Before Dogwood Tavern... The Royal Oak

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Before Dogwood Tavern...  The Royal Oak


Late in the Summer of 2016, our plan to open a bar on the mountain to offer a little much-needed nightlife to the community for locals and vacationers alike, was in full force. With very little available commercial real estate options in the area, the rustic cabin meets medieval building on the way into Blue Jay was our best option and by the end of October, we signed the lease on a space that holds nearly 35 years of heartwarming memories, The Royal Oak .

The building is HUGE (nearly 3800sqft) and a really incredible space, but needed a ton of work to upgrade and bring it up to code. We also wanted to give it an entirely new look that fit our aesthetic, but that also stayed true to the mountain vibe, while keeping a few of the iconic details the Royal Oak was known for. 

Renovation began November 2016 and we got down and dirty! Doing 97% of the work ourselves, spending days and nights tirelessly working on the building and the space, we are so proud to have been able to make it happen even when times got tough.

Though it took longer than anticipated (as construction and renovation often do AND due to county permits and hurdles out of our control) it was really amazing watching our vision slowly come to life. Through our own blood, sweat, tears and countless hours of hard labor each day and through the nights (often having breakfast at Bill's Villager when the sun rose) we'd see a little progress and then a LOT of progress and the dim light at the end of the tunnel shone brightly in the spring of 2018 when we finally opened our doors and welcomed you in.

But before I share any of the renovation process, you HAVE to see what it looked like before (for those of you who hadn't been to The Royal Oak) to get a feel for the place.

It . Was . DARK. But really cool too.

Partial post and photos originally seen on

Stay tuned for more renovation posts to see the full before/afters to see how we turned the The Royal Oak into Dogwood Tavern.


Written & Photographed by Maegan Tintari ~ Owner / Dogwood Tavern