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Duke of Devonshire, Balham

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user reviews of the Duke of Devonshire, Balham

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

pub and decor is pretty good,but when you are charged just under £25 for 3 large jack daniels and a dash of coke (i asked for dashes cos i didnt want to drown them) I said "how much" nice northern barmaid (possibly a geordie) replied its the brewery that sets the prices,i said to her £11 in any wetherspoons.everyday i see great pubs newly boarded up.would never use this pub again
greatpint - 28 Apr 2012 20:30
what a shame. what were they thinking of when they came up with this re-design of a classic London pub.
bristolbeerboy - 9 Apr 2008 15:18
I popped in here last night. I used to like this place, it was a nice pub. It's now been done up and "Balham-ised." Balham is fast becoming an extension to Clapham and attracting all the trendies who spend spend spend on their credit cards.

Looking at the wine list, there was hardly a bottle under £20. Needless to say, we walked straight out as soon as we had walked in. Shame
theadz01 - 9 Apr 2008 10:21
p.s. Is there anyway that this site can split off the scores this pub used to have from the ones it gets now? I have a feeling that it's currently reasonably high scores are left over from before the refurb and so are artificially high. Plus I really would like to see if a pub can manage to score lower than the Moon Under the Water...maybe thats what Young's were aiming for?
theoneandonlyjoe - 7 Apr 2008 13:57
Oh and by the way, I too am not a 50 year old cask ale drinker. I'm 30 and spent many happy years in my twenties drinking in the Duke. My complaints are not that of a stuffy out of touch old man. They are the opinions of someone with taste and respect for what had been there for a long time before.
mannion - 14 Mar 2008 13:18
Noodle65 I think you should step inside and have a look. I too thought that the Duke could do with a little re-furb. I thought the old carpet was a bit nasty, the large area at the back could've had some more comfortable furniture to lounge in on a sunday afternoon, the toilets could've been improved and a better food menu would've been nice. It's true that the competition from newer pubs like The Clarence and The Bowls club, as well as the newish licencing laws which keep them open late, have meant that The Duke has struggled since it's hey day when it was packed every weekend with crowds drinking and dancing till late. But what they've done to it surely isn't the answer. The general decor didn't need changing. The low tables with candles were really nice and in keeping with the atmosphere. The pictures on the wall interesting and unintrusive. The new high tables and upright stools and booths are ugly, uncomfortable and make the place look smaller and more cluttered. They'll never get back the crowds that used to dance there as there's no room to dance anywhere now. The art on the walls, the ridiculous lamp shades and the bizzare food serving chandeliers look like a designer with no taste and no idea of what the pub should be.
Why on earth strip away the greenery from Balham's only large green garden?
Why create a restaurant (with prices to match) when Balham is already blessed with many good restaurants. Gastro pubs are great but a gastro pub should offer good food at reasonable prices served in pub surroundings. Not overblown service and prices and the segregation of the drinkers from the eaters. That's the key to their success.
I'm sorry to go on about it, but I had high hopes for the re-furb thinking that one of Balham's finest pubs may return to it's former glory but instead I feel it's been laid to rest and replaced with something ugly, vulgar and embarrassing. I just hope that one day it will be stripped back and reborn.


mannion - 14 Mar 2008 13:03
A huge improvement. Excellent pint of Youngs last night. Buzzing and full of happy punters. Maybe trying a bit hard with the decor and potentially a little pretentious but:: Very sympathetic refurb and will continue to be extremely busy.
Pat - 13 Mar 2008 11:56
Having never posted any sort of review before, I can't help by comment after reading the previous postings - you have definately brightened up my boring Wednesday.

First, I better state that I a. don't work for any pubs in Balham and b. havn't been drinking in the 'Duke', 'Devo', 'Snugglededukeywooks' - or whatever you want to nickname it - for 20 million years...

I have however, during my trips to the DofD enjoyed a fair few Sunday roasts, spent numerous summer afternoons in the beer garden and been extremely drunk of a Saturday evening as the winter nights draw in.

My experience of the pub during these times has been:
Inside it was a run down, ugly, slightly seedy sh**hole which seemed to attract every freak and loon from the surrounding area to its Saturday night 'disco'. I was particularly incredulous at the horrific car crash of Halloween or Christmas decorations they used to put up at the relevant time of year. Face it - it was pretty crap.

Thats said, it was a laugh if you were pissed, the Sunday roast was decent (better than the Bedford I'd say) and in the summer, the true 'raison d'etre' of the pub came alive - the beer garden. Its brilliant, and buzzing when the weather is good.

So, like most things in life - there were good points and bad points.

