Oxymoron at The Royal Oak, Fitzalan Street – Kennington’s mystery pub

If you Google the Royal Oak Kennington, this pub at the West Kennington end of Kennington Lane will come up top. But there is another Royal Oak, at 78 Fitzalan Street. An earlier Kennington blog wrote about it here. Google suggests this is now a jewellery manufacture and repair business.

Then we saw this intriguing poster:

Royal Oak vintage sale poster - kenningtonrunoff.com

So we went along to what we thought might be a vintage sale in a derelict pub, perhaps squatted. We couldn’t quite believe our eyes.

Oxymoron at Royal Oak, Fitzalan Street exterior - kenningtonrunoff.com

In many ways it is a derelict pub – you feel the old wooden floorboards might collapse beneath your feet – but imagine a derelict pub if Tim Burton’s set designer had got hold of it:

Oxymoron at Royal Oak bar during vintage sale - kenningtonrunoff.com

We think we spotted TV’s Mark Hill, who we suspect has a lot to do with the look of Counter. He was trying to purchase various items, only to be told by the female proprietor “Oh no, my husband will never sell that.”

Oxymoron at Royal Oak vintage sale - kenningtonrunoff.com

We got talking to a regular, who informed us the Royal Oak is still a pub, and they had recently started serving food. We asked what kind of food and her description sounded like small plates.

We’ve also managed to track down a Facebook page for Oxymoron at the Royal Oak. From this we have learnt that they opened on Feb 27th, were planning to serve Kernel, and they were serving food on April 13th, They even have a 5 star hygiene rating, reassuringly showing that food standards officers don’t care about creaky floorboards.

If our curiosity needed piquing any further, there were these two reviews:

“Doubt you will find a place like this anywhere in London, ask if the silver fox is there to cook you supper and if you turn up on the right night you may get the chance to see Henry and the Hooray’s play. #hiddengem” – Freddie Scott

“One of the very few undiscovered gems in London. Amazing interior decor like nowhere else. The foods pretty cracking too. Head there, right now!” – Adam Knight

It sounds like the pub we have been waiting for all our lives.

Taking Adam’s advice, we went back to the Royal Oak on a Saturday afternoon. There were about seven people there, who looked like they’d been drinking there for decades. We asked the lady behind the bar if they serve food and she recommended trying The Ship.

Dear Oxymoron at the Royal Oak, please get in touch and tell us when you are serving food and Kernel so we can tell Kennington!

Update, November 2015: They are now serving food regularly on Friday, Saturdays and Sundays. More info from Facebook or Twitter.

7 thoughts on “Oxymoron at The Royal Oak, Fitzalan Street – Kennington’s mystery pub

  1. Lady C

    The R’oak is Bedlam’s club house, we had Mr Wesley’s birthday celebrations there this week. William the landlord cooked up plates of salmon and rice which was super tasty but that was a surprise treat – best not to rely on anything just roll with the spirit of the place. Billy was the jeweller (the Google reference you mention) and he is a hugely talented creator-designer in the mould of Caractacus Potts. He cycles round the hood in the afternoons salvaging treasures other people have mistook as rubbish and brings it back to be transformed.
    It goes without saying that it is not part of a chain and he is not attached to a brewery. By many leagues it is the most characterful pub in Kennington and many manors beyond.
    Our puppy Brian was born upstairs and for that and all the reasons above we hold the place dear so come put money in the till to oil William’s imagination but don’t go trying to straighten it out or barge out the stalwarts.

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  3. Oxytocin

    Currently food is available at the Oxymoron every Sunday between 4 and 6.
    Big Plate Dinner. Roast chicken, roast potatoes & parsnips, sweet potato mash, peas and corn, gluten free gravy and coleslaw side. Everything is fresh and home cooked.
    Vegan option Big Plate Dinner: Nut roast, roast potatoes & parsnips, sweet potato mash, peas and corn and gluten free gravy.
    Dinner is £9.75 and berry mini pav desert is £2.75.

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