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Dukes Head, Wallington

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user reviews of the Dukes Head, Wallington

please note - reviews on this site are purely the opinion of site visitors, so don't take them too seriously.

The Duke's Head need to take a hard look at the price of their Prosecco - at £27 a bottle this is totally ridiculous and far more expensive than any other pub in the area - the mark up is probably close to 400%. Would prevent me from returning.
anna1974 - 22 Sep 2014 16:07
Fed up with wanting a nice sunday pint and having kids spreading their toys all over the bar!! I thought is was illegal to have kids at the bar. Really off putting
roxyroxy - 5 Feb 2014 11:30
We love this pub. The food and service is excellent. Worth every penny.
The hotel is beautiful as well.
Highly recommend this pub and hot let
Pinkyoliver - 20 Nov 2013 12:46
A couple of friends had recently recommended the pub and we hadn't been for some time, so paid a visit We had a fantastic meal there tonight and I would thoroughly recommend it to anyone. It's such a lovely restaurant / pub, with amazing food, friendly service and a relaxed atmosphere. It's definitely special and we'll be visiting again soon.
Ezzy - 8 Aug 2013 23:13
Looks like this another Youngs hostelry that has had its character removed by a makeover. It seems as if it is trying to go upmarket and cater more for food and families. Youngs Bitter, Special & Waggledance were on, alongside Wells Bombardier and Hogsback Tea. With the Tea being the only guest, it's difficult how to class this as a beer festival. But it was being billed as such. The old bar area has been left moreorless intact and has some nice features. The rest of the bar is light and airy. But you just know that it used to have more character.
blue_scrumpy - 21 May 2013 19:38
Well I finally plucked up the coutage to look in after the refit, much as I expected. Like many of Youngs recent jobs the result is hardly something you could call a pub,which is why (in answer to 'airofmystery' below , whose geography is seriously deficient), people like me are not raving about the place. It's more like a plush annexe to their new hotel next door, with an attempt to reposition the clientele accordingly. The heritage interest inside has been compromised, notably the public bar swept away and little snug in the former salon which has been opened out. Most irritatingly all the tables are laid out for dining which is clearly what the place is interested in now.
My late father used the public bar here for forty odd years since the late 1960s..I remember it as wonderful meeting place for all classes and ages, sadly neglected in later years. I'm just glad he didnt see the place like it is now--certainly as a mere beer drinker he wouldn't have been particularly welcome anyway... :-(