Now, I must be honest - I have NOT YET been in the newly refurbished DoD, but as I was walking past last night, thought it looked to be an improvement on the dour surroundings that were there before. I cannot comment on the staff, service etc etc

But lets address the obvious - with the popularity of places like The Clarence (constantly busy) just across the road and competition such as Balham Bowls Club, The Exhibit, Harrisons, The George within a stones throw, the DoD HAD to do something...
Breweries don't spend money refurbishing for the sake of it. They must be worried about profits slumping, or losing their market share.

The truth of the matter is that Balham is changing (Starbucks, Pizza Express, over-priced 'boutique-style' and antique homewares shops). Its not the down to earth little community it once was.

So you better accept it and embrace it, or get out.


nooodle65 - 12 Mar 2008 13:53
wow - this place has stirred the passions. My view - another Youngs refurb with some good points but many negetives too. This feminized boudoir is completely inappropriate for this location and the pubs former clientele. Now it resembles a Parisian bar circa '79 and I like it for that. I find some of the schizo-retro styling are queasily distracting but at least they sorted out the bogs. Sadly the refurb did not include the other tired remnants as staff and service are poorer for the changes.
mooky - 12 Mar 2008 09:09
Sophie - what a pleasure it is to be insulted by a halfwit like yourself.

Bit of advice though: If you're going to insult someone, spell their name properly. I mean, the spelling was even there for you at the end of my post. DUH!!!
psychonaut - 11 Mar 2008 16:29
I popped into the Devonshire yesterday. I'd give Youngs 8 out of 10 for the refurb. The place has a good chance to be a success. It will be interesting to see what happens.
rockd1509 - 11 Mar 2008 00:33
Phsyconaut...you are just as sad as your name. get a life loser
sophiebeckw - 10 Mar 2008 15:36
"learn to like it" - Sophie, you've obviously not been in town long...

After about a minute of crossing the threshold, a song by Tammy Wynette sprang to mind for me: D-I-V-O-R-C-E. Like others, I found it very overbearing to have someone pounce on me when I walked in. I thought I was on "This Is Your Life"!

Glad you liked the ladies, Sophie. Kept me guessing for a nanosecond as, like a lot of blokes on here, I sussed out a bit of tired double entendre.

RIP Duke of Devonshire. We had good times together.
psychonaut - 8 Mar 2008 02:52
after dinner last night, I popped in to see what the fuss was all about (see previous potings) Although a complete transformation - not at all offensive. In fact I really liked it - especially the ladies'!!! (bet thats got you guys all guessing!) OK so I am a girl in my late 20s and not a 50 something cask ale drinker but surely this is an improvement on what was a tired boozer. People need to move with the times. Give the place a chance...you might learn to like it.
sophiebeckw - 6 Mar 2008 19:25
ianfreeman - calling people "CAMRA-style anoraks" for being upset with the developments at this pub is not only logically flawed and insults those who held the old pub in their affections, it also displays a lack of understanding of those interested in preserving pub heritage.

"Smartened up" is all fine - it was looking tired - but it can be done sympathetically and with taste. Being accosted and interrogated as you enter is both out of kilter with the ethos of being a 'pub' and also tarnishes that "good time" that apparently alluded you apparently during the 20 years you were a regular at the D.O.D.

Young’s (Wells) are rapidly gaining a reputation for distain towards anyone who doesn’t want to eat dramatically overpriced Brakes Bros style food, a disregard for the clientele who have thus so far kept them is business, and a penchant for pointlessly “funky furniture”.

Planner_21 - 6 Mar 2008 13:00
Sorry - meant to say I don't work for 'any' bar or pub.
ianfreeman - 3 Mar 2008 16:47
Benjo1, no I don't work for another bar. I'm just a local who's been going to the Devo (as many of us call it) for over 20 years and am happy to see the old place smartened up. Although I'm in my late 50s, I'm no fan of scruffy pubs - sorry if the new refurb offends, but the majority of us are not CAMRA-style anoraks, just people looking for a good time in pleasant surroundings.
ianfreeman - 3 Mar 2008 16:46
Trust me if I hadn't been so gutted, and I was devastated that the icon had been destroyed, I wouldn't have registered. I'm sorry that you assume that I must work for a rival bar to criticise the Duke. I assure you that I don't, and the fact that you (who I assume works at the Devonshire) thinks that I do shows a frihtening lack of insight. Bring back the old Duke!!
Benjo1 - 3 Mar 2008 16:06
Choller21, it wasn't actually you I had in mind with my comment - I should have made that clear, so apologies.
ianfreeman - 3 Mar 2008 15:44
I registered because though I may come to this site for ideas about where to go I don't feel strongly enough about anything to go through the rigmarole of registering.
After my visit to The Duke of Devonshire however I did feel strongly enough. I can't speak for the other reviewers but that's why I registered yesterday. You may find in the coming weeks that there are more. The refurb was so bad, it got even me off my arse to write my complaint/eulogy. The lovely pub that I drank in for ten years has gone.
I may be wrong and it will be a great success. But it will do so, sir, without my custom.
Choller21 - 3 Mar 2008 15:38
Odd how "all these" naysaying posters registered on the site yesterday or today. I think it's all a bit obvious which other Balham pub(s) they are favouring!
ianfreeman - 3 Mar 2008 15:20
I can only assume that the person who claims that the refurbishment of this once fantastic establishment is "sympathetic" should get themselves down Specsavers. Like several of the reviewers below I was concerned that the refurbishment was happening at all. The Duke is one of the few longstanding pubs left in Balham, and a place where you could either while away a day with friends or enjoy a few evening beers. No longer.

