skip nav  

BITE user comments - Cider_AL

Comments by Cider_AL

The Castle Inn, West Lulworth

I don''t normally post a review unless I like a pub, and i don''t usually even go back to a pub more than once if it doesn''t meet my needs, might be a selfish attitude but it''s my time and money.

I drove past this pub around 6-30 one morning whilst surveying the area around a possible new workplace, and was determined to give it a go, should I get the job, which I did. The area boasts a few pubs but nothing like this one. The fact that it claimed to be a ''cider'' pub appealed to me, and it has now proven (after several visits) to rightly claim that.

This is a ''tourist trap'' pub, but make no mistake it is worthy of being so. In my few visits I first thought there was an abundance of young staff members looking like they were doing nothing much., but it''s plain to see that once the pub gets busy they are needed and act accordingly.

It''s hard to spot the locals, due to the number of customers passing through, but my observations are that they support their pub, and I am hoping to stay a customer as long as I am in the area.

Oh, yeah, the food might seem a little overpriced, but you have to pay for the staff, the food is good, and the steak is above average.

Having dogs wandering in and around the pub doesn''t cause me a problem, as long as they never pinch my steak!

Keep up the good work, you have a pub to be proud of!


the guy who drinks all your ''old rosie'' lol!

29 Aug 2017 19:48

The Star, Dorking

"Still, an awful place..."

So why do you keep going back there?


Won't anyone else serve you?

13 Jul 2013 21:52

The Royal Oak, Rusper

For creepycrawley

I returned to the Oak last saturday and the welcome was as warm as ever, I know Sara and Clive as friends, and despite my long absence I felt as though it was only yesterday that I'd left.

If you can ever walk into a pub 90 miles away from home and feel so welcome you may see where I am comng from? I doubt you've ever been far away from Crwley though....

29 Mar 2013 19:54

The Royal Oak, Rusper

For litltlecon

Thanks for the mention, I maybe understand your view, but I've never had any cause to complain about the drink or food, and I have recommended the Oak to friends near and far, those who have taken the time to visit comer back with good reports....

29 Mar 2013 19:48

The Royal Oak, Rusper

For croydonpeer

I actually got over to the Oak on saturday evening and had a pleasant evening there with some friends, not that you would understand that.

If you chose to keep away from a pub because of the customers then you are very fickle?

I will leave it at that, I know Sara and the REAL locals are very open and friendly, you obviously have a problem with me and that's YOUR problem, not mine...

29 Mar 2013 19:45

The Royal Oak, Rusper

For creepycrawley

"What a shame this formerly wonderful pub is run by a bigoted landlady"

She isn't as bigoted as the previous landlord, Peter? And the pub is open most of the time unlike when Peter ran it?

"who seems 'hellbent' on doing battle with CAMRA (Campaign for Real Ale)"

What, the same CAMRA who awarded the pub the whole countries 'runner up' of the year awards, two years running?

"Unfortunately the warm welcome has gone,"

I took my wife into the pub and a friend, on seperate occassions, and both were made to feel very welcome.....

"so too the beer quality and choice!"

Under Peter I was offered one bitter - Harveys - or nothing, what choice was that?

Under Sara I had a choice of around 8 real ales and 5 ciders and perrys. all of excellent quality, I think anyone would agree that is NOT a loss of choice?

"Nothing from local breweries in Horsham for example."

You have me at a loss there, not being a local I didn't realise there actually were any breweries in Horsham - fair do's? But then I was in the area for two or three years so maybe that was their problem, not mine?

Would definitely not recommend. Indeed, the Royal Oak should be re-named the 'Slaughtered Lamb'...STAY AWAY!!!

Being an 'outsider' I was always made welcome and have recommended the pub to many friends headed down to the area for weddings and airport stop overs, ALL of them have come back with good comments.....

I must add that I actually worked in Crawley, and never found a pub in the area worthy of mention, which may account for your visit's to the Oak?

