The Royal Oak Pub is next to the Quiznos and near the Atlanta Bread Company in the mall near the northeast corner of Abernathy and Mount Vernon Roads. It’s tucked in the back, and you have to brave traffic from Chik Fil-A to even reach it from the Mount Vernon side. However, if you do, the service is friendly and efficient, a bit of “Cheers” in Atlanta, and the food can be good to very good.

There are six of these restaurants, all run by the Dunwoody Restaurant group. These restaurants share a common menu, and similar look. Upon entry to the Royal Oak, there is a suit of armor that greets you to the left, with menus in hand.  Inside walls are made of brick and stained wood, and the front of the bar is “papered” in framed Guinness commercials from the past. There is bar seating, tables, and a few booths. Seating is roomy enough when the bar is mostly empty to half packed, but it can get tight in the pub when the place is packed.

There are 5 good beers and 1 hard cider on tap. There are dozens of different beers in bottles, and more tapped bottles of vodka and bourbon than I can count. The food? There is an online menu, which gives you an idea of the scope of their offerings. I’m partial to the nachos here. I like their Mediterranean salad, though the Hong Kong steak salad is a little better. All the salads, sandwiches, nacho plates, etc tend to be large plates of food. If someone leaves the Royal Oak hungry, it’s because they didn’t like the food or weren’t eating.

The “Doozy” is a good solid burger, though I like it better with the onion things scraped off. Fries are thick, meaty, and actually look like Texas fries. And I bet if you ask nicely, you can still get a “pot of fries” (delivered in a clay flower pot), if you need more. The Royal Oak has a decent array of sandwiches, and recently added a gyro I believe.

And since this is labeled an English pub, there are some English dishes. You can get a good shepherd’s pie here, bangers and mash, a good Irish stew, or a plate of fish and chips. There is a lot more lamb on the menu than most places, and this was the place I realized that I really like lamb.

They will have daily specials here, and it can simply be a riff off a stock menu item, a soup with a unique twist of flavors, or perhaps the chef is testing a dish to be added to the menu. The menus here are seasonally rotated and the chefs of Royal Oak do try to find food that their customers will like.

Service here is generally good, and grows far better if you let the staff get to know you. It’s more common than not for a regular to have his drink on the bar top before he gets half way to the bar. This is a place that really knows its regular customers and tries to please. Now, to note, staff is lean and everyone short of the head chef buses tables in here. If the place is a mess, the Royal Oak staff deals with it. But otherwise, service can get as good as you want it to be.

Verdict: Friendly, “Cheers”-like bar with good to very good food, good to great service. Absolutely recommended.

The Royal Oak Pub
1155 Mount Vernon Highway
Sandy Springs, GA 30338
(770) 390-0859

Royal Oak Pub on Urbanspoon

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