Royal Oak - The Cheapest Beer In Town??
There are actually two Royal Oaks in town, one on Dorchester Road and this one here on Custom House Quay. I don't know anything about the Dorchester Road one but this one seems a friendly enough pub and has a great location on the quayside.
Unfortunately on the grey May Monday that I visited the place was devoid of customers apart from one other guy sitting outside but I got a warm welcome from the barmaid and then almost fell over as she handed me my pint and asked for £1.95 for it!! I haven't had a beer that cheap for a long while, well not in the UK anyway. Perfectly good pint of beer it was too, although I've forgotten which brewery it came from, and I too went outside to enjoy the quayside bustle.
This really is a pleasant place to sit outside and relax, watching the world go and it does have its little quirky moments such as the group of four who joined us. These were archetypal grockles who arrived with their fish and chips from the takeaway up the road and just sat down at one of the tables and proceeded to open them and start to eat them. (BTW a "grockle" is a visitor to the Southwest who doesn't seem to have a clue as to how to behave, respect local customs or even appreciate the local pace of life).
The barmaid popped out and asked if they would like some drinks. "No, no, we're just having our lunch." was the reply from one of the women.
"But these are pub tables madame and if you're not buying anything from the pub then you can't just sit here and eat something that you've bought from elsewhere - there's plenty of public seating all along the quayside."
The grockles seemed very upset about this but moved on anyway, muttering and grumbling about the lack of hospitality.
Me I thought the barmaid had been more than reasonable and told her so and shared my story about a pub I used to work at.
"One morning when I was having a fag break before the pub opened half a dozen cars pulled into the car park. From these disgorged about twenty people who proceeded to start kitting themselves up with walking gear. One of the guys called over to me and asked if it was OK to use the car park as they were going for a walk and would come back for lunch about 1 o'clock.
I of course replied in the affirmative, an extra twenty for lunch sounded like a nice piece of extra business, and sent my lad across to the local shop to get an extra couple of loaves of bread for sandwiches whilst I trayed-up and put in the oven an extra half-a-dozen baking potatoes.
One o'clock arrived and the hikers duly returned. They sat themselves down in our beer garden and then proceeded to pulll out their Thermos flasks and unwrap their sandwiches.
So we had a laugh about that and I had another beer - shame she was about 30 years too young for me ;)