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Honor Oak, Honor Oak

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user reviews of the Honor Oak, Honor Oak

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

The food is shockingly bad value. Top prices for ordinary food. My black pudding and scallops starter tasted great but there were only two tiny scallops and two pieces of black pudding that were the size of a 5 pence piece. The cost of the starter £9. The duck in my main meal was over cooked. We bought a bottle of Red which was one of the most expensive they had but didn't taste that great and gave my wife and I a hangover the next day. The pub was ok but don't go to the restaurant. I would rate the PUB as a 6 and the restaurant as a 2.
Nevster - 8 Nov 2015 15:55
First visit since it has re-opened and to be honest its almost the same as when it closed i.e. full of families even on a Saturday evening at 6.30pm.

Large dining room now at the back of the bar running along the main road, there were a few couples eating in there.

The bar area was busy but as I said above there were a lot of families in. I'm not opposed to this but I am opposed to kids running wild while I'm trying to have a pint!

4 ales on the pumps with a couple of seasonal offerings, I choose one of these in the form of Black Sheep’s Blitzen @ 4.0%. A very nice pint even though it tasted stronger than the 4.0% abv.

The pub has been improved internally and externally, the dining room is impressive, the decor is clean and crisp but please cut back on families and kids on a Saturday night.

As I’m local I will give it another try soon as it at least deserves that for the beers alone.
lezford - 23 Dec 2014 16:09
Shut pending new owners. I'd heard that it had gone down hill, and recent postings confirmed this. My earlier experience had been as below.

Fortunately you have the General Napier (Old style backstreet boozer), the most wonderful Blythe, and even the Railway Telegraph, in easy walking distance.
baggydave - 2 May 2013 00:55
Fairly local pub to me but have only been 4 times since it re-opened several years back.

The reason I've only a few times is that every time I visit there is a combination of kids running about, posh pushy parents and bad bar staff.

The beer has been fine, a tad on the dear side for the area but I can take that...I don't however accept poor staff and attitudes on every visit.

Until I hear this has changed I won't be back.
lezford - 15 Apr 2013 13:32
No pleasantries from the young lady who served me.
Very sorry to have bothered them and want be returning.

After this experience, hopefully the location of this pub, on the Sth. Circ and an unwelcoming neighbourhood will be its undoing.
starquake - 15 Mar 2013 14:15
Went for family Sunday lunch with friends. The service was abysmal. Took more than an hour and 10 minutes for food to arrive, despite there being only one other table eating at the time. One waitress was particularly rude and aggressive, to the point that her colleagues told her to go and calm down. There are plenty of other far better places in the area. I will avoid in future and will be advising my friends in the area to do the same.
Cbm1001 - 9 Dec 2012 22:17
I'd guess Dougie59 got the sack before writing this, wouldn't you?
slickslinger - 16 May 2012 07:33
used to work in here when it was St Germains would have felt safer walking down Beirut high street at the height of the troubles. Bottles reguarly knocked off the optics and this was just the girls who used throw pool balls the bottles and shout about it being a shit pub. Then in the other bar customers helping themselves couldn't wait to leave. Just recently head it has been knocked down and had flats built on it if this true the world has been saved from the scum of this pub if not it sounds quite a civilised place to while away some time
dougie59 - 8 Oct 2011 07:45
A nice family friendly pub, fairly recently rennovated in the usual 'trendy' way. Good food, although a little pricey and only serves a selection of Roasts on Sundays.
This is our local and we really like it here especailly as the Manager is such a lovely chap, however the same can't be said for the youngish bar staff who are fairly stroppy and occasionally incompetent.
A good range of ales on tao and bottled and I think 1 cider on tap also, with a selection of bottles. Could do with a larger variety of lagers with Stella and Amstel on tap.
newbySE23 - 30 Mar 2010 19:13
This is an extremely friendly, welcoming and charming local pub that has been renovated to an attractive and cozy modern decor. The drinks are first rate and although I have yet to try the food, it looks great. We are looking to move to the area and having such a nice local nearby was a significant factor in our decision.
BCM1981 - 24 Feb 2010 09:10
As you approach this pub the signage gives you an idea of what to expect in the inside. There is some of the original tiling on the exterior, but other than that it looks like what it is a pub that has been made over to such an extent that none of its original character remains. When I was in here on Friday lunchtime there was one largish party enjoying a Christmas dinner. All of the other free tables had reserved signs on them, and most of the others that were occupied seemed to be involved in childrens parties. But I got a seat at the bar, and had a decent drop of St Austell Tribute (at 3.20 a pint). There were two other ales on Rosie Nosey and London Pride. As I recall, there were also a couple of sofas on the left as you go in. Judging from my one visit, it looks as if this place has re-branded itself as a restaurant.

