West Berkshire Branch of CAMRA

West Berkshire CAMRA Branch Pub of the Year 2012. - Winners - The Royal Oak, Yattendon.

The West Berkshire branch of CAMRA are delighted to announce their Winner of the Pub of the Year 2012 as The Royal Oak at Yattendon.

West Berkshire CAMRA Pubs Officer Glenn Parsons (right) presents the award to Assistant Manager Joe Byrne of the Royal Oak

The richly deserved award pays great credit to landlord, Rob McGill and his team, for the hard work put in since taking over this village pub and restaurant in November 2009.

For many years the Royal Oak had a reputation as a foodie establishment, attracting clients mainly looking for a chance to enjoy a night away from the hustle and bustle of city life for an evening meal and maybe overnight stay. This meant many villagers and locals, unless digging deep into their pockets to sample the food, felt ill at ease to venture in for just a drink.
That has now completely changed. Whilst you can still enjoy an excellent meal, stay a night in the beautifully individually styled bedrooms, the pub has really been handed back to those villagers and locals who are now often seen popping in for a quick drink after work or staying most of the evening and sampling the great choice of real ales. The welcome you receive from Rob and his team is fantastic what ever your pleasure and the menu now caters for all types from tasty simple bar snacks and meals to full silver service dining in the separate restaurant.

If your pleasure comes in the form of real ale then you certainly won't be disappointed. The pub entered the Good Beer Guide for the first time in 2012. Whenever you come through the door, the beer is in excellent condition. Links to the West Berkshire Brewery are strong as the Brewery has its roots in the village and has just moved to its third location in under twenty years , growing all the time, but staying close to home. There is always a guest ale for those looking for something different and these vary depending on the bar managers choice at the time.

The award was presented to Landlord Rob McGill by pubs officer Glenn Parsons on Tues the 29th of May.
On a beautiful evening with a garden full of diners a short speech was given by Glenn during a break in the ever popular pub quiz night. Glenn paid tribute to the efforts of Rob in making this pub “accessible to all, and not just those who were there to eat.” The rather stuffy reputation the pub had before Rob took over has been completely turned around and tonight showed that in abundance, with many people enjoying excellent food, while the locals and regulars, some of whom were eating as well, packed into the bar areas to enjoy the beer and wine, with the added bonus of a fun quiz evening thrown in.

Rob paid tribute to former bar manager Mark for the effort he put in during his time there with Rob. Mark has since moved out of the pub/restaurant trade altogether.

The beers on offer that evening were Good Old Boy, Mr Chubbs and Maggs Mild from West Berks brewery, as well as a guest ale from Humpty Dumpty Brewery Norfolk, and all were in excellent condition.

West Berkshire Brewery Liaison Office Chris Marriage (2nd right) joins West Berkshire Brewery's Griff Maggs (3rd right) to congratulate Joe and other members of his team.

In a quieter moment Rob thanked Camra “for the support and recognition in firstly selecting the pub for the Good Beer Guide and now as the branch's Pub of the Year”. Glenn responded with thanking Rob, in saying that “pubs were about communities, and The Royal Oak was once again the focal point of the community, keep up the good work and lets hope we can once again recognise the efforts of the team at The Royal Oak”

The Pub will now be put forward for the regional of Pub of the Year award, and who knows, possibly the whole of the UK.

This story was covered by the local press in their on-line newspaper - Link to the story.