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Proper pubs


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Chelsea Transfer Target

Nov 14, 2019, 11:59 PM

Posts: 4531
Location: Oxford
Team(s): Pompey

Post #801 of 803 (543 views)
Re: [Oxford Stone] Proper pubs [In reply to] Can't Post or Reply Privately

In Reply To
Outstanding pub of the last few months has to be - worth the detour if you are ever in W Sussex, Portsmouth end of things. We were on our way to the Weald and Downland Museum having seen it on Repair Shop and it looked like a good day out. Pubs nearby are all gastropubs (close to Goodwood so you're catering for the horsey / vintage car brigade) and the Royal Oak was much more our sort of place. Down a no through road, lovely beer and food, proper down to earth place.

Believe it or not, Oxford Stone, the Royal Oak at Hooksway is the pub where I had my very last under-age drink before my eighteenth birthday.

Me and some mates of mine were in the habit of hiking and camping in the South Downs, with one of the reasons being that we found it easier to get served drinks out in the countryside than we would going out for a night in Portsmouth. One particular favourite walk was from Petersfield to Chichester across the tops of the downs. One weekend in June 1986, a few days after I'd finished my A levels, some of us did this walk, stopping off at the Royal Oak for an evening session and camping in the woods nearby. The next day we walked on to Chichester, then it was train home to catch Argentina v. England in the 1986 World Cup Quarter-Final on the Sunday night. My eighteenth birthday was the following weekend.

I remember the Royal Oak that night being a damp and dusty little place hidden away in the woods down a dead-end farm track. There were barely three or four other people in there, and they'd most probably have been local farm hands. No music, no pool table, no jukebox, no fruit-machine, but there was a fireplace with wood burning in it (the summer of 1986 was a cold one). In fact the whole place felt like it was unchanged in fifty years or more, and I don't think I'm exaggerating in saying that to our impressionable minds there were elements of the pub scene in 'American Werewolf In London' about it...

There used to be a whole load of pubs like this that I can remember in that spread of countryside: 'The White Horse' (often called 'The Pub With No Name') and 'The Trooper' at Priors Dean, 'The Harrow' at Steep, 'Queens Head' at Sheet, 'Three Horseshoes' at Elsted (which we also visited that weekend), 'Coach & Horses' at Compton, 'White Horse' at Chilgrove and others at South Harting and in the Marden villages. A surprising number are still going but, as you say, have gone a very long way down the gastro-pub/Goodwood crowd route. The White Horse at Chilgrove (just a mile or so south of Hooksway) is now a boutique hotel and 'dining experience', which sounds hideous to me. It is therefore good to hear that the Royal Oak has still kept a degree of sanity about it.

(This post was edited by oxpete on Nov 15, 2019, 12:03 AM)

Chelsea Transfer Target

Nov 15, 2019, 6:08 AM

Posts: 4041
Location: East London
Team(s): AFC Telford Utd, Witham T, Folkestone Invicta, Gillingham, Woking, Fisher.

Post #802 of 803 (521 views)
Re: [oxpete] Proper pubs [In reply to] Can't Post or Reply Privately

In Reply To
Two establishments visited on that very hot and sunny Easter Saturday in Dorking, while ticking Meadowbank as Dorking Wanderers FC cantered away with the Isthmian title and beat Bognor Regis Town. Pre-match was...

King's Arms
45 West Street

...a Shepherd Neame pub in a rickety 600-year-old building of low beams, loose tiles and uneven floors which just about managed to stay the right side of appearing rather smug with itself. However, the post-match offering was better over the road at...

Cobbett's Beer Shop & Micropub
23 West Street

...a great little micropub that doubles up as an off-licence too. On a sunny Easter Saturday evening the place was a bit over-packed, not least with the fine folk of Bognor Regis, though there is a larger drinking room further back and a little yard out the back-door.

On arriving at Cobbett's, I saw a bloke in a cream linen suit pacing the pavement outside on his smartphone who I'm pretty darn sure was none other than Terry Venables! He made eye-contact with me but then quickly turned away, perhaps recognising me as that bloke demanding Terry Fenwick's head on a pike following that embarrassing defeat to Charlton back in the 1997~98 season. Using the free wifi, I tried checking his twitter feed to see if he was admitting to being in Dorking that day, but it appears that there are dozens of Terry Venables accounts of variable levels of honesty (not that 'Venables' and 'honesty' are two words with that much in common anyway). One claimed he was by a pool in Malaga, while another was telling Rio Ferdinand that he was an idiot. So no closer the truth.

I did pop into one other pub on West Street - the Old House, next door to Cobbett's - but decided not to bother staying when I saw the barman taking an inordinate length of time to conjure up a gin cocktail in an empty jam-jar. I've heard that such nonsense is fashionable in that London place, but had never yet seen it before my own eyes. Crazy

Brilliant summary of these Dorking establishments Laugh
The Cricketers, a Fullers pub, is the only other decent one in the town in my opinion, but obviously depends whether you like Fullers or not Unsure
If you are prepared for a country walk then the nearest place for quality ale is the Stephan Langton in Friday Street, a place that is loyal to Tillingbourne ales fresh from the brewery up the road Tongue

645 GROUNDS - Cranleigh (61/92)
583 WETHERSPOONS - Willenhall

Reserve Team Regular

Nov 15, 2019, 11:58 PM

Posts: 609
Location: Worcestershire
Team(s): Kidderminster Harriers

Post #803 of 803 (343 views)
Re: [oxpete] Proper pubs [In reply to] Can't Post or Reply Privately

Alf Ainger, landlord of the Royal Oak at Hooksway, was a local legend in his lifetime. The story goes that, with his licence in jeopardy at the Brewster Sessions at Midhurst because of the absence of toilet facilities, he stoutly maintained 'I've got two acres, your Worship'. It appears that he kept his licence.

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