As concerned as I was about the refurbishment I was utterly stunned to see the absolute carnage that had been wrought on a Balham icon. The interior design, looked like a nouveau riche lottery winner's nightmare. For those of you that didn't have the pleasure of the unruined Duke, it is an old pub with many beautiful period features. I can only imagine that the person who thought that tacky chandeliers and 1,000 lights down one of the walls was the way to pick out these beautiful features has spent some time in a loony bin. To call it vulgar and crass is a vast understatement. Within 10 minutes of being in the pub I started to feel nauseous.

Rant 2 - as a previous person commented, the Duke has clearly decided to sweep all of its previous patrons under the carpet. I certainly have nothing against gastropubs, but the Duke now appears to think it is a restaurant and because I wasn't eating the ever lurking "Devonshire Crew" staff made me feel like I was some sort of leper. Not that I'm sure anyone would want to part with so much money for a pub meal. If you are talking those sort of prices there are plenty of good restaurants in the area. So basically its people who want a few drinks with their friends out, and the nappy valley crowd with 2 year old Tristan and four year Hugo in tow in. A word to the wise Youngs (and I know this will provoke screams of outrage from some quarters), but small children have no place in a pub, and pandering to this set will see your pub out of business in no time.

So to summarise, for shame Youngs. You have taken one of the best pubs in south London, and turned it into a vile, tackily decorated disgrace. If there is ever a case for old pubs to become listed buildings then surely this is it. I am genuinely saddened by this, and it gives me absolutely no pleasure in writing this review. So to anyone who thinks that they may pop down there for a quiet drink or two? My advice is avoid it like the plague. It has gone from the best boozer in Balham to a place vying with the Moon Under Water for bottom spot.
Benjo1 - 3 Mar 2008 13:33
The Duke of Devonshire was once one of my favourite pubs in Balham – “was” being the operative word. I was unfortunate enough to go there yesterday to check out what they’d done to the place and my heart sank. It didn’t sink just a little bit but right through my boots, then down through the swimming pool changing room-style tiles now adorning the once traditional floor.

I was slightly concerned when I first heard they were planning a refurb as the Duke of Devonshire (I refuse to call it by its new name on principle) has long been one of my favourite pubs in Balham. While the tendency for other drinking establishments in the area has been towards the trendy and modern in recent years, the Duke always stood out as a good old boozer, somewhere relaxed and chilled out to while away the hours your mates.

If the aim of the refurb was to completely alienate its long-standing patrons and ruin one of the only true “pub” pubs in Balham, then 10 out of 10 to the designers as that’s exactly what they’ve done. I’m teetering on the edge of saying I’d rather go to the Moon Under Water than set foot in there again, and anyone who knows the pubs in Balham will understand just how bad that makes it.

As soon as we walked in the door we were pounced on by one of the “Devonshire Crew”, territorially guarding what used to be the open passageway down the side of the bar, demanding to know if we intended on eating and whether we had a booking. The last time I looked the Duke of Devonshire was a pub and, if I’m not much mistaken, pubs are made for drinking in. I don’t usually make a reservation when I pop into a pub for a drink and I certainly don’t expect to be apprehended and interrogated upon arrival. Apart from making me want to walk out straight away it meant I was unable to fully take in the horror of what my poor eyes were seeing. Come to think of it, maybe this was a tactical move on their part: cover up the fact they’ve utterly messed up by not allowing patrons to get a foot in the door.

