The third pub in our second Dereham visit was the Royal Standard and firstly, I was impressed at how Julian spotted that under the paint above the right-hand window is the old frontage noting this was the Royal Standard. This was a pub between 1860 and 1982, at which point they changed the name of the Light Horse pub over the road to continue the traditional of the Royal Standard.
This is the pub that’s the Royal Standard now, opened as the Light Horse pub in the early nineteenth century.
This are the current opening hours, I’m impressed by their late opening every day of the week as these are some considerably long hours for a back street pub.
And I don’t know quite what to write here. The pub had no stout, no smooth flow, no craft keg, no craft bottles, no cask real ale, no real ale in bottles and I actually couldn’t see anything that I could realistically drink other than for a couple of generic lagers. So I ordered a Coke, something I didn’t think that I would ever have to write on one of these little reports of a day’s adventure. I also can’t judge what they usually serve from the pub’s Untappd records as no customer has checked a beer in for nearly a year.
The service was polite and efficient, with the general atmosphere feeling inviting, with the helpful server telling us there was a beer garden if we’d be interested in sitting outside. I like a bit of engagement and the quite tight bar area itself was quite busy, so we thought that we’d go on a little explore. There were no issues with the welcome at the pub, it didn’t feel cliquey or specialist in some form. The prices were towards the higher end of the scale for the town, but weren’t unreasonable.
The carpeted beer garden.
It’s a decent sized garden and a wonderfully historic building. CAMRA note that they have sold Bateman’s beer, but I don’t know if they’re a tied house, but I’d assume not.
Julian had ordered a draft cider but they only had bottles, so for the sake of Untappd and the photos I was generously gifted some of the drink.
The outdoor bar and a BBQ which I assume is used in the summer months. The external area did look good in photos a couple of years ago, but might need a bit of a tidy-up now.
I took the glasses back to the bar at the end of the visit so that I could report positively on any friendly farewell, but the barman ignored me and so I can’t really comment on that. The purpose of our visiting pubs is not to be particularly critical, but to pull out the not insubstantial number of venues that are really worth going to and might otherwise be forgotten. Sometimes the chain pubs have money to spend on advertising, the CAMRA award winning pubs get deserved publicity, but there are some pub owners and managers working hard to stay open and excite and delight customers who get forgotten. Energy bills are soaring, staff wages are rising, prices are going up limiting what customers can afford, these are challenging times.
The Royal Standard is clearly keeping their customers happy as there were six or so in on a Thursday afternoon and they seem to be doing food at some point in the week, although I couldn’t find a menu on-line or in the pub. They’ve abandoned their social media pages so I can’t list any of the events that might be taking place here, with no obvious internal advertising either. They were doing carveries a couple of years ago which seemed successful, but despite my trying I can’t find any evidence that they’re still doing so.
That’s about all that I can note here. At a best guess I can only suspect that the pub is not, if it’s being honest, looking for new customers and is free trade that is making its money serving their loyal regulars and opening long hours to try and accommodate that trade as best as it can. If that’s working for them, then it’s a marvellous situation that they’re carrying on a two century tradition of trade here and being of a real boost to the local community.