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Duke of Wellington, Soho

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user reviews of the Duke of Wellington, Soho

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

BAD. the man in the yellow jacket at the entrance was very very rude and did not let me in saying that I wasn't gay! really hurtful to me
roberto1986 - 26 May 2013 01:44
Staff are clearly employed for their looks (or age) rather than brain power. Obnoxious and Rude, One in particular cannot speak or understand a word of English. A 'bear' pub with 'twinks' behind the bar ? I don't get it... It took me over 5 minutes to get this twink to understand that I just wanted ONE PINT OF BEER. He had no idea what I was asking for and even suggested I had asked for a pint of vodka ?!?! One bar twink was clearly on drugs given his disappearance down to the toilets and coming up wiping his nose and sudden energetic burst to clear glasses from around the bar... Beer OK. Staff let this pub down.
Fuller_Beer - 26 Nov 2012 10:53
This has never really been my favorite pub in Soho, but have suffered in silence due to the majority of my circle of friends liking it. I hate it and find the staff for the most part RUDE and OBNOXIOUS. Do not go to this pub unless you like fascists and homophobes. Standing in the corner, minding his own business, my partner was having a good time moving to the music with two blown-up condoms, when the bouncer outside the main door decided it was not acceptable and asked us to leave. We refused asking for a good reason as to what the problem was. None was given, so we demanded to see the manager. Aparentlt the manager was "on a break". After about 10 mins of requesting what the problem was and being threatened with the manager, the bouncer left and we thought that was the end of it. Over an hour and a half later, still minding our own business a member of the bar staff claiming to be the assistant manager came up and said that because of the "trouble" we were causing, we had to leave. Even though there had been no complaints from any other patrons, apparently waving a couple of blown up condoms is an offence. To our abject humiliation, the police were called and we were physically ejected, all because the bouncer did not like a couple of condoms being waved about and the "assistant manager" decided to take the bouncer's word that it was a problem. Never will I go back to thevDuke of Wellington and will advise against anyone going there.
gkay33 - 3 Mar 2012 02:46
Yes,I agree with last comment.

Pub has gone downhill. Barstaff willing to serve till 10.30 then extremely rude security staff almost physically remove you 10 minutes later!
Not only is this aginst the law,it is extremely rude.
Paying customers,which is what we are after all, should vote with their feet and drink elsewhere.
Ringley - 22 Mar 2010 12:52
Not quite sure why this place has so many good reviews, but then I saw how old some the comments are. It's obviously gone downhill a lot since 2008. Although some of the staff are pleasant enough, many aren’t, and the attitude of the security staff once the last orders bell is rung is downright offensive. Beer is average at best. Best avoided - there are plenty of good alternatives very close by.
rarinrob - 18 Mar 2010 15:44
Love this pub.

Always a great place to meet up with friends for an early evening beer or two. Its a gay pub but incredibly straight friendly with lots of middle aged couples popping in on their way to the theatre.

Always jam packed on weekends and most nights its pretty busy.

Staff are efficient and know what they are doing. Usually pretty friendly too.

Has a great upstairs with comfy sofas and much more relaxed atmosphere than downstairs where it can get crowded.

TV Screens play out the latest pop anthems and a few hidden gems. Music can get pretty loud as the evening goes on.

Definately should be on anyones list of pubs in this area to visit.
Essexladjoe - 29 Oct 2008 12:23
First visit since the refurb, have to say it looks a lot better but I was under the impression it was going to be a major refurb..just been mostly redecorated and the service bar rebuilt. Pricey but the same prices in the Admiral Duncan so I reckon this is the TCG (owners) making a mint out of the Pink pound...Comptons was 20p a pint less..
Clivers - 18 Aug 2008 20:53
To be honest doesn't put me up or down, the refurb is overdue and works well, staff are pleasant enough. It still seems pricey to me though.
celt7 - 11 Jun 2008 17:28
I can't see what difference the refurb has made (although my friends think it's a lot better). Staff are friendly, and the bar has a reasonably good selection of beer.

My only gripe is that the outside area is cordoned off at weekends so you're all cooped up like chickens if you want to nip outside for a fag. And you've got to use the dreaded plastic cups for drinking out in the open.

Still, not a bad boozer. One of the top 3.
steve5312 - 11 Jun 2008 14:20
Been visiting this place for several years whenever I'm in town on business but don't think I'll bother any longer. The 'major refurbishment' seems to have also been applied to the drinks prices - and the beer and wine is pretty mediocre too. I've never had a problem with the staff here, although I've heard some horror stories from friends. You can do much better in Soho.
rarinrob - 28 May 2008 11:37
I like other new customers sinse the redec are enjoying this fantastic pub with i might add the very best toilets in London,(don't know what bob the builder is talking about) the staff are without doubt very friendly & fun who create a fab atmosphere, the Duke of Wellington is worth a visit if you can get in, the upstairs bar is truly outstanding....... the management should be congratulated on giving us a very fine pub with tip top quality service "guess where I'm off to now?" can't wait......
sue25 - 16 Apr 2008 18:32
sohodrinker, you can't shift the blame away from the staff for the state this place was in (pre-refurb). If the beer is crap then it's usually because the lines haven't been cleaner or the barrels stored correctly. If the toilets are dirty then someone needs to get down there with a mop. The cubicle in the gents hasn't had a lock on the door for as long as I can remember - that's a £50 job including parts and fitting!

