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© Ming Tang Evans

The Duke is a little slice of London from between the wars: heavy-framed mirrors, long-leafed plants, a black Bakelite phone and amusing deco details (pale green glass in the shape of a whipped ice-cream, a nymph cavorting under a lamp). The main bar has scuffed linoleum, wooden booths and, as if a warbly ‘When You’re Smiling’ and Billie Holiday on the stereo weren’t front-parlour enough, a red-painted piano.

A couple of real ales are offered – our pint was topped up without our having to ask, despite there being a rush on at the bar – as well as Staropramen and plenty of whiskies.

The secluded location keeps the few street-side tables tranquil, and a tea light-strewn dining room has an unambitious menu (chargrilled sea bass, pork cutlet, sausage of the week). Otherwise, reasonable beer sustains a nicely mixed crowd of student girls in vintage garb and well-fed architects belted tightly into their suit trousers.


Venue name: Duke
Address: 7 Roger Street
Opening hours: Open noon-11pm Mon-Sat; noon-10.30pm Sun. Food served noon-10pm Mon-Sat; noon-9.30pm Sun.
Transport: Tube: Chancery Lane, Holborn or Russell Square tube
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