The only London pub of the estimable Lewes brewer Harveys, this traditional Victorian corner tavern draws beer fanatics, and with good reason: the ales here, from year-round fixtures such as Sussex Mild to seasonals including Old Ale, are always in perfect condition.
But the Royal Oak would be worthy of a visit even without the cask brews: this is a a lovely place to spend an evening. Civilised groups of local residents, after-work drinkers and beer tourists fill the two rooms nightly, perched at sturdy bar furniture beneath an unflashy but handsomely restored interior.
The absence of canned music aids the flow of conversation; excellent, unpretentious pub cooking (roasts, hot pots) helps dissipate the effects of the beer. One of the city’s best.