So what have they ultimately done that makes the place so awful? I have no idea where to even begin. The wallpaper (that looks like New Covent Garden flower market was sick on it) would make even Lawrence Llewelyn-Bowen blush; the flying saucer-style lights and centerpiece chandelier are an unwitting nod to the horror of late 70s/early 80s interior design (don’t even get me started on the chandeliers over the hot plate – did they think the glare of the 50 identical lights on one wall wouldn’t provide enough unnatural light?); the constant human roadblock and battle of wills as you attempt to move freely through the pub while “The Crew” try to seat you and force £14 main courses down your neck; the utter destruction of the garden (why why why why WHY would you hack down all the beautiful greenery and overfill the space with bargain basement garden furniture?)... I could go on but it’s making me too angry.

Essentially, the main problem it that the Duke wasn’t broken and they certainly ain’t fixed it. According to their new website, “this wonderful example of a proper Victorian pub with etched glass and an imposing front has been part of Young's since 1853 - but can be traced back as far as the 18th century". If a pub has a history like this, don’t mess with it, all it needed was a bit of a tidy up. Yes, it still has some of the etched glass and a few original features, but now they’re surrounded by stainless steel everything and more bulbs than the John Lewis lighting department, it just looks cheap. The entire place is one big eyesore which is exactly what my eyes would be had I followed my initial instinct of sticking pins in them when I saw the devastation.

The Duke of Devonshire clearly has no idea what it is trying to be now and even seems to be failing at this. Having been informed by one of the security guards – sorry – Devonshire Crew that we could only eat from the Mothers Day menu (the prices of which made a night at Le Gavroche seem cheap) we decided to head to the Clarence for lunch. I managed to ignore the overwhelming urge to knock over the display of over-sized glasses and champagne buckets (why?) on the way but I can’t promise it won’t happen again.

I, for one, will never be going back to Duke of Devonshire and I’d advise anyone who knew and loved it in its former glory days to do the same. The refurb has been a complete shambles and totally ruined what was once the finest pub around. Big mistake. HUGE.

Cunnion - 3 Mar 2008 11:25
I agree with the previous review. My heart broke when I went in to see what they've done to my favourite pub. I stood there, mouth agape, and nearly cried. How could they ruin a lovely Victorian boozer with this terrible redesign. The staff now all have t-shirts emblazoned with the words "The Devonshire Crew" which just about sums it all up. How could the take down the old panelling and remove the mirrors and glass? Nothing fits anymore. I knew this would happen as soon as the refurb was mentioned.

And why change the name of the Duke of Debvonshire to The Devonshire?
a) It's unlucky to change the name (I shouldn't wonder if it falls down in two weeks, the structure weakened by the terrible kitchen.
b) The name they've changed it to is so close the original there seems little point.
c) Balham people have always called this pub the D.O.D. now what are they going to call it?

Whoever built this pub must be turning in his grave. If I was dead I would be too.
I doubt I shall go here ever again unless it is to show my friends how not to refurbish a pub.
*sobs*
Choller21 - 3 Mar 2008 09:25
I don't know where to begin describing how much I dislike the refurb of this once great pub is. The Duke of Devonshire (now simply called the Devonshire, as if it's trying to shed some of its history and tradition) used to be a great example of an old gin palace. It was a proper pub where you were guaranteed to get a seat and could feel comfortable relaxing in day or night, inside or outside in its great beer garden. I'm not sure I'll ever step foot in it again now that it's been redesigned by someone who probably failed his exams at the ikea design school. They've tried to keep some of the old features (which is a good thing) but have made them look out of place by contrasting them with terrible modern features. The giant hanging lampshades look cheap and ugly, likewise the furniture. The booths and the high tables and stools succeed only in providing a less comfortable environment which looks smaller and more cluttered. What was wrong with the nice old tables tastefully decorated with candles providing an intimate atmospheric feel? The enormous paintings on the walls inside and out in the garden are terrible and look like the work of a GCSE student who's been given the task of recreating a classic on the cheap. The long row of wine glasses and champagne buckets as you walk through look like they're there to impress it's customers but just look poncey. The nice old wooden bar has been replaced with a narrow metal bar. The new kitchen and food serving area is one of the strangest things I've ever seen, containing miniature chandeliers and being so high that they obscure the view of the blackboards advertising the food. The food is overpriced. The mothers day menu they were offering when I visited was 13.50 for one course. It might be good, I wouldn't know because I didn't stay long enough to find out. If you're charging that much for pub food you'd better be providing something pretty special. For a few pounds more you could get Michelin starred food at Chez Bruce, a short walk away. This is meant to be pub isn't it? It doesn't need so many staff in uniforms waiting to greet you and show you to a table and push their menu. This would be fine in a restaurant but the Devonshire is not a restaurant. At least it never used to be. I'm not sure what it is now.
The garden used to be green and inviting and the only good beer garden in Balham. But for some reason they've stripped away most of the greenery and added more of the cheap looking furniture. And now you have to walk through the new restaurant area to get to it and be accosted by over keen staff trying to seat you which just makes you feel like you're not allowed to walk through.
The wallpaper and the wall full of lamps look like an embarrassing attempt to recreate the trendy vibe of the Clarence over the road. But the Clarence understands it's customers, whereas the Devonshire seems hopelessly adrift, unable to understand where all the customers who used to pack the place out a couple of years ago have gone.
I don't understand how they can have got it all so wrong. All they needed to do to the Devonshire was remove the old worn out carpet and restore the floorboards, maybe get a couple of old sofas near the fire and a new chef and menu that raised the standards but remained under ten pounds per course.
I hope it fails and is forced to rethink things because it's a dark day for Balham now that the Duke is gone.