22 Mar 2013 18:59

The Royal Oak, Rusper

for croydonpeer.....

Takes a lot for me to learn any lessons, I will be visiting Sara and the Oak (weather permitting) tomorrow evening and I am looking forward to sampling the cider and perry on offer. Like I said, I look forward to meting any friends who are around, so your absence won't be a problem for me....

As for posting 4 comments at a time (which isn't actually a 'habit'), I was merely repying to each comment levelled at me. If you feel I am worthy of 4 posts, the least I can do is reply?

Sara has the best pub in the south of England, as has been proven by her (previous) CAMRA awards, and having travelled and worked extensively through the UK and many parts of Europe I think I can comment?

May I ask how far you (and tradervic) have actually travelled and sampled the beer?

Hope you have a nice saturday night out in croydon, or wherever....

22 Mar 2013 18:39

The Royal Oak, Rusper

I notice all of my recent comments have been deleted, which also took 'tradervics' comments off this site, so they proved their purpose.

Hopefully I will be able to get round to the Oak on saturday evening, after the wedding I am in the area for.

The weather isn't good up here, nor is the outlook, but I seriously intend to try and make it this weekend.

Hopefully see some of you then.....

Cider Al

21 Mar 2013 22:01

The Fox and Hounds, Stony Stratford

This pub has changed hands again recently, and the food is above the usual standard, check out the roast chicken sunday lunch!! The present staff do their best to try and please, and make you feel welcome, and hopefully this will become the best pub in Stony again, it has a lot to live up to, thanks to Ken Daniels putting his stamp on it, many years ago!

Nice to be back, and have the choice of more than one pub in Stony selling a decent cider....

10 Feb 2012 19:08

The Royal Oak, Rusper

Am missing Sara and Clive and all my friends there since leaving the area, having to put up with some really mundane pubs in the outer Cambridge area, hopefully will be back down there at some stage....

One of the best pubs in the country, take it from me, as a 'non' local!!

10 Feb 2012 18:57

The Vaults Bar, Stony Stratford

Returned a while back and now a commited local, thanks to the landlords listening to comments and now stocking Weston's Old Rosie, which seems to have become a good seller, judging by the amount of customers I see drinking it.

Just changed hands yet again, mostly due to the previous owners (Punch I believe) rather than the staff, looks like we may be in for a long awaited facelift for the Bull, next door.

25 Oct 2011 22:09

Three Tuns, Fen Drayton

Would agree with the last comment regarding the quality and range of food available, although having now visited it on three seperat occassions I have never been made to feel welcome (as a newcomer) nor have I found the Speckled Hen of a particularly decent quality. Yet another Green King pub in the area with no Abbot Ale on draught.....

The locals seem quite friendly towards each other, but don't seem to want to interact with 'strangers' much, so I guess I will stay a stranger and look elsewhere for my evening meal. Shame really, it's a nice looking pub and could be very warm and cosy inside, but I haven't found it that way.

25 Oct 2011 21:55

The King William IV, Fenstanton

Been to the pub a few times recently, always received a friendly welcome, food and service have been excellent and the beer good, shame none of the local Greene King pubs around here sell my favourite Abbot Ale though. Nice smart pub, unlike the two other local ones, the Crown and Pipes looks positively off putting.....

25 Oct 2011 21:48

The Royal Oak, Rusper

Visited the pub again on wednesday, this is getting to be a bit regular again..

.. same boring selection of 8 real ales and 5 ciders and perrys,

When are we gong to get some lager in.....????


Keep up the good work, the pub never disappoints....!!!!

14 May 2010 22:48

The Evening Star, Brighton

Having visited this pub over the last 6 months, quite regularly, I'd recommend it to anyone and everyone, a basic down to earth venue selling a good selection of their own Dark Star beers, and a good selection of others too.

The locals are very friendly and the location of the pub, so close to Brighton station is a plus, well worth missing a train or two!

