Two of my stand-by gastropubs are no secret: The Abbaye and The Royal.
What really puts the two up top is that the service is extraordinary. Every time I go, I luck out with a charming server who goes the extra mile by presenting wit along with my plate. Both of which I find to be necessary things.
I took my first brunch at the Abbaye and swore that I would order something besides the surreal seitan cheesesteak. Complimentary mini muffins are a touch specific to the Abbaye brunch and are delivered to each table. They're honestly the best muffins around, too, even if they are tiny. I cut into the challah french toast, which didn't sound like anything special, unless you know that challah is an unfuckwithable force of deliciousness. I was quite pleased with it. My partners went with the buttermilk pancakes, which were small, almost like silver dollars, and the vegetarian chili, and both elicited a thumbs up.
The Royal has a portabello panini that I finally decided to try. They know how to make a sandwich. They also excel in serving that same sandwich. No complaints. All pleasure.
It's also nice that after a full house at The Royal Tavern, privacy can be found at La Golosa just down the street. I'm still not sure that many people know about this place, as I always have it to myself when I stop in. If you need a piece of high-percentage chocolate or a soul-building, body-shocking jolt of rich cocoa, do it. Need a hunk of velvety cake? Do it more. And take someone that you want to do it with, with you.