 11:34
A real gem of a pub
LittleTim - 24 Sep 2006 12:37
Really excellent well-kept beers: yesterday I and buddy Ian stopped for an early evening drink and chat - the mild, pale ale, and best bitter were all at their best. It's comfortable and friendly, and a background of happy chatter and NO muic or -zak.
zorrodp - 21 Sep 2006 15:04
Without doubt, London's finest pub.
SteveinLondon - 10 Sep 2006 23:53
Visited Friday 1st September for lunch. My wife, a fish-eating vegetarian was impressed by her smoked trout salad until she saw the size of my steak and kidney pudding. (Phnar-phnar!) A truly wondrous portion of home-cooking, and worth every penny. A pint of Sussex best and a pint of mild completed a hearty and memorable meal. My wife has decided to try and move her pals to here from another pub near London Bridge, especially as the food is served until 9.15pm.
Alph_river - 2 Sep 2006 19:11
I was there on Thursday. Comfortable friendly pub, interior has some nice Victorian features, about six Harvey's beers.
clissold345 - 2 Sep 2006 02:16
Last time I was in the Royal Oak a (rather substantial) steak and ale pie was under 6. Does Banner need an eye test?
zappomatic - 31 Aug 2006 20:29
When negative reviews like Banner's appear about this pub, I wonder whether the reviewer is in the right pub! If you want comfy seats then, no, this place is not for you. It is a real pub for beer drinkers, which happens to do (very good) food. As for guest ales, Harvey's don't have guest ales (from other breweries) in their pubs, so I can only assume he/she means a seasonal ale. Some of these are of very high strength, hence the higher price. The prices of the regular ales are higher than average for most other Harvey's pubs, but not for London (even in a back street in Southwark). As far as the food is concerned, I have never seen a pie priced over 8. I have always found the food to be very good value, especially bearing in mind the quantity you get. As the vast majority of the reviews attest, this is a brilliant little pub.
southdown12jack - 8 Aug 2006 12:26
THe area is less than salubrious but this place is well worth seeking out. Harvey's Ales were superbly kept (the Best was better here than the Market Porter) and the staff were really friendly. Had Sunday lunch here - 2 roasts (massive and delicious) and 2 pints came to less than 20 quid so I don't know what the poster below is complaining about - this is London, and you're not going to find much lower prices outside of Wetherspoons- I'd say the Royal Oak was fantastic value.

Manages to do this without losing the feel of a proper drinking local - an absolutely marvellous pub.
MrLash - 7 Aug 2006 16:05
My experience (and that of my friends) last Friday (4/8/06) was excellent. I brought a friend over from Witham who's never visited the Royal Oak before and he was very pleasantly surprised.

The Harvey's Pale ale was on top form - fully flavoured with that excellent saline mouthfeel associated with Harveys. The dark mild was also very well-kept.

I enjoyed every mouthful of the cottage pie which was well-prepared and full of flavour.

Add to this staff who were nothing but friendly and easy-going from start to finish. The whole atmosphere of the pub is relaxing and friendly, more than making up for any lack of architectural intimacy afforded by the high ceiling.

Having missed the pub for some considerable time (maybe focusing too much on well-known licensed premises in N4 and N1) this was a real treat.

And to the Czech guys behind the bar:

NAZDRAVI

Cheers - 10/10
lad_newton - 7 Aug 2006 13:17
Some of the best Harvey's Tom Paine (seasonal July brew) I have had this year. The food was also splendid. I couldn't see an obvious no smoking area although I didn't actively search for one.
anonymous - 2 Aug 2006 20:53
A disappointing experience overall. The drinks are very expensive - a pint of guest ale and a pint of shandy came to 6.20 - and the setting arrangements are less the comfortable. The bench that my friend and I sat on was very lumpy and we were virtually sat on top of each, even though 4 people should have been able to sit on it. We had intended to eat there, but after the poor value of the drinks, we didnt fancy paying over 8 for a pie! Good selection of real ales though.
Banner - 2 Aug 2006 12:38
Food in here is stupidly good value. Three of us ate here on Saturday at about 6.30pm. A decent lamb roast with all the trimmings was outdone by a rabbit casserole consisting of a whole bunny which in turn was outdone by my steak and kidney pudding which good have fed a family of four. And while we were sitting goggle eyed staring at the mounds of food in front of us, the experience was enhanced by a huge plate of veg being slapped down in the middle of the table.