mannion - 2 Mar 2008 22:39
Went to the preview of the new Devonshire last night. Absolutely superb! A really sympathetic refurbishment that has kept all the really nice elements of the old pub. I defy anyone not to like it - well done Youngs.
ianfreeman - 29 Feb 2008 10:36
The refurb is happening now. Reopening is the first week of March.
ianfreeman - 21 Feb 2008 12:51
Does anyone know when the refurb is due to be done?
theoneandonlyjoe - 14 Feb 2008 13:28
I'm all for refurbs but unfortunately Young's don't have agood track record. So here's hoping they do.
rockd1509 - 4 Feb 2008 23:38
It depends what you mean by "doing the place up", Mr Altoplanato !
JohnBonser - 29 Jan 2008 13:37
It's understandable you hope Young's don't mess up the pub with a refurb, I love a proper pub as much as anyone, but if the pub had more customers then maybe it wouldn't need a refurbishment in the first place. It's a tired looking boozer in a time when pubs are emptier and emptier - you can't blame Young's for wanting to bring more customers in by doing the place up.
altoplatano - 28 Jan 2008 23:17
I agree with John Bonser. I hope that Young's do a tasteful refurb and don't mess up.
rockd1509 - 23 Jan 2008 20:49
Closure date is 7 January - Youngs are spending £ 500k on the refurbishment - oh dear !
JohnBonser - 19 Dec 2007 12:41
This is great pub, but apparently the refit will mean that most of it is going to be a restaurant- which doesn't seem like a good idea its not exactly renowned for its food at the mo. Much better to keep this place as a proper boozer!
EllyE - 11 Dec 2007 14:39
Waiting for Young's to ruin this pub with their refurbishment.
anonymous - 30 Aug 2007 13:03

Huge, without soul or spirit, a boozer's boozer in all senses with an ample garden out back too.

Whenever I go in there I half expect to see Vinnie Jones or Bob Hoskins behind the bar and the present landlord isn't far off. If the Mitchell Brothers from Eastenders ever opened a pub in Sarf London - this would be the one they'd 'ave.
asnootyfox - 23 Aug 2007 22:28
Very pleased that youngs have agreed to a 1/2 mill refurb of this great pub.

It will be the best pub in SW12 & all over South London
mikegooch - 22 Jul 2007 17:55
Fine big old-fashioned Youngs boozer. great beer, great decor and a nice beer garden. Didn't try the food though. What a pub should be like.
TheBeerMonkey - 11 Jun 2007 15:49
I always like it in here. One of my regulars in Balham. It is fairly big, which is good if you are going with a few people, loads of seats! The bar staff are good, as are the range of drinks. Nothing amazingly special, just a nice decent pub.
theadz01 - 30 May 2007 16:50
Blimey, it isn’t that good. It is a larger than average Young’s pub, nothing more nothing less. It was a bit of a free for all on the Saturday night I was in there and would prefer the slightly more refined Clarence as my Balham venue of choice.

DoD is alright, but not much more than that.

AleKing - 24 May 2007 16:49
Once again, my visit to the "Duke" has been a very enjoyable time.
The staff are very attentive and provide a very good service.
The music selection on Friday & Saturday nights is great and sets up a good party atmosphere.
The Bombardier is the best I have tasted, and is kept in first class condition.

mikegooch - 20 May 2007 10:49
Pleasantly surprised by this pub where we spent a very enjoyable sunday afternoon. Nice atmosphere, but a bit pricey.
Oolybel - 14 May 2007 11:10
Back at the Duke today - prices of food astronomical for what you get. If you want decent food nip across to The Clarence across the road.
ONscotland - 13 May 2007 21:37
There is no way the Duke would ever close. It is one of the most profitable pubs on Youngs estate.
anonymous - 5 May 2007 12:45
Nice pub, very large and a big garden at the back. The bar staff are mostly good. Downsides include the food, which is overpriced and terrible, and the drinks are expensive too.