The pictures on the walls seem to be of childrens wooden toys, including one that looked a bit like a naked wooden Barbie. Quite bizarre. Pride of place however, was a photograph of what looked like a wheelchair bound hospital patient. Maybe there was more to it than met the eye, but I thought that it was in incredibly bad taste. The combination of the noise from the children and the unattractive surroundings made me finish my drink and leave as soon as possible. I wont be back.
RexRattus - 6 Dec 2009 16:14
Tribute has become the always available ale, and is really well looked after (if you've had it in a bottle, don't be put off as the cask is the real deal).

London Pride is apparently coming in soon, and Rosey Nosey for the Christmas season. Best quality beer in the area, even the lager tastes like it's been looked after.
jameslikesbeer - 1 Dec 2009 14:39
The key point about this pub is that people are encouraged to come here with their kids, so if you prefer to drink in an adult environment this definitely isn't the place for you. Had a couple of ales and a real cider available.
pubcollector - 29 Oct 2009 20:52
Had Sunday lunch there today- roast beef and all the trimmings- and it was very nice indeed. I had to ask it for it rare to get med rare, but that's a trick I've learnt with most gastropubs these days (only good restaurants really know how to cook meat properly. Fact). Great beer too, a welsh brew called Brains and possibly the best service in South-East London. Great pub, recommended!
meatboy - 7 Dec 2008 18:34
Finding myself in the area for the first time in donkeys years looked for a hostelry nearby and remembered the St.Germains Tavern. Certainly as the Honor Oak not my type of pub but clean friendly maybe a bit on the poncey side. Drink was quickly served and was fine. Being wise after the event should have gone to the Blyth Hill Tavern instead.
TiaMariaJim - 22 Sep 2008 23:03
Worth going out of your way for. Good range of drinks, friendly service. Keep it up please!
fluiman - 13 Aug 2008 17:52
The comment on Lordship Lane says it all. Lordship lane no longer has any pubs, just trendy bars and restaurants. If you want this sort of thing then move to SE22 (and my comments include FHT).

Having said that the refurb is a bit more sympathetic than most of the places on Lordship Lane. It alays seems to be full of oh so nice people - you are fortunate enought to be near to the best pub in SE23 the Blythe, so you can compare and contrast
baggydave - 22 Jul 2008 23:03
This is one of my favourite pubs.
SkyJ - 13 Feb 2008 22:51
Good pub/bar, a welcome to Forest Hill, along with the Forest Hill Taverm, nice to have two really good bars to go to without having to travel to Lordship Lane.
midnightpoolchampion - 13 Jan 2008 22:41
As said before this is a very decent little pub and much welcomed in an area lacking many good pubs. The decor is flatpack gastropub (distressed wooden tables, odd wallpaper, "statement" kitschy prints and the like) but the simple truth is that without attracting more middle-class customers pubs will continue to die off at the alarming rate (50+ a month) they currently are. But there are nice touches (flowers on the bar) that suggest a degree more thought than Sydenham's Dophin (although the best gastropub in the local area is New Cross's Royal Albert). Decent beer (Black Sheep is a rarity around these parts) if limited to two draught beers (another gastropub norm) and quite superb, well-priced food, which is another factor that can save a pub and turn it into a considerable success. I wish the Honor Oak well and look forward to returning again soon.
JonW999 - 29 Dec 2007 15:41
We went to this pub for the first time tonight and really have only very good things to say about it. It is by far the best pub in the whole Forest Hill/Sydenham/Honour Oak Park area. I myself work in catering and know what I am doing!! The guys who run this pub obviously have their heads screwed on.
The decor is great- appealing, trendy and just right for the market they are trying to attract. The service was relaxed but great and very helpful. The place was very clean. The toilets smelt fresh and were clean (a rarity in a pub these days). We both ate. I had Lancashire hot pot with red cabbage. The chef obviously has a clue what he is doing as it was cooked to perfection - I come from near Lancashire and have not had a better Lancashire hotpot up North. My partner had a burger- great Maris Piper chips. Lovely burger pattie (perfectly seasoned and cooked), on a nice bun. It came with a beautifully presented salad garnish. The only criticism is that that burger garnish hjad slightly too much olive oil on it which swam around the plate and soaked the bun. But I am sure that this was just a slight over-sight on the chefs part. I am an "expert" in food, and it is obvious that this is a chef that has been trained in "fine dining" that is now cooking very good pub food - simply prepared, using good ingredients and perfectly executed. All in all, this bar has got it right - The owners and the manager are obviously experienced. Thanks very much guys and keep up the good work...we will be visiting again soon.
Christianstanley - 21 Nov 2007 21:20
I have just been to the Jazz night in this establishment.
The music was wonderful (Ballantine/Shaw band - regular performers at Ronnie Scotts since the 80's).