I just don't think this pub could be any better, I really don't.
anonymous - 17 Jul 2006 15:44
One of the best pubs in London. Great range of Harvey's, both on tap and in bottle. Food is pretty good too.

Nice mix of punters, a homely interior and a very accomodating landlord. What more could you want?
9/10
NoLasher - 30 Jun 2006 18:35
Popped in here with a couple of friends the other day. Very good to find Harvey's Mild in London, and even better to find that it's kept so well. The pale ale was good too.
mhanley - 28 Jun 2006 09:08
It used to close at weekends, but started opening Saturday 6pm to 11pm and Sunday 12am to 6pm. As far as I know this is still the case.
southdown12jack - 26 Jun 2006 14:16
I love this pub. The design is great, with the two bar setup and the close seating. It has a real feel of a great London pub, and Harveys beer is always good. I think it's closed on Saturdays which always seemed odd to me because the area seems more residential than business. 8/10
Gueuzefan - 22 Jun 2006 00:52
Blimey, Piggles. Everyone is entitled to their opinion but you're a tough customer to please. Every time I've drunk in here I've lamented the fact that the majority of pubs aren't a patch on this one. The landlord really knows his ale and I've never known the beers to be in anything less than tip top condition. "The pale ale and porter were standard for their genres"? - mate, if everyone brewed like this, I'd be a happy man. Are you sure you went to the same Royal Oak all the rest of us are talking about? This is one of the VERY VERY best pubs in London.


realalemadness - 3 Jun 2006 15:54
Piggles,
Its a shame that you had a bad experience at this pub, but I would suggest going again. When I talk to my ignorant lager drinking compatriots I tell them that (among many other things) one of the advantages of real ale is that every batch of even the same label tastes different and that every pint is an excicting new experience. Natuarally then yo umay come across a bad or less than exciting brew, but sometimes you find a drink from heaven. Harvey's for me has always been consistantly favourable, and to find mild in Londonn is fantastic. As for my favourate beers I must go with Hydes, Pictish, Marble (a manchester micro)and phoenix. We're certainly blessed in the North West.
The Royal oak has a fantastic interior and a great selection of very well kept beers, I'm sorry you weren't impressed, please try again...

Bensonby
bensonby - 22 May 2006 15:48
I popped in here yesterday. Although there were five Harvey's ales on offer these included two milds at just 3.0%ABV and Pale at 3.5%, which was a bit disappointing for me as this is the only place you regularly get any Harvey's brew other than Best in Greater London as far as I'm aware.

I had a couple of pints of Best and a couple of Armada. Obviously any beer might not be to your particular taste, but I have to say both those I sampled here were in peak condition. My pints weren't just good, they were exceptional. If there have been any quality issues recently they certainly weren't in evidence on my visit.
Rich66 - 21 May 2006 22:49
I regularly visit this pub; now it cannot be said that Harveys is my favourite brewer......but the beer has always been in top nick when I have been.
Camraboy - 17 May 2006 22:39
Popped in for a quick half after lunch today. Favourably impressed. Will definitely return after which I will do a longer write-up.
malcolmw - 15 May 2006 20:41
Dearest anonymous,

I've been drinking ale for much too long now. I have, just since January 1st of 2006, enjoyed over 200 real ales. I certainly did not mean to disparage the fine name of Harvey's as they are a worthy addition to the world of real ale; if these ales are so wonderful, then the landlord and staff must not TAKE CARE of the ale that they serve (which is MUCH worse!). The Olympia tasted like an American lager, the bitter was bland and had no finish. The pale ale and porter were standard for their genres.

I, of course, admit that my bad experience at this pub could have been 'unusual' but as this pub was sought out based on the reviews on this site, I felt it necessary to let everyone know that not ALL experiences are good.

