Halton Pub of the Year 2017
Halton's pub of the year for 2017 is Weston Village's Royal Oak, which under the smart stewardship of licensees Sharon Bates and Terry Hamblett has flourished since they arrived in Spring 2016. Following a refurbishment completed in Autumn last year, the 19th century pub comprises a central bar within a sizeable open plan area. Upon entering, there is a front area for the drinkers; to the right is a comfortable dining area, and to the left is more seating and a games area with pool table and dart board. In fact the Royal Oak now proudly boasts ladies' and gents' darts teams.
Chiefly a family-friendly pub that also welcomes customers' pets, late evening entertainment in the form of karaoke nights is a regular feature.
On the a culinary front, there are traditional home-cooked meals in the form of burgers, sausages, sandwiches and baguettes, each served with chips and salad for well under a fiver. Sundays are kept special by way of "Sunday lunch your way" - bespoke full roast dinners served to customers' preferences from a range of options. At just £6.49, it is tremendous value for money. Furthermore, if the weather is kind, the Royal Oak's spacious enclosed garden is ideal for those who like to eat and drink in the open air.
On my late Friday afternoon visit in early April, bustling with a fair few drinkers and a young family, and with joyous spring sunshine beaming through the windows, Sharp's 4% 'Doombar' and Theakston's 5.6% 'Old Peculier' graced the handpumps in addition to a still medium 4.5% cider, 'Happy Daze' from Gwynt y Ddraig. The dark, malty ale 'Old Peculier' from Yorkshire tasted robust and delicious and was presented in excellent condition at the optimum temperature.
Card-carrying CAMRA members are charged a generous £2.50 per pint, whilst non-members can enjoy this discount every Tuesday. And speaking of discounts, Wednesdays are nominated "meal deal nights", when for just a fiver customers can enjoy any fixed meal and any pint.
In short, thanks to Sharon, Terry and the regular locals, hospitality, warmth and sincerety are in abundance at the Royal Oak, located in a village that has firmly retained its charm and character despite the ongoing changes underway elsewhere in the region. Even if you're not a local, the Royal Oak is well worth a visit.
Opening hours: Monday-Thursday 1600-2300 Friday 1600-2330 Saturday 1700-2330 Sunday 1200-1030
Meals: Tuesday-Friday 1700-2100 Saturday 1200-2000 Sunday 1200-1700
Address: 187 Heath Road South, Weston Village WA7 4RP Tel. 01928 577781