Bizzarely at the end of the evening Ian B. suggested that the future of this event is in some doubt - it seems the YOHO pub is only committed to this venture until the end of May.

I would liked to have paid my 3 entrance fee - but there was no one to pay. (I hope this doesn't fail due to a lack of revenue). Jazz is a minority interest I know, but South London has always lacked venues. I have spent many years travelling to central, north and east London to hear top quality music.

This pub has unearthed a perfect little venue in the room provided, it would be a shame for it to fold before it got off the ground. It needs the word to spread around that a good night can be had locally with good musicians in a suitable environment.

So, if you have any interest (or know people who have any interest) in quality non-mainstream music, get them down there on a thursday evening in the next few weeks and maybe Forest Hill can claim its own interesting, challenging and rewarding venue.


SuperSteve - 27 Apr 2007 01:33
Depressing - pub design by flat-pack. Well, this is one woman who didn't like it.
spincat - 15 Apr 2007 20:20
Missed my ending off!

So in conclusion a reasonable place that compliments some of the other drinking establishments in Forest Hill (it is not in Honor Oak). Oh and the most positive point, it is not a carbon copy of the Herne Tavern, phew
baggydave - 16 Mar 2007 17:10
A number of good points good choice of beer (Broadside or Black sheep) prices actually displayed prominently, as by law they should be (but rarely seen), could therefore forgive them for being at the upper levels for the area. Odd to be served in a jug, which was the norm in my youth! Shame that I was the only person drinking proper beer at the time (there should be a law making this compulsory). Food both interesting, non-generic, reasonable in price (opposed to the mass catering rubbish most places serve) and had not gone too far down the gastro route. Compares well with other similar ventures in the area DA, Gowlett, Rye Hotel, Nunshead. (note cant bring myself to mention Lordship Lane)

On the downside, the interior does match the Victorian exterior, and could be located in a building from any era. And the wallpaper hurt my eyes (sad that I am commenting on wall paper). Still think that it should have not changed its name. The pub has certainly been well marketed.

I did post earlier addressing some of the other comments, but either I pushed the wrong button or it got deleted. If you look at Karloffs many other postings there is no thread of misogynistic comments, so perhaps others are being a bit precious (and noting that they have only ever posted about one pub, unlike Karloff who has reviewed dozens). Looking at his age (and mine) we were a generation that made great headway in making the world a fairer place (get my guitar and Joan Baez song book out now) ops, where the rise of the new lads and ladettes and the me-first generation seems to have reversed much of what we achieved. Also on equality, I do not see any of the better drinking establishments reflecting the ethnic mix of the area, not that they have any obligation to do this of course. Clearly in economic terms better to have a pub full of nice gentrified youngish people than providing a community facility for a small minority (as the St Germains did) and not producing the profit margins that are now expected. Lecture over.

baggydave - 16 Mar 2007 17:08
Like Karloff, I mourn the loss of the traditional British boozer. There are few left in the SE area - witness the comprehensive gastro/bar-isation of East Dulwich in recent years.

However, it can't really be said that the Honor Oak has caused the loss of any such boozer (the old St Germains was ... err ... unusual, and closed some time ago). And there are some very traditional boozers near it - the General Napier, the Blythe Hill Tavern and (for those who like their SE pubs completely undiluted) the Chandos. The Honor Oak serves pretty good cask bitter, despite an odd retro fondness for serving it in jugs, and the food is OK, if unexceptional. Avoiding the young couples and their undisciplined offspring is a question of timing.

There's room for the Honor Oak in the local drinking market. "Let a hundred flowers bloom; let a hundred schools of thought contend" as Chairman Mao used to be fond of saying.
beerkat - 10 Mar 2007 14:51
I have just roused myself from my park bench, finished off the days first can of Special Brew, dusted off the dandruff, and now feel ready to face the beerintheevening site

I thank all of you who responded to my earlier comments. I made the cardinal mistake of forgetting that using ironic humour in emails and web messages doesnt work people take you at face value. Of course I dont hate women going into pubs!

However, what I do hate is the fact that so many pubs are being transformed into continental-style bars, and lose all those features that are traditionally associated with what makes a good pub. Its fact that these days pubs have to appeal more to women, as nowadays women have far more spending power than they did 30 or 40 years ago, and so its inevitable that pubs will change to suit womens tastes. Its a fact that women and men want different things from pubs. In a recent survey, people were asked what was the most important thing that determined which pub they went to. Most men said the beer had to be good. The women almost unanimously said that clean toilets were the most important thing. Need I say more?

Many people, including many women, do not like pubs to be full of toddlers and babies some people actually like to think of the pub as a place where they can forget about all the worries of parenthood for a while. I also want my pubs to be places where people go primarily for a drink, whereas these days most of the staffs time seems to be taken up with food orders.