Oh, and as for what I do like? If you think Harvey's is anything to talk about, try Dark Star and Milton breweries. Original, flavourful and fantastic brews.

Cheers,
Piggles
Piggles - 14 May 2006 09:42
Piggles, if you are really an "avid real ale" drinker and don't like Harvey's distinctive and wonderful beers, it rather makes me wonder what you do like? I suppose tastes vary but it would be a shame if people were put off this pub due to your unusual take on a fabulous brewery's beers.
anonymous - 9 May 2006 11:09
A disappointment. Positives: The pub has a wonderful interior, and the bar staff are attentive and pour proper pints. Negatives: The beer was awful. We are avid real ale drinkers and attempted to enjoy pints of the Olympia Golden Ale, Best Bitter, Sussex Pale Ale and their Porter. All were substandard at best.

If you are looking for a pub to while away an afternoon or evening, only come here if you don't care about what you drink.
Piggles - 26 Apr 2006 21:06
A great pub selling great beer. 'nuff said
TonyAle - 24 Apr 2006 20:50
The consistent appearance of this place in the BITE top 10 made it worth seeking out (which wasn't hard since I live about a mile away). And I can only endorse previous comments, this place had a good atmosphere with happy and earnest service. Sampled both sides of the bar to get a proper perspective. And although I'm not a CAMRA devotee like so many BITE users, I will certainly be going back. Whilst the pale ale wasn't exactly a taste sensation, it was just the job in terms of a gentle introduction to a casual Sunday session.
iceinthecider - 24 Apr 2006 13:46
A marvellous pub. Splendid beers; excellent service.
oldgold - 4 Mar 2006 12:32
First class with a wonderful (restored) victorian interior, maintains separate saloon and lounge bars divided by a pseudo-off sales counter. Four bar staff on who were friendly enough and knew what they were doing (though strangely not when asked for a G&T...). Five real ales on when I visited - all Harvey's of course, this being a tied house - Best Bitter, Old, Mild, Pale and Armada. Tried the 3.0% Mild which was disappointing but the Old was outstanding and the Armada (a seasonal?) was decent too. Quite a middle aged crowd, seemingly quite well heeled.

Food looked brilliant - and you can get a proper pub meal here for about a fiver which is very good by London standards and considering the popularity of the pub.
anonymous - 1 Mar 2006 11:27
Great Pub
Great Food
Nice Beer
Friendly staff Frank, Charlie and all the crew are doing a great job.
Best kept secret, Well almost in the area......
Give it a visit.......

notasipper - 21 Feb 2006 19:46
Harveys has outlets for their beer at The Market Porter, The Pakenham Arms and a few others, but this is their own boozer so well worth seeking out. The service is excellent, the brews pure nectar. First Class.
BothamsAshes - 10 Feb 2006 14:13
What a great pub this is! I happened to be in last night, when the Society for Preservation of Beers from the Wood were presenting them with their Pub of the Year Award for 2006, and they were giving free drinks and handing round food. Great atmosphere.

And Harveys' Armada Bitter is superb!
Tweak_Head - 3 Feb 2006 15:06
This must be one of the best pubs in London. Non-fussy traditional interior with excellent beer and food - staffed by friendly helpful people. One of the guys serving brought the specials board over to our table to save us having to go to the bar - you don't get that in every pub.

The only thing detracting from our visit last night was that we found ourselves sitting in smokers' corner and my clothes reeked of ashtray this morning.
GrahamA - 25 Jan 2006 13:32
Fantastic, possibly the best pub in london. Beer quality is superb, and you can get a decent mild!! - first time Ive ever found a decent mild in london! The staff are friendly and there seems to be plenty of regulars all saying hello to the landlord who seems pleasant and seems to know his stuff.
Splendid original interior, with handpumps dominating the the bar, with the revolting eurobrews kept to a minimum. A realy gem, with a really "unique" and "unspoilt" feel. Classic.
bensonby - 19 Jan 2006 14:36
Wonderful pub, relaxed and civilised. Harveys beer is quite possibly the best in Britain - and the Royal Oak sells the full range. Try the mild or the old ale - absolutely delicious and very rare treats in London. Why can't all beer be this good? If you want to stand up necking a bottle of Bud whilst listening to techno go somewhere else.
MrSOBA - 8 Jan 2006 20:59
Great Pub.