A seriously good pub, with a great variety in beers, and very attentative staff to boot, what more can you want from a pub???

14 May 2010 22:19

The Waggon and Horses, Brighton

Been to the Waggon a few times now and still keep going back. A drinkers pub with friendly bar staff and the locals are friendly too. One of the few pubs in Brighton that remember what I drink when I call in!

Not a great deal of selection in real ales, but what they do have is kept well, and they specialise in fine whisky's which isn't my thing but I am impressed!

I just thought I'd show my appreciation for the pub, long may it prosper!!

14 May 2010 22:14

The Brighton Tavern, Brighton

Seems to have been some time since anyone posted a review here? I have been into the pub a few times now and found the locals to be friendly, yes I know they are gay but it's no problem to me!

What does utterly surprise me though is the fact that I seem to have drunk them out of Green Goblin cider and their attitude is that they arent going to stock it any more?

Excuse me, but if I had a business where I sold out of something I would be doing my utmost to get more stock of that item in?

Sorry, you just lost yourself a customer.

If you are happy to stock 'fashionable' fruit ciders rather than the one I drank in your pub, I wish you luck....

I am not gay but I was quite happy to be among your lovely customers, however you seem not to want me in your pub. Your choice?

14 May 2010 22:09

The Vaults Bar, Stony Stratford

Why doesn't this pub offer a real cider?

14 May 2010 22:03

The Fox and Hounds, Stony Stratford

The review on here about Chris hallet is totally false, he did his best to get this pub shut down and turned into a wine bar, jamesmk would seem to be very lacking in any experience of the pub, and having been a regular for well over 20 years I think I have a right to comment.

Chris Hallet almost killed this pub, unfortunately the present landlord isn't listening to constructive criticism, or at least his manager isnt? Why can't you put a decent cider on in your pub?

14 May 2010 22:01

The Fox and Hounds, Stony Stratford

Although I have been a regular visitor to this pub over the past 20 years I have never reviewed it on here. It was, for a number of years, a good solid real ale pub, and has recently tried to regain that title.

However, I am totally amazed why it is beyond the present managers abilty to put a decent cider on in the pub?

I have made it known, week by week, that I won't drink in the pub unless they DO put a reasonable cider on, and having a Wetherspoons close by in the city centre leaves me little choice but to go there and get what I want to drink?

I am giving this pub a rating of 1 out of 10 for the fact that they cant be bothered to listen and so easily please one of their biggest supporters,

The previous landlord was a total bigot as far as real ale was concerned, but its landlord doesnt seem to have learnt anything here?

14 May 2010 21:54

The Royal Oak, Rusper

Big_Gee & beerbiker....

Drinks received and thoroughly enjoyed, a memorable afternoon!!!!

Any postings on here by 'Perry_Al' will be entirely coincidental!!

Well done Sara, Emma, Jo and Clive and anyone else who helped, a great afternoon!!!

3 May 2010 20:55

The Royal Oak, Rusper

Big_Gee & beerbiker....

Probably caught you both unaware here, I am actually in the Royal Oak today, bank holiday monday, for a bit of a change, having literally done Breakfast at Tiffany's in Brighton (we cider drinkers get about a!

Was a bit shocked to get charged double time for the taxi here (shocked but not surprised, i suppose) but the (Slaughtered) lamb roast promises to be worth the visit, the group are about to set up outside and the sun is starting to shine!

Shame we don't have Cheddar Valley on just yet, but plenty more ciders and perry's to go at, and 8 cracking real ales on, judging by everyone's reaction!

If you do make it before I have to make my way down to another venue in Shoreham by the mud this evening, I'll take you up on those drinks, the Broadoak Perry is slippping down fine right now......

3 May 2010 13:47

The Royal Oak, Rusper

Oh dear, 'mjeeves', it seems that mr grumpy has a new friend?

"As a local, the Royal Oak was one of a few pubs in the are not visited by myself. Wish I had bypassed it."

So do we mjeeves, so do we......

