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September 01, 2015

London's Secretary of State for Culture, Media, and Sport is shining some light on 21 of the city's hidden gems. Its subjects: a group of inter-war period pubs with (wonderfully) dated architecture. The Royal Oak (pictured) is one of the chosen. Brick-walled inns could be found on every corner back in post-war London, but few remain today. Historic England just granted these "rare and overlooked" bars with Grade II listings last Friday, meaning any kind of change to the building needs to be approved by the government.


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The move was made to preserve an "improved pub" movement that popped up in the region between wars. The idea was the nicer the bar, the better the clientele—hence the gorgeous spaces. Unfortunately, many of these taverns have been demolished to make room for more modern facilities. 


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The Royal Oak's inner-workings are largely unchanged: engraved glass windows, sun-worn wood, a smaller bar hidden past the main canteen, and other details sending patrons off into a fit of little-known nostalgia. The brews are just as good as the decor. A Sussex Brewery called Harvey’s owns the bar, a name that's earned a fine share of awards and honors for their ales. Thanks to the new appointment by Historic England, we'll all still be able to enjoy The Royal Oak and its fellow historic pubs—sounds like a great vacation opportunity to us.


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For more on pubs and bars in London, check out T+L's Guide to London.

Erika Owen is the Audience Engagement Editor at Travel + Leisure. Follow her on Twitter and Instagram at @erikaraeowen.

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