Just for the music, this place gets four stars. In one fifteen minute span, I heard (and saw on the video screen) Wham, Communards, Bananarama, Miami Sound Machine, Kim Wilde and old school Kylie Minogue (the video was "I Should be so Lucky").
Plus, the beers are cheap (no fancy beers, had Grolsch, Carling, Kronenburg, Tetley's and several other mass market beers that were fine, but nothing great)
Clean place, friendly crowd...this is a great place to stop for a beer or four.
The Duke of Wellington was one of the most expensive bars of the night. It was a good old fashioned type pub / bar with a good mixture of people and music. On a hot night you can stand outside the bar.
A traditional gay bar whats been in SOHO years its right at the end of Old Compton Street and has a friendly crowd of mainly bears and guys with beards haha, its a fun bar many on one level, drink prices are ok for the middle of central London at around £3.40 a pint. it does get crowded at peak times around 5-6pm onwards so it might be a struggle to get to the bar at times. Its not pretentious at all and theres always good music being played and in general a great place to be at if you want a good time.
Good bar in Soho for an early evening pint. Do Monday specials with a pint of Carling for £2. It can get very busy later in the evening.
This is one of those places that I like to have as a backup for when whatever you were doing in soho went bust and you don't really feel like going home and you certainly can't be bothered to step foot into a place like O Bar and you'd much rather just collect yourself in a place of familiarity and normalcy but still be able to mingle among a gay crowd.
The upstairs has a few nice spots you can run up to and sit back with a pint that weren't terribly crowded when I've been. Proof that you don't have to go to a straight pub to avoid breaking the bank.
Thank god for the Duke of Wellington a much needed slice of normality in an over-crowded scene. The Duke of Wellie is great for several reasons, the main one being the prices. Probably some of the cheapest in Soho. The clientele are very down to earth and if you're young and attractive, expect a smile or two from the harmless regulars.
For me though, Summer is when the Duke of Wellie really comes alive. It's great to stand on the street (watching the poor cast of Les Mis sweating in their corsets and smoking opposite outside their stage door) and watch the world go by.
A great friendly pub and well worth a visit. A normal pub for normal-ish people.
Extremely busy of a warm friday night... often more people drinking outside than in.
Friendly efficient bar staff and a beary clientele.
The Wellie is a good meeting spot after work or before heading off for a night out in the West End. It is part of the TCH group who own several gay bars in London. Consequently it is a little chainy but not as impersonal as the large brewery owned bars.
The Willie has eating upstairs which makes it especially comfortable in the winter. Downstairs gets really packed so grab a plastic glass and stand outside in the summer.
The decor is predictably mock Victorian. They have used the same designer as many of the large breweries but I guess you go to look at the men not the flock wallpaper.
Cheap and cheerful pub which draws a mainly gay crowd. This one tends to be frequented by bears but to be honest you can get a fair mix of men (mostly) inside.
There is the option to drink outside the Duke when the weather is nice (or when the place is rammed, as it often is).
Reasonable price, decent enough atmosphere and always a decent soundtrack to enjoy your drink with.
(Oh and free wifi which is always a bonus)
This is a nice down to earth pub in Soho, serves the usual pub drinks. There are TV screens with pop music playing, keeping the punters entertained.
It's a nice change from the dancey places around there - good for a pint and a chat.
Used to be a Rat & Parrot - so looks like a typical British boozer.
Due to it being a gay bar - the female toilets never have queues! Result!
Love the bar and the staff. every time i am in London is my place to go. so , everyone else.
The Duke of Wellington sprang up from the ashes of an old Rat & Parrot pub and, whilst it is an independent bar, it still has some of the trappings of a traditional chain pub.
With two bars on two floors and its brilliant sighting between the popular Rupert Street and Compton Street, the bar can be very crowded. It attracts an older, down to earth crowd, maybe not as classy as other local bars but okay for those who want a simple pint without the over-styled pretension of some of Soho. As such expect bears and low-maintenance men and a casual after-works crowd.
The bar doesn't really do much for me, it has to be said, being a bit too old-fashioned but visitors should pop in and have a gander as it may be to their liking.
This pub is good, but the staff here are quite rude in my experence. As are some of the locals.