I am happy that there is now a safe, clean place for people in this area to go, and, as previously said, its good news that there is some decent real ale in this place.

But is there no one else out there who, like me, mourns the loss of the traditional old British boozer? Its always been a part of my life and now it is being inexorably obliterated as pubs are either turned into modern bars or converted into flats. Am I a lone voice in the wilderness?

karloff - 9 Mar 2007 13:44
So women aren't supposed to go to the pub? I find some of the comments on this site very offensive. Would anyone be supportive of Karloff's comments if he had said we shouldn't have black or asian people in pubs, or they had "invaded"? But it's OK to say that about women, and to boast that women didn't used to dare going to this pub before it was refurbished, like that is something to be proud of?
The Honor Oak is great, beautiful original decor, lovely old building with many original features, great beer and wine, really good food, and women can go in there without fearing being hassled by horrible blokes like Karloff hanging round the bar waiting to intimidate them. That is a good thing.
Seriously, give it a try it's great for men and women, and shock horror there have even been children in there!
Drinker99 - 8 Mar 2007 12:25
The Honor oak is a fantastic pub and an asset to the area. The warm and inviting atmosphere spills out from the large gleaming windows pulling you in to a beautiful decorated interior, where funky alternative prints, retro lighting, and sprawling leather sofas successfully compliment the original Victorian features. With an extensive and creative choice of drinks, a menu full of delicious home cooking, including the best home made chips I have ever tasted, is by far the best venue for miles around. I was amused by the comments made by the woman hating bigots previously, if they prefer the atmosphere of pubs filled with sexists then they should frequent them and not tarnish places such as the Honor Oak with there out dated and offensive attitudes, I believe they would be happier on a park bench with a can of special brew! Long live the Honor Oak its champion!
nimrodfly - 1 Mar 2007 10:02
I find it more than a little unsettling that there are people out there who have a problem with women being in pubs. And speaking of Victorians, I'm not sure what 'original features' the poster was hoping would be preserved, given the state of the place when the current owners took over. I, for one, would rather have a friendly, well-run, OPEN pub in my neighbourhood than a boarded-up, derelict one. From what I've seen on my few visits, the Honor Oak seems to cater to a wide variety of largely local people. The staff are friendly and helpful, it is clean and bright (I know, a crime to some), and the selection of booze is outstanding. I think the neighbourhood deserves a local like the Honor Oak. Highly recommended.
lma13 - 27 Feb 2007 15:03
Firstly, as local bloke has already pointed out separately, this is not a wilderness as there are good pubs in both directions on the South Circular particularly the wonderful Blythe Hill Tavern.

Secondly why change the name? This isn't even in Honor Oak. Just as legitamate to call it the Brockley Hill or Blythe Hill!

Thirdly, the previous incarnation did serve a community, albeit not one that tends to post on this site, but not exactly inclusive of us not recognising this.

Next: 6X and Directors, hardly inspiring! Thanks for Karloff's most excellent (as ever) review, I'll reserve further judgment for the time being, but expect the score for this place to come down to a more modest level
anonymous - 19 Feb 2007 12:07
First, the good news. This had been closed for around six months but reopened on Friday, 2nd February. Previously it was devoid of real ale but now it boasts two brand-new hand-pumps. Wadworths 6X and Courage Directors were available on my visit; the latter was in good condition.

Now the bad news. It has been totally modernised and is contemporary i.e. it no longer resembles a pub. Everything is bright, clean and woman-friendly, venetian blinds on the windows, furniture is of the irritating gastro-pub variety (square tables and straight-backed chairs, a few sofas), trendy pictures on the walls (including photos of Barbie ??!!), etc. On my visit, a gang of women had invaded (they would never have dared when it was still the St Germains) and another woman was wheeling a toddler
around in a push-chair. Gentlemen, the traditional pub is dead. The women have won.

The pub probably dates from the 1880s or thereabouts, but there are no original Victorian features left in the interior. The exterior, with original green tiles all around the base, still looks good though.

karloff - 17 Feb 2007 17:09
More of a bar than a pub, The Honor Oak has by far the best selection of booze in the area and also does really good food. Very reasonably priced and often very busy. Sunday roast is not to be missed, nor are their cocktails.
Dan Wanstead - 9 Feb 2007 09:11
Fantastic new pub, where previously there has been a complete drought of decent boozers.

Best of luck to them.
Ed - 8 Feb 2007 19:37
Cracking new pub, opened on the site of what was previously the St Germains.

Is extremely early days but a lot of thought, care and attention has been put into the place - and considering how everything is selling out it's certainly needed by a fair proportion of the locals!

Good atmosphere, beautiful decor (oh all right then, I'm not sure about the Sindy porn artwork either) and nice, cosy, welcoming vibe - despite feeling and looking stylish.

Long may it prosper!
Laura - 4 Feb 2007 21:53

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