"I was made to feel like a social pariah for having the temerity to ask for Lager"

Well if you will use swear words like LAGER in the second best real ale pub in the country, what do you expect? Would you go into a muslem meat shop and ask for bacon?

" ( obviously the devils brew in the eyes of the owners)."

and, thankfully, in the eyes of 99% of the regulars, too!!

" Was given a short sharp 'no' to my questions as to whether they have draught or bottled lager"

..... er, surely not selling (yuk) Lager would actually seem to pre-empt any further questions as to whether they sell it on draught or in bottles, or in fact by any other method whatsoever?

"with no explanation as to why and not offered an alternative."

You still wouldn't have got any lager even if they HAD given you the weary old explanation, and there were at least 13 'alternatives' on draught, without going any further? Unfortunately for you (and fortunately for us!!) none of these 'alternatives' taste anything like lager (heaven forbid....)

"Even the CAMRA stronghold, The Surrey Oaks, serves Lager for goodness sake."

I would suggest you visit there, then if you HAVE to drink lager, but please don't compare the pubs, they are in different places, have (mostly) different customers and therefore offer their customers what they think they want? The Royal Oak does not sell lager because nobody who regularly drinks there actually wants to drink Lager!

"This is the worst kind of Beer snobbery"

Actually there's nothing 'snobbery' about the beer, or the cider, or the perry, it's always well served, reasonably priced and well presented, and has always tasted fine to me and others?

"Lager is a Beer. just of a different brewing process"

I think we all realised that one, however it doesn't mean a pub HAS to sell it, and by the way, I don't think Lager is actually the only drink NOT available in the Oak, you probably didn't notice there's no Guinness either?

"When will Pubs like this appreciate not everyone who wants to use their facilities is a real-ale drinker."

When will people like you appreciate that there ARE pubs where nobody actually likes lager, and the fact that, for the second year running, this pub came second in the CAMRA national pub of the year competition, so obviously they must be doing something right?

This pub is actually THRIVING, unlike most of it's lager selling counterparts who seem to be closing down in large numbers?

"I have given this place 1 out of 10 because I didn't have to wait long to be insulted."

Shame I never found your comment earlier, I could have got 1 out of 10 too, then?

"Ruspers very own Slaughtered Lamb, avoid."

I think you'll find the Lamb is actually at the other end or Rusper, and just as far outside it.....

"In case you're wondering I'm a respectable, 53 year old middle-class businessman. "

Well there you go, we DO have something in common after all, I'm 53 too, but only for a year....

.... though I wouldn't claim to be resepctable, or middle-class, or anything like that.

Lets just say I am a 53 year old 'happily practising' cider drinker, who (unhappily) only manages to get to the Oak once a month. Once a month more than you apparently will though......

29 Apr 2010 18:42

The Royal Oak, Rusper

For Mr Grumpy

I went to the Royal Oak this evening, my monthly visit, much as I would like to visit more. I got a train from Burgess Hill (where I am working) and changed at Three Bridges and then a taxi up to the pub, reverse coming back. Irrelevant details but shows it's not a 5 minute walk away...

(A lot easier than from my home in Milton Keynes though...)

I was made quite welcome, as usual, and I thought it quite funny that there was a collection box on the bar for 'Mr Grumpy's one way ticket to Sheffield' and I know the relevance of the destination, the Oak once again attaining the distinctly high standard of Runners Up in the CAMRA pub of the year!

I actually have a network rail card that I am quite prepared to donate to the collection box in order to reduce your one way fare to Sheffield by 30% but it expires at the end of April.

Can you let me know if you will be making the trip, before or after that date, please, as I will have to make a special journey back up to the Oak (quite willingly though) in order for you to benefit?

As for tidying up the front of the pub, you obviously haven't actually seen this pub in it's glory through the summer, Sara makes a total effort in making it look nice, despite Horsham not accepting the pub into their besat dressed pub or whatever it is called?