Beerwulf - 19 Sep 2012 19:22
I visited the dukes head last night, our first visit since the refit, we used to visit every couple of months for dinner in the week. The new look of the pub/restaurant is light and airy but much like a lot of chain pubs trying to modernize their image, it lacks any kind of individuality or local relevance. The dukes head was a nice old pub with plenty of character, but not now. I was misinformed about the beers available by the black barman. I asked what beers they have and was directed to the 4 pumps of mass produced lager and 2 pumps of other beers. I was not told which Youngs beers they had, or what bottled beers or shown any other beers.
The food we ordered was ok, the mushy peas with my fish were dry and the steak and peppercorn sauce were not very tasty compared to what we were used to at this place. I do not know if they changed the chef, but the food was not as good as previous visit before the refurb and seemed a bit more expensive. I dont think we will be dinning at the dukes head now. I bought a pimms for my partner and a half of lager for me, those two drinks came to over £6, which seemed pricey to me.
sc0ttie - 12 Sep 2012 19:30
I don't know why more people aren't raving about this pub. It's the only upmarket one within a ten-mile radius: finally, a place I can go to relax in beautifully designed surroundings, eat a delicious and carefully prepared meal, and not have my ears assaulted by a barrage of foul language (unique for pubs in the wallington/carshalton/sutton aea, so quite a find!). What's more, the staff are friendly, polite and attentive and the current 'floating' landlord, Sean, a charming South African who really has his finger on the pulse. I'm hoping it's going to bring the standard of pubs in the area up; after all, if the Duke's Head can be so radically reformed in a few short months, what might its rivals manage in the coming months/years? It almost makes me regret leaving the area (almost, but not quite; Bath, here I come!) I LOVE IT!!!
airofmystery - 13 Jul 2012 23:37
The 'rumours' about changes coming up are more than rumours- the planning application has gone in some time ago- with no consultation they plan to open up the whole place, trash the public bar, and turn it into a gastro eatery. Once the staunch defender of the public bar and traditional ale, Youngs are now the epitome of the 80s style 'Chicago Boy' capitalism.
And just when you thought the Greyhound up the road couldn't get any worse, there are plans afoot there to destroy the amosphere of the Swan Bar...
Beerwulf - 1 Aug 2011 15:25
Still enjoying a pint here. They serve the best pint of Youngs compared to the other Youngs houses i use. (have not tried the Plough since the old manager returned. Hearing lots of positive comment tho'). Terrible rumour going around at the moment that they want to convert it into a Greyhound style pub. Don't Youngs ever learn! If they do it wil be the end of this good pub. Bar staff much quicker on the service front these days and still adult about drinking up time. Overall, I dont object to the prices in this establishment as much as I do at the Greyhound
Barbeerian - 24 Jul 2011 15:27
I was born at the beginning of 1943 less than a couple of hundred yards from the pub, and my Mum and I survived the war, (surprising amount of bomb damage in the area) with my dad only coming home on leave from 1940 onwards. He afterwards claimed that his visits to the pub during his leave kept the place going and was his major contribution to the war effort. As I now have to attend a nearby hospital I have started to drop in on the place at lunchtimes for old times sake, and so I can compare notes with my dad when I finally meet him again. There are indeed a bunch of irritating old farts propping up the bar who behave as though they own the place, dressed mainly in golf attire to show the world that they have "made it". It would be interesting to know how long they have actually been regulars. The bar staff are pretty ghastly, without charm or social skills. The place looks a bit run-down, as do many Youngs pubs, but is comfortable and to me has a pleasant atmosphere. The Youngs, upon which I consider myself something of an expert, has always been well kept. I can't comment on the place in the evening, but hardly any pubs these days employ people who are really fit to serve behind a bar unfortunately, and most of the managers are pig ignorant, but having said all that I will go back.
bumble1 - 2 Nov 2010 14:54
GBN's comments are still very valid. It some times appears that the bar staff enjoy bottling up much more than serving customers. That said, they do not hassle you at closing time. The pricing policy, as with all Young's pubs in this area, is disgusting. At times the pub is very empty. How Young's share price is holding up still fills me with wonderment! All said and done, it still knocks spots off of the Greyhound.
Barbeerian - 26 Aug 2010 20:25
Totally agree with GBN. Our neighbours love this place but I am a wine drinker and the extortionately priced, revolting tasting and badly kept wine by the glass is enough to keep our custom away for the foreseeable future. Never mind the fact that we had to wait an age to get served as regulars get served first by the inadequate staff. Have tried the food and in line with The Greyhound has gone downhill massively, anyway why would anyone want to eat in a draughty and atmosphereless area that is in no way separated from the bar area which is extremely noisy.
yummummy - 8 Dec 2009 13:31
An update.

As a bit of background, it may be beneficial to state that I have been using this pub for over 20 years and regularly for the last 10 years. The Duke’s Head enjoys a hardcore of regulars and all of us have noticed that in the last 3 months or so, standards have slipped way below that expected of a premium priced pub. Below – in no particular order - are the areas causing consternation to the patrons.

1. It’s cold in the Public Bar. The pub has a history of problems with the central heating and these problems obviously manifest themselves when the outside temperature drops, as it has done over the last week or so. I do not expect to sit in a pub barely able to feel my fingers or toes. And to be told to “wear a thicker jumper” really highlights the woeful standards of customer care that have become all too common recently.
2. The gents toilets in the public bar regularly leak to the extent that the floor is awash with a liquid of dubious origin. They problem is usually fixed but invariably returns within a few weeks. Rather than patching the problem up, money needs to be spent to fix it once and for all.
3. Varying quality of the draught bitters and lagers. I drink Young’s bitter and every day it is a lottery whether the beer will be good, indifferent or distinctly unpleasant. This was not the case a year ago – we are certainly aware that Young’s bitter by its very nature means that pints towards the end of the barrel lose some of their freshness, but should this really happen nearly every day? Lager drinkers also regularly receive pints that have fewer bubble than tap water. When one of my friends complained about it, stating he wasn’t prepared to pay £3.53 for a pint of flat Carling, he was told “Go to the Whispering Moon then”. Nice.
4. The “50p for a dash of cordial” farce. From last Sunday, the barstaff were told to charge an extra 50p to add a dash of blackcurrant or lime to a pint of draught lager or Guinness, thus taking the price over the £4 mark. The reason for this, I was told, was to help recoup a big shortage found in the last stock take. Forgetting – for a minute – that 50p is a scandalous amount in itself, why are customers being forced to make amends for something that is clearly down to the staff/management? As of yesterday, this 50p rule was abandoned and thus all they have achieved is annoying customers to gain possibly £20. What a spectacular own goal.
5. Staff in general. There are too few and it’s not unusual to wait an inordinate amount of time to be served and if you do voice your concerns you are sometimes to either abject indifference or, sometimes, surliness. Customer care appears to be an alien concept on all too many occasions.

