Old Duke

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 1 review

45 King Street,

(0117) 9277137 

The ViewBristol Review

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Review byLucy Duggan18/11/2008
Named after Duke Ellington, this is the best known trad-jazz venue in Bristol, but things aren’t what they used to be.

The Venue
Inside, it’s really small and has a retro-jazz look. A portrait of the pub’s namesake presides over the small corner stage, it has a black and white chessboard floor, the walls are peppered with vintage photographs and the ceiling is plastered with yellowing bill posters.

It all harks back to an enigmatic, smoky and long distant past. And it was seemingly sometime way back through the mists of time that this place was last cleaned. A visit to the toilets can be a traumatic experience.

The seating provision is scarce and you need to show up very early in the evening to avoid spending the night crammed up around the bar.

Outside it is a different story. There are loads of pub benches out on the large cobbled area the Old Duke shares with the beautiful neighbouring pub, The Llandoger Trow. It’s in view of the Welsh Back harbour area which adds to the outdoor appeal.

The People
There is an older type of clientele who come here for the New Orleans-inspired traditional jazz and blues music that plays every evening and on Sunday lunchtimes. There is also a younger contingent, mostly students, some of whom are very fresh faced.

It gets loaded with bodies later on, so this is definitely not the place to go if a quiet drink is all you're after.

The bar staff deserve a special mention for all the wrong reasons - they are slow on the uptake and seem to labour under the delusion that they are cooler than the clientele and therefore at liberty to treat them with contempt.

The Drink
When the bar staff finally get round to finishing their roll-ups and serving you, the drinks here are good and reasonably priced. Lagers and ciders are from £2.70 to £2.90 and ales including Doom Bar, Courage, Directors and Bath Ales Gem from £2.40 to £2.60.

House doubles are only £2.60 so it’s a good place to come if you want to get on it. They don't serve food.

The Last Word
The music is consistently good and the outdoor seating is in a very attractive and atmospheric setting. But the Old Duke has really got to get its act together in terms of upkeep and service before it receives rave reviews.
Old Duke has been reviewed by 1 users

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