Beer quality 2nd to none.
pubwatcher - 10 Nov 2005 13:19
This is a damn fine pub. How the heck I'd not gone before I'll never know, but I'm very glad I did. Since it was Bonfire Night it was a little quiet, which made for a much better chance for conversations, both in the public bar, and in the lounge. The Harveys' ales I had were in fine nick, and Frank, the landlord, couldn't have been nicer. Maybe the stars just aligned perfickly on Bonfire Night '05!
martineaux - 7 Nov 2005 17:12
The Royal Oak is a rare example of an unspoilt, Victorian boozer but with the added attraction of top drawer beers courtesy of Lewess Harveys Brewery. Tucked away in a not so attractive housing estate off Borough High Street, you would not find it unless you are specifically heading for it. The exterior is that of a typical Victorian corner pub with no real discerning features but once through the front door you enter a classic Victorian lobby resplendent with its etched glass windows. The inside is divided into 2 rooms by a central bar. The room to the left the lobby is the smaller, comfy bar with interesting photos and prints (especially note the old interior pub photos by the Gents toilets). There is an original fireplace with books on the mantle piece, more etched windows and a few stools at the bar. To the right of the lobby there is a more open area with seats and tables by the picture windows and a larger area to congregate at the bar. The beers are all top notch Harveys bitters and whilst they do the usual run of lagers etc, about 90% of the people in the pub during my visit were all drinking the bitter which says something for the quality of the beers. The food looked very good, was reasonably priced and was still being served beyond 8.00pm. The pub has no modern thrills, no games machines, no music, no pool tables and no dart board, just sensible, friendly customers and staff. Many Victorian pubs have lost their shape and character through various refurbishments over the years but the Royal Oak is the real McCoy. Make an effort to visit.
RogerB - 4 Nov 2005 16:08
The beer is always in excellent condition. In the unlikely event that it isn't, tell Frank the landlord and he will always change it immediately. The food is very good too, and extremely good value. Although I now live in Harvey's home town, I still visit this pub as often as I can. It is one of their best.
southdown12jack - 2 Nov 2005 11:20
Have recently arrived in the area. Found the pints to be fine. The food has certainly made an impact and in particular I find the choice and quality of the Sunday lunches as good as I have had anywhere
robhollas - 29 Oct 2005 10:55
Latest visit, of many, last night. Beer superb as always (especially the Old on this visit), food very good (and ver big), pub atmosphere great, interior and exterior of pub gorgeous. All up a REAL and (almost) perfect pub. I say almost, but the only thing that would really make it better is if I lived next to it...
JollyGreenGiant - 14 Oct 2005 22:07
I vist this pub on a semi-regular basis with friends on a Friday night. I am quite surprised by reports of mediocre beer, because I have always found the Harveys beers to be on excellent form. The atmosphere is a little more "businesslike" on Friday nights and other busy times because they have a pub to run. If the pub, staff, beer and food are all the same as 3 or 4 months ago, I leave my rating at 10/10. "Frank" is very friendly.

lad_newton - 12 Oct 2005 17:22
The pub is quiet and unspoilt and I've no complaint about the beer, but I wouldn't say that the evening staff are particularly friendly or welcoming.

But has the food improved to its earlier glory or is it still being ruined by over-cooking?
intemperanceleague - 12 Oct 2005 14:15
The Royal Oak is a wonderful pub. It is an old-fashioned pub in the best sense - friendly punters, landlord and staff, preserved interior. I can't understand the comments from some of the reviewers - I have been here dozens of times and have never had anything other than a perfect pint. The seasonal Harvey's brew is nearly always available, often with Armada as well as the standard Harvey's bitter. Small, cosy and relaxing - thoroughly recommended for the cerebral, friendly ale drinker.
Get_me_some_Old_Tom - 12 Oct 2005 13:58
Let me clarify, I've not had a bad pint here, just 'nothing special' ones.
mym - 12 Oct 2005 09:35
The landlord's very friendly here, best take any complaints about "bad" pints straight to him because he wouldn't see a punter leave unhappy. I dont think I have ever taken a "bad" pint back to the bar here cos I've not had one.