The foregoing is not aimed at anyone in particular, but I hope it illustrates the declining standards that the pub is currently suffering from and I further hope that the right steps will be taken to bring it back up to the standard that we have enjoyed for so long.

GBN - 16 Oct 2009 11:59
The front room has somehow escaped the omnipresent Young's refurb, which is a blessing - a wonderfully pleasant place to drink.
owenjones - 13 Jul 2009 22:10
Not a bad place but SOME of the staff could do with improvement.
Chewing Gum with her mouth wide open is not a good advert.
martins2 - 30 Jun 2009 09:39
A nice, traditional pub. I like a pint or two in here now and then.
Greedyboy - 3 Mar 2009 00:50
My experience of this pub tends to be in the afternoon in the front bar overlooking the green. Its all very pleasant, a mix of locals just having a drink. The Winter Warmer is spot on and the lady enjoys a good shandy so its a thumbs up from me!
owenjones - 7 Jan 2009 18:01
Far too pricey, and what was with the Frank Sinatra thing? It's not the 1960's!! Aiming at a dead market, I think. Could do better. Couldn't get much worse.
holidayman - 11 Oct 2008 23:13
A deceptive pub this. Looks quite nice from the outside and the decor is pleasant. During my visit, which will be my last, a wedding was in progress. They had a lovely band playing, which was quite loud admittedly, but bands are a bit loud, and it wasn't that bad. As nominated driver I tried to buy a pint of coke, about £1.30 in my own local, was told that they only did half pints, and then charged me £2.05 for a half pint glass, thats eight quid for the equivalent of a £1.89 bottle.

We decided to leave because and find another pub of the prices, The beer was just as relatively expensive. I took a quik trip to the loos and overheard a staff member telling one of the wedding party that unless the band stopped playing they would shut the wedding down and evict the wedding guests who were staying at the adjoining hotel from their rooms. This was at about 9 o'clock. So not late at all

It is no wonder that more and more people are drinking at home with pubs being run like this. from this experience I would give this pub minus 2 out of 10. Quite a shocking attitude, and obviously out to make as much money as possible
JohnJames - 25 Aug 2008 02:16
not a bad pub to visit , the real ale quality is mostly good but beware of the pricing and dont have the peroni on tap its 4 pound a go. its a bit of a mish mash trying to keep the place cosy but then modern in the main saloon bar as it acts for the restaurant to the rear of the pub, the public bar is basic
scaramanger - 4 Feb 2008 18:18
The nitro-keg is quite good but the crowd is one of the most enjoyable in this part of Wallington. A festive spirit similar to that of Clapham types. Some of the Ales let the place down. Who drinks London Pride anyway? Mmm a nice refreshing pint of Spitfire is not my idea of a good time. A bit pricey for those who think anything over £2 for a beer is robbery. I love this place.
McBaron_Beer - 2 Jan 2008 22:53
Been back a few times and a mixture of good and bad. Lunch time and quiet evenings are fine and the food/ale is well priced and nice. Friday and Saturday evening though are awful.

I've actually had to walk out on one Friday night, not because it was that busy, but because - and actually quite a few places in the area - the local clique congregate around the bar and blocks off other customers wanting to buy a pint.

Generally, why do people do that? You have to shout over these pea-brained plebs to get served and even then they don't allow you clear access to your drink.

What is it with these idiots, who mainly appear to be of the middle-aged, manual-working male mould (sic)? I guess sitting at a table would be way too civilised and huddling around the bar like some child-like chain gang must give them a sense of belonging.

