Tucked away on a backstreet between tourist-trodden Bloomsbury and start-up central Clerkenwell, The Duke is a good place to escape museumgoers and media types alike. Decked out with scuffed wooden booths and painted an eye-watering rhubarb colour, it’s a throwback with a heart. The drinks selection is limited at best – don’t expect much more than San Miguel and Becks by way of lager – but they’re served with a smile; we got to sample each of the four ales on tap. Food is firmly of the pie-and-mash variety, but is priced accordingly. The starters will set you back less than a fiver and will do nicely as a snack. In an area overrun with either soulless chain-pubs or pricey gastro hangouts, The Duke offers relief from both. A place to go with a newspaper – providing the elderly regulars don’t bend your ear first.