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Venue Review: The Dukes Head, Putney

Tuesday March 3, 2015

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Something’s happening in South West London that’s challenging the dominance of bars north of the river. Local pubs seem to be enjoying a renaissance and this is particularly true of the Wandsworth area.

Traditional pubs are adapting to changing demographics and offering up quirky and original alternatives, and a peculiar stretch of road along the river in Putney is doing so with gusto.

So we come to my new favourite ‘local’. The Dukes Head.

Located in a Grade 2 listed building, it’s large, open main bar combines a traditional, yet spacious layout with modern décor that’s both respectful and refreshing, while the back restaurant presents an air of culinary calm, perfect for sampling what really are some gastronomic delights.

But for me the real gem is the Dukes Rowing Club downstairs.

Warm, intimate and quirky, this basement bar combines a wonderful mismatch of odd furniture, kitsch Americana and Victorian antiques. The long bar means service is never slow and with one or two semi private areas and half rooms plus a large booth tucked away beneath the stairs, it’s the perfect venue to mix an evening of hedonistic indulgence with more intimate interaction.

DJ's regular spin chilled out tunes and the occasional live band adds to an eclectic spread of entertainment.

Keep moving to the back of the basement and you realise that instead of stepping underground you’ve made a transition from street to river level with a perfectly sized beer garden giving you a distinctly calming view of the River Thames a stone’s throw away.

This place is going to get busy in the summer. I can feel it. So make sure you bag your regular spot now to avoid the crowds once the clouds part.

The best news? We've just started a regular speed dating event here. Click here to check out the next one.