You obviously seem used to High Street pubs that may be 'prim and proper' and don't sell local produce on thier fron porch, but how many of those pubs have even made it into the CAMRA gude, let alone achieved what the Oak had done?

Time for you to walk away, I think, and realise that this is simply one of the best pubs in the south of the country, unless you are actually prepared to turn up in person and discuss the matter with those of us that know what a great landlady Sara is?

Dare I say.. Put up or shut up?

We won't be sorry to see you go, hence the collection box.....

Cider Al....

1 Apr 2010 00:41

The Hand In Hand, Brighton

Despite the recent reviews I thought I'd visit this pub, as it was recomended by a friend who had visited it in the past. I value his judgement but he admitted it was a while since he'd been there.

I walked to the Hand in Hand from Brighton station, I am new to the area, and didn't realise quite what a walk it would be. Having finally reached and walked up a long stretch of St James Street, I almost gave up, thinking I'd missed it.

Thinking back, now, I wish I had given up as I was extremely disappointed in what greeted me inside this pub.

As per a previous review, this pub definitely is 'quirky' or at least it might have been in the 80's. All I saw was a dimly lit pub with broken fixtures and fittings and very old decor.

The girl behind the bar was totally inattentative, seeming more occupied with a customer than anyone that wanted a drink. I had to repeat my order twice before she understood. I had picked on Dark Star Old Chestnut, a drink I'd enjoyed elsewhere, but was very disappointed this time. Just about drinkable, but only 'just'

I spent around 20 minutes in the pub, and I really do wish I had turned back before getting to it.

A total disappointment, and in need of some refurbishment to say the least.

The few customers that were in the pub didn't do much to make it friendly or inviting, quite the reverse in fact. I don't like being personal, but when a customer insists on making sure everyone in the pub is listening to him, then it's time for him (or me) leave. As I saw no reason to stay it was me, this time....

I have always tried to visit somewhere on a few occassions before passing comment, in this case I won't be going back, and therefore feel I have to call it like it is.

A bit of a dump with nothing to recommend it in my humble opinion.

Outside the pub it boasts the 'City's Oldest Brewery"

Hoprfully the brewery has long since been shut down if the cleanliness of the pub is anything to go by?

There are far better pubs in Brighton to visit without having to walk past them to get to this place.......

26 Oct 2009 23:31

The Royal Oak, Rusper

Interesting to read your comments, MrGrumpy, I thought I was the only grumpy person when it came to pubs and the drinks they serve (or rather the drinks they DON'T! or CAN'T)?

I can assure prospective visitors that there is absolutely NOTHING wrong with any of the drinks I have had at this pub, going back over a period of over almost three years! Many local brews on which may not be what you are used to, and so perhaps taste differnt, but nothing wrong with the quality (or the quantity!!!)

It WAS very poor before Sara and Clive bought the pub though! Choice of just one beer if I remember rightly, the choice being take it or leave it.....

I have ample experience to judge this pub, I think, I've been drinking since I was (well lets say old enough!) and that spans almost 40 years, amd I've drank in many pubs across the UK, Belgium, Poland, Spain, Germany and Holland, to name a few!

Never have I been made more welcome in a pub away from my home area, nor had the choice of such a range of drinks to chose from, this is the only place I have ever found 5 ciders and perry's on draught for a start!

Don't suppose you are a lager drinker, MrGrumpy????

That's the only serious reason I could ever see for anyone moaning about this place?

I also read that someone mentioned the pub is in the middle of nowhere, so you need a car? I live 100 miles away and I can get there, and I don't drive......

.... mind you I do stay in the area during the week, about 5 miles from the pub, it's a amazing what you can do with your feet, a bike, a horse or just a taxi...????

(or you could enlist a lager drinker to drive you there......

... mind you, they might be seriously tempted themselves if they try the 'chernobyl', my favourite tipple!!!)

12 Aug 2009 16:32

Back to Cider_AL's profile