Note that this is a SPBW (Beers-from-the-Wood) friendly pub.
jamie.nakin - 12 Oct 2005 01:45
True, two bars, but they don't, to me, feel very separated (and the main of the two bars is HUGE). I'm still not finding the beers in top condition when I call - I was starting to think it was just that Harvey's beers per se were not my type but last week I had a pint of their best bitter at the Market Porter (close by) and it was excellent. I still like this pub though.
mym - 9 Oct 2005 14:29
A proper old fashioned pub - well run with a landlord who welcomes you in and says goodnight as you leave. This is the only London outlet for the outstanding Harvey's beers, and the condition is always excellent. The pub has been lovingly restored to its Victorian splendour so there is a genuine warmth and character in the place. There is a modestly decorated public bar on the front corner, and a smaller but more richly decorated lounge bar at the back. In between is a small off-sales area. A superb pub, well worth the effort of seeking out.
SilkTork - 9 Oct 2005 09:23
What are you talking about Mym? This gem of a pub still has two distinct bars and the remnants of what must have been the off-licence once. Haven't found a snug yet but when I do I'm sure the ghost of Martha Longhurst will be there - face down in a glass of milk stout.
Skulevard - 8 Oct 2005 23:03
Nice looking pub-but got the definite feeling that I was 20 years too young for the place-by the looks of the weathered regulars....Didn`t rate the fabled beer either
EdgarBriggsMI5 - 20 Aug 2005 14:05
The place to go if you want real ale. No buts about it. I'd recommend the place, for the beer obviously, but also it's so unusual - no music, bygone atmosphere, something very Roysten Vasey (League of Gentlemen) about it. Can become quite surreal after a few Harveys, not to mention the over-weight chef who's tongue is a sharp as a knife. Weird!!
cider_murray - 20 Jul 2005 21:58
I first went there about a year ago - good ambiance, good beer and excellent and copious food. I returned this week. The ambiance and beer are as good as ever but the duck was unbelievably tough, probably because of being over-cooked. Someone on the table next to us needed a steak knife to cut into a shoulder of lamb which was so hardened it looked like a carapace! Total ruination of potentially good food!
intemperanceleague - 14 Jul 2005 09:41
I should have known about The Garland (mentioned by John below) as I've been there! It's close to Redhill station and I had 40 minutes or so to kill before catching a train a couple of years back, and it was certainly well worth a longer visit. The beers were on a par with those at the Royal Oak.
Rich66 - 4 Jul 2005 15:45
In response to Rich 66 ( comment on 30 May 05 ), there is a Harveys Pub in Redhill called The Garland which is highly recommended - nice traditional pub with the full range of Harveys in excellent form, whenever I 've been in. It has been a regular in the CAMRA GBG in recent years
JohnBonser - 4 Jul 2005 13:18
Finally made it here; an old fashoined old boozer with plenty Harvey's ales. Jolly good.
MrScott - 4 Jul 2005 13:09
No wonder they've won so many awards: great selection of Harveys ales and great food too. Definitely a place to suit the over 50s male ;-)
Trev - 4 Jul 2005 10:06
Went here on Thursday to 'check it out' with my brother as a possible venue for his birthday. Although right up our alley it certainly wouldn't have been to his towny mates tastes. Had many excellent pints of Stowford press, the veritable elixir of life for the discerning cider imbiber, which can be tasteless and foul in the wrong hands. Great pub, good prices, excellent curry house on the other side of the road and the most snack attentive canine ever seen.
Cidermaster - 14 Jun 2005 16:56
The Royal Oak is as good as ever, particularly now with the weekend opening. Saturdays 18:00 to 23:00 [food served until 21:30] and Sundays 12:00 to 18:00 [food served until 17:00]
canastajim - 1 Jun 2005 01:55
It's good to hear the Royal Oak is now open at weekends as I sometimes pass through with friends on a Saturday; I used to go a fair bit when I worked in the area but haven't been for a while now. It's a really smart and traditional style pub and I used to enjoy sampling the many Harvey's seasonal beers. The Market Porter up the other end of Borough High Street serves Harvey's Best but you don't often see the other Harvey's brews in London.

