Duke plans

Duke refurb pic

A glimpse of what the Duke, formerly the Duke of Edinburgh, at the end of Nightingale Lane, could soon look like. The new boss, Ronnie Finch, who since taking over in November seems to have succeeded in attracting an almost completely different clientele to the pub’s previous incarnation, is about to undertake some renovations which are being styled “upcycling”. (“Refurbishment” sounding too much like stripping out fixtures and fittings.)

There will, however, be significant changes outside: not just the exterior shot above, but also the conversion of an enclosed courtyard with outbuilding into a more usable beer garden with booths and an outside grill. The kitchen will soon start serving dinner and Sunday roasts, with the aim of becoming a cafe-style lunch menu. The works should be completed in time for Easter.

As is traditional for Wansteadium, we wish the venture a hearty dose of good luck.

13 Comments on "Duke plans"


  1. I’ve visited the Duke several times and, while it has not completely weaned me away from my loyalty to the Nightingale, it provides a very welcome alternative in an area not over-endowed with good pubs. I look forward to the completed refurbishment.


  2. Great !
    Exactly what wanstead needs , a family friendly pub.
    I look forward to visiting the upcoming events.


  3. Like the grey; Farra and Boorl? ( as we say locally.)

    Hope the execution is good, as there is an untapped market for sure.

    Wine still below par and needs some attention. I like the ale.

    Will I need a beard to get in?


  4. I visited The Duke not long ago and was really impressed with the feel of the place, the beautiful open fire and how comfortable (as a girl) I felt going in by myself and waiting for friends. With the refurb happening soon I can see this pub becoming a new favourite for us!


  5. Lord that colour scheme looks terrible – Otto grey – something for Leytonstone High Road. Mock Tudor is cheesy but at least it’s authentically cheesy.


  6. Been twice. Very loud, chavvy types dominating the environment. Wine very pricey. Haven’t felt inclined to return.


  7. Popped in just now. Beer £3 a pint – ELB pale ale, quite nice. Beetroot crisps: confused one of the punters. They ask you whether you want the beer in a jug or a straight glass. I can’t generate enough irony to drink beer from a jug. I’m with Michael Caine in Get Carter on that one.

    Bland, unchallenging X-factor music. A bit of Mahler or Public Enemy would be cool. Man with beard behind bar. Two customers with beards (one a geezer, the other possibly a social worker or an English teacher). No fixed gear bicycles. Hipster coefficient? Low to zero.

    Lots of white men. General background growl of estuary English. Advert for 6-nations on the big screen. Soulless. Bit depressing.

    That said, they do seem to have got rid of most of the old DofE chavs. Wonder where they’ve gone?

    I really hope they do well but it’ll need hard work.

    A pub in Wanstead that did goodish food would clean up (nothing fancy, say something like the Empress on Lauriston road).

    Ooh! Two young couples have just walked in. One of the men with a beard but also a dodgy NFL jacket. So a net zero effect on hipster coefficient. They all sound middle class. Maybe there’s hope for the business yet.


  8. An east London hipster pub wouldn’t rebrand the outside like that. Why not just leave it?

    The wife and I went the other week. It was alright, if pretty busy. I’m not sure the salt-of-the-earth regulars from the pub’s previous incarnation have gone anywhere; on the night we went they were still there, they’ve just been joined by some trendies. On the whole we had a nice time and would go back again but I’d like to see a wider variety of ales on.


  9. Been in a couple of times since it changed hands. Once they had a DJ in and it was all a bit TOWIE. The other time there was no music and it had a much less frenetic vibe. The other half loved the ales. I admired the gin options AND they serve it with decent tonic!!! No idea who is choosing the wine but the selection was about as good as you’d get in any other Wanstead pub. Why is it i can buy a really good bottle of French red for £8 in Gaks on Herman Hill (if you haven’t been wine lovers, you are missing a real treat) but I can’t get a decent glass in any pub with an e11 postcode at any price?.

    I too hope the new version emulates the Empress of India, which is spot on for food and drink. It’s true that the demographic who goes there is very different to the Duke, but both are a reflection of their neighbourhoods. I’m keeping my fingers crossed they get it right.


  10. For me all they need to do is serve decent food and bring it to you within 30 mins.

    This would be an improvement on the Cuckfield which takes on average 3 days to get the food to you, busy or not..
    Also some bar staff that acknowledge you and serve you within 2 days.

    I do not think it is the Nightingale that needs to worry about losing clients, it is most certainly the Cuckfield.

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