A British Landmark in the Heart of the San Fernando Valley
Authentically British from the “draught” beers to the darts (not machines, but real darts and dartboards), to the homemade pink-and-yellow-checkered, marzipan-wrapped Battenburg cake that accompanies afternoon tea, Robin Hood British Pub has been a Valley home-away-from-home for relocated Brits since 1982.
It has also been a faithful stand-in as a mini-visit to London for local Anglophiles craving homemade chicken curry pie or true fish ‘n chips.
Londoners Michael and Lorraine Williams began Robin Hood 30 years ago when they bought a run-down beer bar in Sherman Oaks and converted it into a casual place for brews and burgers. After a few years, they added British comfort foods to the menu and began making their own tartar sauce (it’s been getting rave reviews ever since) to accompany the house favorite, fish ‘n chips. Michael, a former pub professional in England, brought in classic draft British beers. An appreciative clientele took root and has been evolving ever since; newcomers and regulars, British and American, unite at Robin Hood in their love of good British food, drink, and camaraderie.
According to Lorraine, some even call the pub “the village.” One pair of regulars met there and later married, had a baby shower there for their first-born – and when he recently had his 21st birthday, brought him there to celebrate.
Robin Hood now includes the original pub with a full bar, dining service, and four high-def big screen TVs with surround-sound; a quieter dining room with free Wi-Fi; and THE FRIAR TUCK SHOPPE, with everything from imported British sweets, tinned goods, and biscuits, to frozen unbaked meat pies home-made in Robin Hood’s kitchen.
The restaurant’s English breakfasts, including a vegetarian version, are highly celebrated, as are afternoon “teas” with all the trimmings including petite sandwiches and Devonshire cream. The bar hosts two-weekday Happy Hours, from 4 to 7 p.m. and again from 10 p.m. to midnight – appetizers are deliciously discounted, too. The kitchen stays open to serve them until 11 p.m.
“We’re most famous, I think, for our home-cooked, scratch-made British food. People love our liver and onions, meat pies, and soups. One customer calls our creamy onion soup with parmesan croutons ‘like Thanksgiving in a bowl,’” says Lorraine.