The upstairs is fun with a group of people, but otherwise try and go to a better pub down the road.
Ont he other hand, the interior are really nice, and its always warm inside. Its one of those pubs that get better during the evenings when the more people are there, the better the atmosphere becomes.
Had a work leaving dinner here last week Wednesday. I have walked past this Gastro-pub a number of times but never been in. Absolutely loved the decor inside, old meets new. The staff were very friendly and the table we booked for 10 was downstairs. The food menu looked very tasty and seeing as work was paying we all had three courses.
I had the Brazaola which was excellent, others had the soup, crab, all of which everyone enjoyed. They source a lot of ingredients from the area so the bread is from a baker round the corner, the steak comes from The Ginger Pig butcher. A lot of people went for the steak while two of us got the liver. All the food was excellent, very well prepared and presented.
The wine list covered everything you would need, we asked our waitress to suggest a bottle which she did and she was spot on with it. Deserts were equally tasty, a real treat for the taste-buds. A single malt whiskey to end the evening and we all left very happy and having had a great evening.
This is must for outta towners. Very welcome and friendly bar in the heart of Soho! Large selection of libations, and some good wine! Place gets crowded, but the people are nice so rubbing elbows wasn't an issue. The music was a key part of this joint, they played it all and it was good!
Like a comfy shoe or that familiar icon coming into London, the Duke of Wellington is one of those places that you just know and go to. It's comfortable, it's nice, it's probably the only tradtional looking gay bar that doesn't cater for a particular scene or possess an in-built attitude.
The drinks are well priced and well stocked, the bar area is spacious and the upstairs is like some plush area that is warm, welcoming and best of all, hardly ever busy!
Great place to hang out after a busy day of work!
Good, efficient bartenders. Good place to meet friends for a night out
I like this bar. Friendly crowd and in the middle of the action in Soho. In the warm months the sidewalk scene is best and crowds larger, especially on weekends. Whenever I'm in London this is the first place I stop in for a beer.
Good place for a beer with family.
Is quieter upstairs and there's more gay gals rather than boys on the pull.
One thing to remember, they only take cash upstairs so have some poundage on you.
Always rammed during Pride. Usually end up standing outside and soaking up the atmosphere.
When visiting London with a friend in April 2009, we visited The Duke of Wellington, as it was on a list that we had compiled of gay friendly pubs.
The place has a decent atmosphere. I enjoyed the decor, especially the spiral staircase--just mind your step, more so after you've had a few.
I visited several times, during mellow and busy times. It was nice to take advantage of the free wifi during the slower afternoon hours. It was pretty lively the Friday night that we went. There are a couple of older drag queens that are pretty friendly and welcoming.
Being younger, I have to keep my guard up most of the time, but I felt very comfortable in this pub. I got the usual wandering eyes, but nothing disconcerting. Overall, a decent looking crowd when I was there, as well.
I was a bit disappointed with the beer selection, but a good pint of Guinness is always pleasant.
I'd recommend this pub to anyone looking for a good, casual time in Soho, after a show, or for a pint with friends.
While the recent refit has made some parts of this pub look a bit like a tart's boudoir (especially upstairs), it's still a welcome old-school boozer in the heart of Soho and refreshingly untrendy compared to the beautiful people bars to be found all around. Very recognisably a gay bar (Kylie and Madonna are duly present on the video screens), it's none-the-less a nice chilled out venue to hang out with mates, just pop in for a quick pint after work on the way home, or a quick pint before a show in nearby Theatreland. Can get a bit crowded downstairs at times, but that's why the refit that opened up the upstairs space was so welcome. They also do very good value for money cocktails at the downstairs bar but you can be waiting a while if you order one! Be warned if you like a cheeky ciggie - there's not much in the way of facilities for smokers (the pavement outside, with no awning).
I've always found it quite pleasant here. Drinks are good, clientèle are friendly and of the older, bear-like persuasion. It's nice.
It has been several months since my trip to London, but I still find myself thinking about this pub, and it's sister pub on Old Compton . Both are excellent friendly places for a drink. The Welly is great for those days when a suit was required for other events. Always found many others at the pub. The staff at the Welly is friendly, if you are, and professional. Always greated with a simel and a welcome. Looking forward to my return trip soon.
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