Anyway, it is very annoying and places such as The Duke's Head is a prime example. The Windsor Castle and The Woodman is also prone to the practise, although not quite as bad.
AleKing - 5 Dec 2007 11:55
OK. Better than the Greyhound at the moment, but not great. Beware the Peroni, the price will give you a heart attack!
anonymous - 26 Oct 2007 15:36
Large pub in a nice surrounding. I’ll never understand why Youngs feel the need to charge about £3.20 for a pint of badly kept Carling. But I guess that they do.

You can be sure that this (or a different Youngs) will be the first in the area to charge £3.50 for a bog standard pint.
LowenBeerHold - 9 May 2007 13:16
Practically identical to The Greyhound up in Carshalton, as you’d expect from a Young’s pub.

The ale was like many Young’s tipples nowadays, slightly above average, and the food, although pricy, was decent enough. It seemed to be mixture of restaurant and bar.

I didn’t face any disparaging remarks or any other sort of inappropriate sprawling from plebeian locals, but I went during the Bank Holiday afternoon so probably escaped lightly.

Even so, it was fine on my visit.

AleKing - 13 Apr 2007 16:51
This is the kind of pub you enter and expect to hear someone say "You're not from around these parts are you?" Full of loyal regulars. Not unpleasant at all but slightly strange nevertheless.
Lollyjot - 3 Feb 2007 19:57
Thanks GBN for agreeing with me.

I quote your previous post for people entering the restaurant:

"passing customers will always get a slight ribbing for passing the field of vision, but is is always good humoured when said by a local. Inevitably, however, local mindless dregs will be there and their comments are less than polite."

This is is what you will get as a hotel customer, on business, with children or elderly people.

Thanks for your input GBN.

p.s Are you ginger or worse the manager?
tjnicko - 9 Oct 2006 18:52
A Youngs Pub/hotel.
Good restaurant serving good reasonably priced meals. Food seems to be available all day and evening. Chefs know what they are doing. Sunday carvery is very good indeed.
Excellent waiting staff, friendly and helpful.
You wont get a better pint of Youngs bitter anywhere else in the area, always in good condition. (The manager drinks it himself - I like to see that.)
Locals very friendly and will always chat to you, but dont mention boilers to the old geezer with glasses who's got a face that looks like a well tended gravestone, he'll bore you to death.
Staff great, even the acid tongued haggis bashing Scottish bird behind the bar. Just buy her a pint, that seems to shut her up.
The managers are great and will actually talk to you and maybe even buy you a pint.
In short, a well run place serving excellent booze and good food. Well worth a visit in my opinion.
I'll book myself into the hotel sometime and see what that's like. Watch this space.


Rigormortis - 19 Apr 2006 12:24
Very occasionally, you come across a comic genius. I found it last night and have only now managed to pick myself off the floor to post a response to his inane ramblings.

Anonymous of 17/04/2006 scales new heights in idoicy. This pub is a proper local community pub and probably not to the liking of some of the retards that make passing visits. The "back bar/room area", to coin his wording, is also where the large Plasma TV is - passing customers will always get a slight ribbing for passing the field of vision, but is is always good humoured when said by a local. Inevitably, however, local mindless dregs will be there and their comments are less than polite. I can only presume that their loyalty to the nearby Wetherspoon is over-ridden when it comes to watching their heroes kicking an inflated sheeps Pancreas around a pitch.

I'm under 40 and I am happy. The "ginger weirdo" may well be one of the bar staff (and she certainly isn't under 40) but she too seems to have a permanent smile.

The prices are on the steep side, but this is in no doubt to deter the sort of oik that "anonymous" is more familiar with in the pus-pit pubs in the area.

Extremely busy on a Friday night.

Going uphill rapidly, the only decent pub, for decent people, for miles around.
GBN - 18 Apr 2006 21:46
At times it seems like the locals think they own this place, especially the mouthy old men and a annoying ginger weirdo that hang around the fireplace in the back room.

The locals insist on sprawling themselves across the back bar area, blockading the restaurant, when other customers try to pass they can be very rude. I am amazed the manager encourages this behaviour by joining the territorial loud-mouthed old thugs in a drink.

The manager, most of the time is busy propping up the bar rather than ensuring the restaurant, hotel and anyone under the age of 40 is happy.