A few years ago one of the bar staff told me this was the only Harvey's house north of Crawley, although that situation might have changed by now.
Rich66 - 30 May 2005 23:09
Went to this place for the first time last sunday. An absolute gem. Great beer properly looked after, and you even get a wally with your salt beef sandwich! If you're after fast paced drinking and loud music, go somewhere else and leave this place to the rest of us.
jamesleek - 13 May 2005 11:21
This pub is now open on Saturday evenings, and Sunday afternoons until 6pm, but food is not available for all of those hours. Best to phone the pub and check if you want a meal with your pint.
GrahamA - 5 Apr 2005 12:18
A true gem. The porter was outstanding. You know its a great place when you feel as though a short time has passed and then you check the watch and three hours have passed. Truly a great pub.
anonymous - 27 Mar 2005 03:24
An excellent pub. A Victorian back street-corner design but smartly refurbished in a traditional no-frills way. Good clean and clear design and layout. Excellent range of Harveys beers - as far as I know the only Harveys outlet in the capital. Good Beer Guide listed. Like a number of pubs in this area, it opens only during Monday-Friday.
thequaffer - 17 Mar 2005 12:54
This must surely be one of the top three pubs in London - well kept beer, good food and welcoming staff. And it's a pub you should see just for the exterior.
Bard - 14 Mar 2005 12:43
My favourite pub in London - I am so glad that pubs like this still exist. Truly precious.
anonymous - 25 Jan 2005 08:34
One of the best pubs for miles around, serving top-notch real ales and good pub grub.

Two comments:
1) it is for some reason not open weekends (are they mad!)
2) they only serve their "Old" bitter in winter months.
Richard - 14 Oct 2004 16:35
I visited The Royal Oak when in London for the GBBF. The Harveys beers were excellent and the landlord was very friendly and knowledgable. I was made to feel most welcome and I will certainly call in again next time I'm in town.
bob mason - 15 Aug 2004 00:07
A thoroughly good pub. Layout is open, but not "echoey".

I call there most evenings when I have been at the Globe on Bankside and the regulars and staff seem friendly. Beers (all from Harvey's of Lewes, who own the pub) range from passable to very good.
mym - 12 Aug 2004 10:23
Doesn't get better than this. Perfect ale and a real S& K pud(suet, loads of kidney). I wouldn't march for much, but I'd march for this pub.
anonymous - 6 Aug 2004 15:14
Truely special - an oasis of proper pubness. Decent ale, decent food, decent people, decent prices. For talking not posing, for relaxing not stressing.
orla - 5 Aug 2004 14:37
As good as it gets.
Nick - 14 Jul 2004 12:14
This is the best pub in London. The beer and food are always in excellent condition as are the friendly staff and Frank the landlord.
philip - 8 Jun 2004 14:14
A superb pub in every department. Good hearty reasonably priced food. Excellent beer by Harvey's.The Armada was particulary fine. Friendly locals. No music or distractions needed. A landlord who is genuinely interested in his customers, his beer and pubs in general. This was our first visit, and he could not have made us feel more welcome if we had been regulars, even finding the time to sit with us and have a chat. He even GAVE me a book on pub interiors. Great barmaid as well!....The place has an almost magnetic quality.....What started off as short visit turned into a seven pint session......Although I live 120 miles away I shall visit The Oak at every available oppertunity.........10/10.
One minor quibble?......Please open at weekends Frank !
Tuna - 4 Jun 2004 13:12
I did go back and reamin impressed by pub, atmosphere, beer and - trying it for the first time - the food; plain, simple, filling and extremely good value. Almost makes me wish I lived locally.
anonymous - 1 Jun 2004 13:46
It was okay, but can become a little crowded at times. The amount of furniture moved around the pub was a little excessive, but overall a good traditional public house.
Peter - 22 May 2004 13:19
A pub like pubs should be and were before the marketing and accountancy men from pubcos got hold of them. Great beer, nice atmosphere, the only noise that of happy conversation...a real gem. I'll be back.
anonymous - 21 May 2004 14:14
great pub .