The quiz on Monday is good, but on week nights it can be practically empty.

I have heard that it's going to close down and reopen as an Italian restaurant - just what Balham needs another of! That would be a shame.
shrops14 - 10 Apr 2007 14:11
I was very upset to read the last posting stating that she had not been happy with Barry at the Devonshire. As a women customer, I must say that he will be a great loss to the pub and the community if he leaves. His presence I find very welcoming and managment of his staff to be exceptional.
mitzi - 20 Mar 2007 19:37
It has been heard through the grapevine that the manager at the Duke is on his way out, and I must say that this is very welcome news, as I have never met anyone so arrogant and rude in my life. I have been coming to the Duke for years as it is an absolutely wonderful pub, but as a lady(and I expect a little bit of decency), every encounter I have had with Barry Thomas has been an unfortunate one. If it wasnt for the friendly staff and lovely features of the Duke I would have never returned, I actually know of people who refuse to go there because of the manager.
anonymous - 13 Mar 2007 12:52
Yes, it would be a sad day if Barry left this pub.
He has made this pub into the best all ages can come to and have a drink, bite to eat and a good time.
He has employed good staff how care for his customers. We need this to continue for the good of the community. Good work Barry.
mikegooch - 20 Feb 2007 19:09
It'll be a sad day when Barry, the manager, leaves, as he is planning to do shortly. Youngs must be mad to let him go - the place will go to bits without him.
anonymous - 15 Feb 2007 14:18
Did I see sparklers being used in this pub??!!!!

Fridge a bit too cold.
mitomighty - 6 Feb 2007 10:52
I've always enjoyed coming here for a drink, especially for a pre-dinner drink before going to the excellent Ciullios (sp?) next door. Good selection of beers, huge bar area, and never have to wait long to get served. Also, I had a really nice roast dinner in here on Sunday. We didnt get there until 3:45 so unfortunately they had run out of Chicken and Beef, but i had pork and my partner had the vegetarian nut roast and it was very good and reasonably priced. Plus they were playing an excellent selection of 80's/early 90's music!
pejpm - 5 Feb 2007 10:53
Perhaps my favourite pub in London. Beautiful Victorian grandeur. Great mirrors and wonderful lighting. Great day or night.
lucasmaybe - 7 Dec 2006 16:51
This is the best pub in this area. It suffers from serving Bombawhasit. Basically, there is a good atmosphere in here and they DO have a decent bottle selection. I didn't see a fourth ale on which a pub this size should have. Good mirrors and woodwork.
mitomighty - 10 Nov 2006 22:30
Just across the road from The Clarence, and used to serve as a back up when The Clarence was too busy. Always had a great time, there's a good range of beers and a vibrant mix of people. I used to use it as a substitute for The Clarence because on the last few trips to Balham I have come straight here instead, although that should not be taken as a reflection of The Clarence.
ONscotland - 26 Oct 2006 17:42
Enjoyable pub - late licence with pub prices and good vibe. Bottles of Young's beers for the discerning, spirits for the ladies and dull nitrokeg lagers for everyone else! Good music choice, nice lights!
the_facilitator - 1 Oct 2006 01:54
A jolly nice splash in a jolly nice Victorian (?)pub.
They had bott;es of Oatmeal Stout there for sale. I haven't seen that in any other Young's pubs around.
mitomighty - 14 Sep 2006 13:15
Excellent pub.
Just what I have been looking for years.
Good selection of beers and well presented.
Food to die for, compliments to the chef.
Weekend evenings till late worth a night out.
Staff ensure that you enjoy your visit.
Highly recommend this pub.
mikegooch - 18 Jul 2006 20:31
Booze fine usual solid Youngs selection, food average. At it's best in the garden in the summer. Every now and then it really goes off on a weekend and when it does its worth being there, i've had some absolutely belting nights over the years and as a bonus its a pretty good shout for the old last ditch 1.50am drag back.
UncleJesse - 11 Jul 2006 12:37
Top boozer. Good beer and food, moreover good table footy! laid back bar staff who had no qualms about my brother and I getting well oiled whilst utilizing said footy and everyones favorite pig skin, the arrows board!
JockStrap - 31 May 2006 08:58
Great pub, I think the fairy lights suck big time aswell. Whacking the prices up after time is just naughty. But i like it. Seriously, its by far the best gay pub in Balham, except the Clarence. Lilly Savage would feel well at home in either of these two boozers, and I've asked her.
anonymous - 11 May 2006 01:13
Still a very good pub, despite the oversized-shade-wearing clientele. The bar staff seem to be a bit more on the ball than they were a few years ago and it's good for sitting at the bar having a quiet pint or a weekend night out. I used to love the way the back room was normally set up like a nursery with kids' toys and stuff, then on a weekend evening it would be transformed into a really dodgy disco whose raison d'etre was to ensure as few people went home alone as possible. However, a big plus now is the 'no kids' rule. The garden and back room used to be full of them in the summer before the refurb a year or 2 ago.
im_johnny_cash - 23 Mar 2006 09:36
Great pub, especially in the summer with it's beer garden.