The landlady, well she certainly has favourites, and serves them first, beer and food.

The food is generally good but even though it is a non-smoking area it still gets very smoky from the nearby bar.

Toilets are clean; hotel side is modern and very clean.

Going downhill fast.

anonymous - 17 Apr 2006 21:09
Another top pub. It has everything you might need. Old mans pub, sports pub, and nice gritty bar. Some of the locals seem a bit hostile but other than that its great.
Setch - 24 Mar 2006 09:16
I met my wife here, but I'm not holding that against the pub. Reasonable Young's beer. Best pub in Wallington by a long way.
anonymous - 22 Sep 2005 13:16
One of my favourite pubs.
Pros:
Youngs Winter Warmer and Special always tip-top condition. Large no-smoking/dining area. Friendly staff and locals.
Cons:
Main bar area gets very smoky. Poor veggie options on food menu.
kryten - 14 Feb 2005 07:56
The best pub in Wallington by a mile. Great beer, especially if you like real ale, excellent food and lots of sport on the big screens. The governor is rather good at darts!
GixerMark - 3 Feb 2005 09:46
a great pub now we have a couple who are interested in the customer,the beer is better the service is great,a far cry from tony and (if you dont like it drink else where),it has a fishing club,and also a golf club,darts league well done stewartand sune
P.a
palden - 13 Jan 2005 23:55
I hope jb from 26 feb isn,t who i think it is
mysteryposter - 29 Dec 2004 09:32
I met an awfully nice chap in there who was able to remonstrate with me for hours on the subject of boilers. His knowledge of heating installation was second to none and his company only added to a splendid evening. A great pub for tradesmen and DIY enthusiasts alike!
anonymous - 24 Dec 2004 00:04
nice and quite on a sunday night which is the way i like it,don't like pubs that are to lively now that i'm getting on a bit.They do a rather good light and mild,and the foods great.
the silver fox - 29 Jul 2004 21:34
Okay without being that great. A Youngs pub, so not the cheapest place. The weird thing about is it is a big pub but so built that it feels like you are cramped in. You have to walk out the door and go in another if you want to get from one side of the bar to another. Okay-ish though.
Mr. - 9 May 2004 21:45
I HAVE JUST MOVED TO THE AREA AND THIS PUB IS MY NEAREST.I WAS VERY PLEASED TO FIND GOOD FOOD AND THE WHISKY- 2 SHOTS FOR THE PRICE OF ONE! EVEN THOUGH THE OFFER WAS FOR THAT VISIT ONLY. VERY GOOD LOCAL.
I would like join a darts team or quiz evening if there is one!
Mrs Delia Smith - 16 Apr 2004 09:26
This place is improving. Last summer it was okay for the occasional visit. The place used to attract scum from far and wide who'd menace and jeer from the other wise nice green at the front. Not so recently though. Things are changing at this place. It's not quite enjoyed the same renaissance as the greyhound post-hotel conversion, but perhaps it's on the way!
Steve - 19 Mar 2004 17:55
I`ll second that! Tony was a great landlord... The new guy doesn`t seem to want to know. I thought he was a relief manager for a while! Saying that though, still the best pub in the area.
JB - 26 Feb 2004 20:25
No, I am pleased to report that the new landlord does not reserve this lack of service to non- regulars; we all have to put up with it!!! Bring back Tony!!!
Twinkle toes - 22 Feb 2004 17:09
Glad to hear it has changed hands. Hopefully the potential of this pub can now be realised.
ck - 18 Feb 2004 13:53
I had my 40th birthday party on 312st jan. All that went had a great time, those that stayed liked the Hotel. The staff were excellent & I would recommend the place to anyone. Good beer.
Adrian Farley - 2 Feb 2004 17:01
As the new Managers of The Duke's Head I am very sorry to read CK's comments and can assure him that it is most certainly not our or Young's policy to only serve regulars. All is welcome in our pub/hotel, treated and served with equal efficiency and friendlyness. Why not come and give us another try?
S Grundy - Manager - 11 Jan 2004 18:17
Great looking pub serving ok beer in a dire area for pubs. Sadly the landlord is only interested in serving the locals. If you're not a local you won't be welcome here. This policy is apparently approved by Youngs which is very sad.
CK - 6 Nov 2003 14:40

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