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Sunday
Mar222009

Oldest Bar in England?

While in the UK for business this past week some friends were kind enough to show me around a bit and help me make the most of my stay.  Those diversions will be the subject of a few posts since they typically involved a visit to local pubs!

The weather was fantastic, clear and sunny all week with temps approaching 20°C (upper 60's F).  This led to an impromptu visit to Stonehenge near sunset.  On the way back my friend took me to Winchester in Hampshire.  Winchester was the medieval capital of England and is home to their largest cathedral.  After admiring the Winchester cathedral we decided to take a stroll through the city center and grab a pint.

We stopped at the Royal Oaks Pub which claims to be "the oldest bar in England".  This is quite a claim considering that most pubs that boast a est. date predate our country's existence by a century or more.  The pub's entrance was hidden down a narrow alley next to a 15th century building with signs hung out by the street to attract patrons.   It was a very nice pub with selection of "real ales" (cask conditioned) as well as several other beers including imports and lagers.  The pub was warm, inviting, and even updated with a mix of traditional and contemporary atmosphere including video games.  No doubt it was older than most pubs I've been in but it didn't seem to live up to its claim.  I hit the Interwebs and found this reference on Frommers:

A Lager at England's Oldest Bar -- Royal Oak Pub (tel. 01962/842701), is located in a passageway next to the God Begot House on High Street. A busy pub with plenty of atmosphere, it reputedly has the oldest bar in England. The cellar of this establishment was originally built in 944 to dispense drink to Winchester's pilgrims; the present building was constructed in 1630 atop the much older foundation.

I'd wager that the pint of "Irish Whiskey Ale" I enjoyed (a guest ale pumped from that ancient cellar) was better than what they served in the 10th century.

Cheers,
-D

Reader Comments (2)

hi DobroD!

I go round Internet and read you artical by chance, that's really nice artical, I love that Pub. I want use you stuff for my artical - gather old pubs all over the world. Can you do me a favor that send me all large pixs of the ROYAL OAK PUB?

thank you so so much!
jimmy

p/s: Cant wait to read your reply and Have a new wonderful week!

March 30, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterJimmy

Glad you enjoyed it. It is a great place with a lot of history.

Here's a link to my pub photos on flickr:
http://www.flickr.com/groups/1023678@N25/

Please send a link to your article too.
Cheers,
D

March 31, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterDobroD

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