Food isn't up to much and the fairy lights are weird.
anonymous - 22 Feb 2006 13:36
Great place if youve got the cash. Fantastic beer garden in the summer.
oldelondonmerchant - 12 Feb 2006 21:07
Bit of an old man's place with some scary locals in it, though on the plus side it's got a late license, so shouldn't be written off! Great sunday roasts...
lwk198 - 25 Sep 2005 22:09
not bad but now patronised by a larger proportion of yuppies who can't afford Clapham.

but £3 for a cooking lager is a bit rich. large tables to the rear are a boon for larger groups.
evers - 29 Aug 2005 15:49
This used to be a serious drinking den back in the 70's and, despite the inevitable alterations, is still a fine pub with much original etched glasswork to admire. Beer on good form and pub seemed to be efficiently run. One question that puzzles me - the pub has an extended licence until 2pm on Friday and Saturday, why then aren't people allowed to come in after 11pm ?
JohnBonser - 18 Jul 2005 13:54
Lovely beergarden on a summer afternoon but check the mintleaves in your jug of pimms as they are likely to have insect eggs growing on them... According to manager Barry; they are dead love, zapped them in the microwave you're not getting your free jug'.. after spending over £100 in afternoon my health was of more concern I'm afraid.

Lovely staff shame about the rude patronizing Manager!!
anonymous - 19 Jun 2005 16:39
Is well pricey but is a good atmosphere. The Youngs beers on offer are a bit dodgey so stick to the usual brands. If your going there for a night take plenty of cash with you but you'll have a good laugh!
Ross Smudger - 6 Oct 2004 13:37
my favourite south london pub by far. A 'proper' boozer, with a mixed clientele.
crawford - 29 Sep 2004 11:31
The bar, I gather, will no longer remain open after 11pm on a Monday and Tuesday - so let's hope that'll be reflected in the prices, eh?
Jez - 6 Sep 2004 16:44
nice pub, good golf game, but bloody expensive
old_empire - 10 Aug 2004 15:41
The beer garden is outstanding for a London pub and a great place to go on a sunny afternoon. Just great

Martin - 6 Aug 2004 14:54
Yes, the prices aren't exactly budget, and yes, the food ain't all that, but a) you are in London and b) why spend your whole night in the pub when you have Dish Dash down the road, Salamanders next door, Nanglos opposite...? Eat in one of Balham's (many) top restaurants and then go down the boozer afterwards!
Its a great pub with nice staff, a sense of humour (the staff on halloween are a sight and a half), a bit of a fetish for twinkly lights, a late licence.... Oh, and the best pub garden you'll find inside the M25 (and it beats most outside).
Charlotte - 14 Jun 2004 18:30
lovely pub I agree, but a bit on the expensive side. EWent in yesterday for a drink, and almost died of shock when the round for a pint of fosters and a coke came £4.70. But then youngs pubs have always been expensive for larger. Quality golf game mind you.
richard - 11 May 2004 11:58
This is a great pub and really welcome in comparison to the dingy towny pubs and faux trendy bars in the rest of balham/clapham. The inside is grand and sweeping, the decor very interesting, the staff friendly and the beer decent. It does get really busy on the weekend though and they never seem to have enough staff on.
Go at Christmas when they go overboard on the fairy lights and decorations - its really lovely. The room out back is great for when you want to stay out later than closing. The food isn't really worth bothering with other than for drunken sustenance.
Best pub in Balham by a long, long distance.
fingers_malone - 5 May 2004 06:39
Well, I still like this place. The food has always been good to me, and still is, and I'm glad the stinky back room has gone. I'd disagree with the hooray henrys comment - can go for a quiet drink with my mates, but be just as happy taking my mum and dad there for sunday lunch.
Claire - 28 Apr 2004 16:26
This used to be my all time fave pub, but reading the comments it seems to have gone down hill. Was in there a week ago and still had fun, but then i just concentrated on my drinking and having fun with my mates.... 8/10
magic - 7 Apr 2004 17:18
The boozer at the end of my road, utterly ruined by conversion to 'wine bar' to attract the hooray henrys from Clapham. Well done, you've got them, but they're a fickle bunch - look what happened to the Puzzle, once the home of all things Hockey-Sticks...
Mildly annoyed of Balham - 7 Apr 2004 15:35
The Duke has gone downhill in recent years and now you have to queue if you want to go in after 9.30 at night. They obviously have some kind of licence that limits the numbers inside. Uncle Peter and Uncle Jeremy have stopped going here because they say it isn't very good any more. I'm very good.
robert - 5 Apr 2004 14:13
Well went to the Duke a couple of weeks ago on a Sunday with my partner, I had a Sunday roast and he had something else. I have eaten a couple of times at the Duke of Devonshire and the only thing I can see was the food was disgusting, the food was cold and was definitely not value for money. From what I understand they have a new cook. Well they need to sack the cook and reinstate (Lynda) Also I spoke to some other friends who have been and they also have said how vile they have found the food.