harvey's' only tied-house in london, serving, the FULL range .
only a few years old, but you would think that this is an historic pub unchanged in donkeys' years . 3 bars .

nb. closed at week-ends .

pay it a visit .
dan - 20 May 2004 12:21
A lovely pub, welworth visitin this pub is quite set back in the back streets of the Borough,and has all the harveys beers in great condition.
DaveHarley - 13 Dec 2003 18:19
Good all round old style pub. Great beers from Harveys of Lewes, good food, nice atmosphere. Shame it's closed weekends.
Peter - 9 Dec 2003 18:46
I must agree with all the comments bar the food as I haven't tried this yet. All in all a proper PUB, it does food but its main selling point is its excellent beer and relaxed welcome. This is more like a proper Dublin bar than any of the twee fakes foisted upon a gullible public and not even trying. Enjoy (and you can play bridge).


Tim - 5 Dec 2003 12:49
Excellent food - try the double decker Salt Beef Sandwich & the bitteris excellent 10/10
Tim - 9 Sep 2003 15:26
In my view, possibly London's finest boozer. The seasonal Harvey's ale last night was in fantastic condition and the home cooked dinners were exceptional. The Steak & Ale pie is an absolute must. With a huge new estate rising from a giant crater across the road, this part of town will soon be transformed from the back of beyond that it is today, so it is hoped that this little gem never changes. Its a terrific pub.
Stephen - 4 Sep 2003 11:24
Fine pub. Beer always on top form. Food excellent and large portions. If planning a visit, note that it is closed most weekends.
Rod - 2 Sep 2003 18:32
I agree with the other comments. Excellent beer , first class food and live music some Sat's.
Top marks to a great Landlord.
Brian - 28 Aug 2003 13:24
Fantastic Harveys tied house where everything is first rate.
London Camra PUB OF THE YEAR this year - a credit to the Harveys tradition. Read the other great comments.
Ben S. King - 22 Aug 2003 14:25
All the beers were SPOT ON last night - excellent food too. Keep it up. I gave it a 10/10 marking, and so I can't for the life of me understand why it only has an average of 6.2. Everyone should give the pub a visit, then rate it. Watch its ratings climb up again.
lad_newton - 20 Aug 2003 16:27
Well worth seeking out, always a friendly greeting. The appropriate Harveys seasonal beer usually available, and decent food possible at hours most pubs don't want to know
canastajim - 30 Jul 2003 12:32
A smart backstreet pub near Borough Tube Station but hard to find. Excellent Ales from Harveys of Lewes. Always a good welcome here. Closed at weekends.

Simon - 4 Jul 2003 10:49
The perfect pub. No fruit machines or music just plenty of good beer,food,company and a very warm welcome.
Don`t go if you want dinks with flames or umberellas, or food that is artfully teased into shape.
But do go if you enjoy traditional food and drinks perfectly served by professional and friendly people.
Atlast,a real pub.
Tony Hamer - [email protected] - 5 Jun 2003 15:40
A local gem near Borough station, keeping a perfectly cellared range of Harvey's beers. Food available until about 8.30pm. Two drinking areas eitherside of a bar dividing the pub in half by means of a wooden partition. No music - just lively conversation. The pub is frequented by Camra members, and Frank, the landlord is an example of everything a good pub landlord should be - friendly, humorous and relaxed. The atmosphere in this pub is superb, and this is why it deserves a ten out of 10 rating. This is a fin pub in which to spend an entire evening, but also lends itself to a crawl in the London Bridge and Borough area which has become one of London's best drinking neighbourhoods. Go there!
Lee Newton - [email protected] - 27 May 2003 17:21

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