This corner pub, just a stroll from the Enmore Theatre, has long been the unofficial pre-drink (or post, given that it stays open until the wee hours on weekends) location for every gig, serving a different crowd each night: indie kids, crusty punks, comedy fans, theatresports aficionados, old rockers, metalheads and hoodies. But the old liege was getting a little worn around the edges: cue the return of James Wirth, Michael Delany, Joel Amos and Chris Deadman to the pub-running fold (remember the revival of the Norfolk and the Oxford Tav? Same crew.). The Duke has had a spruce up, but a respectful one - and they've pretty much left the excellent sheltered beer garden right as it always was, just cleaner.
The real effort has gone in to the menu updates. Tony Wilson of Bad Hombres and Ghostboy Cantina fame is in the kitchen whipping up tempura clutches of enoki mushrooms that you dip in chilli-infused soy, and you can get your steak and fries with gravy, but a better call is the lemon and herb butter. It's the fun high-low mix that makes this place. Order burrata and peaches for some fancy Italian summer vibes or a LP's meat plate for simpler snacking.
The drinks offering is also a step ahead of your average Inner West boozer, with some delicious natural wines available by the glass, local brews on tap and a boutique spirit collection that means you can get a very good tequila if the mood takes you.