Den - 8 Mar 2004 11:09
Is it me, or is the Dev becoming a gay pub now - nothing against that, just not my scene... used to be the best 'proper' boozer in Balham by some distance.
andy - 23 Feb 2004 01:16
God, I remember this pub being great. They used to have a back room that stayed open til 2am. All gone now, though. Some bright spark decided to make it look and feel like every other pub in the country. Nice move, Einstein.

Rubbish.
Slipperduke - 16 Feb 2004 15:59
Dreadful. My partner and I travelled for one hour fifteen minutes to this pub to meet some friends for a birthday party. Bouncers were blocking the entrance and admitting one in, one out. The pub was not really very busy at all. After 20 minutes we were told we could not enter at all, despite more people leaving. We were forced to simply return home to north London. Why do we need bouncers on second rate pubs in south London?
anthony - 10 Jan 2004 23:53
really bad stella on tap, and has been for years.
why?
fang - 19 Dec 2003 11:31
IT WAS A GREAT PLACE TO HAVE A NIGHT OUT, AFTER ITS REFURBISHMENT THE DUKE LOST HIS CHARM, IMPOLITE STAFF AND POOR QUALITY DRINKS MADE ME CHANGE MY MIND AND GO TO OTHER PLACES IN BALHAM LIKE THE BEDFORD, THE EXHIBIT AND DISH DASH... CHECK IT OUT YOURSELF...X
JAY - 28 Nov 2003 00:23
Used to be absolutely brilliant, despite the awful Stella on tap. Lost some of it's magic since recent refurbishment, with the small back bar now knocked through and resembling a Beefeater. Still, service is fast, and always seem to have a laugh there. Just a shame they had to tamper with something that wasn't broken. Oh yeah, the prices are absolutely extortionate, even for "New" Balham.
Andy - 18 Nov 2003 21:55
great pub, no footy, table footie is back, they've gone mad on xmas decorations too
oliver - 17 Nov 2003 13:10
This really is the best pub in the area. The food is great, the staff are really friendly, the atmosphere is great and it's open late at the weekend. Oh, and the beer garden is lovely after the refurbishment.
Claire - 20 Aug 2003 13:51
Great place for a Friday night booze. Can't remember what time I got out of here.
Gary - 24 Jul 2003 09:28
What happened to the table-footie table?!!!
tom - 8 May 2003 15:23
The Devonshire has recently been refurbished and has a slightly 'maturer' vibe than when the late back bar was in full swing. Still London's finest boozer tho'...
Jez - 29 Apr 2003 11:56
Great pub. London feel without being too 'knees up mother brown'. Had most miserable date of my life here, but still love the place. Has a nice seedy little bar 'out back' where they shunt you off to at 11pm if they are explointing some entertainment / late closing law. Well done.
Oliver - 14 Apr 2003 11:09
Best Pub in Balham, Best Pub in London - apart from the food
Smiff - 6 Mar 2003 18:44
Paradise! Please rename the DUKE OF HEAVONSHIRE. It will always have aplace in m heart!
Jules Heasman - 28 Feb 2003 09:18
Definitely the finest pub in Balham! I cannot get enough of the place!
Jon Northfield - 27 Feb 2003 19:24
Nice pub and everything TO says it is, but eat before you go - their pub food is not good. Music selection needs improving.
c - 31 Dec 2002 10:04
Youngs pub, good beer, good atmosphere and friendly clientelle, big, nice beer garden, good crowd, average age 25-35, get served quickly. Back room open until 12.00 each night apart from Friday/Saturday when 2.00am, free to get in. One of the best pubs in Clapham/Balham area.
Toby Offen - 30 May 2002 13:34

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