And staff friendliness costs nothing. Look at the Salisbury on St Martin's Lane. That is one of the busiest pubs in the area yet the staff are impeccably professional and friendly, the beer is always good, and the place is kept immaculate.

I'll be interested to see how this place looks after the refurb though. Let's hope staff training comes as part of the regeneration.
steve5312 - 29 Oct 2007 11:50
closed down now for major refurb so its off to the ku bar for the next few reply to some of the comments, i find the manager and the staff to be very friendly and hard working-you try managing two of the busiest pubs in soho and see how you get on.
and as for the state of the place before it shut down, you cant blame the staff for the lack of investment in the building, s&n, spirit and tcg are all to blame for the poor decor and failing furniture.
im looking forward to early december and the reopening for many more fab nights in this place, one of the only really decent places left to drink in soho.
sohodrinker - 22 Oct 2007 13:20
Went in again this weekend; the place was the cleanest I had seen it for many moons. Always get relatively friendly service for the west end. Apparently it is closing in late September for a major refit.
Clivers - 31 Jul 2007 20:15
It's alright. Handy for standing outside and people-watching in the summer, but there's just something about this place that puts me off. I agree with the comments about the staff - they're not exactly the most cheerful bunch I've come across. The interior is craply laid out but the beer is ok. Shame, as we could really do with a decent gay "pub" in Soho.
steve5312 - 18 Jul 2007 18:02
Please please replace the manager, don't we all want a clean safe pub with well kept beer/lager.....
Craig has ruined this place as well....
davidjohnson - 14 Jul 2007 23:02
Was there yesterday, Thursday night. Too busy, music too loud and struggle to get to the bar. Tables, once we got near one, were dirty, ashtrays full and sticky floor. Toilets are pretty nasty too.

I used to love this pub and have fond memories of great nights out, but it has defo gone down hill over the last few years. I keep going back for the odd pint to see if it has improved again but alas...

The beer is pretty poor too - shame
FuzzyKipper - 23 Jun 2007 01:29
I have visited this bar on quite a few occasions over the last few years, the atmosphere is great and the staff are very friendly and always polite and I prefer this bar to many of the more modern bars in the area. Hope the proposed works wont change the traditional atmosphere of the bar too much
Jim43 - 5 May 2007 16:56
bog standard gay pub, friendly efficient service, but suffers from the usual intrusive music and "minute" choice of decent beers and other drinks...
moclips2002 - 20 Apr 2007 22:24
Hey nice to see a posting from the manager. I hope Westminster let you do the refurb, mind you it must be something radical to be rejected so many times and at that cost. Hope it wont just become another so called trendy bar, thats what is nice about the place, a down to earth friendly pub. I for one have always found the staff very friendly and efficient, the place is just let down by the lack of investment by previous owner..S&N then Spirit...
Clivers - 4 Apr 2007 20:16
My name is Craig and I am the General Manager. Firstly can I thank all the nice comments made obviously by nice people. You'll only recieve bad service at the Welly if YOU are rude!
A 500k refurb is planned for this year, yet Westminster keep rejecting our plans, hopefully our last submitted plans only 5wks ago will be approved.
Bags being stolen...sorry but your personal belongings belong to you, we are here to make sure you are safe whilst inside! Yes I can be found drinking in and around Soho because I too have a social life? I also run the Duncan so you may see me in there? As for standards and cleanliness, I run a tight ship and adhere to all current law and legislaton. Its always very difficult to please everybody who walks through our doors but you will notice that we won best bar/pub in Central London thanks to Pink Paper and Gay Times readers for 2006.
craig123 - 27 Mar 2007 22:26
When oh when are TCG (the owners) going to spend some money on this pub. Its crying out for a clean and refit. Popular pub, just an ordinary gay pub that caters for everyone. Great staff and service, most here now are from Comptons... Just let down by the lack of cleanliness and grotty loos..
Clivers - 9 Mar 2007 20:36
Absolutely awful place.

The bar staff are unfriendly and unhelpful. The toilets needs a damn good clean and the beerlines can't be cleaned that regularly.

The clientèle are a strange mix of gay men that feel the need to distance themselves from the obvious homosexual genre connotations of G-A-Y bar, Comptons or the Village, yet cling together like drowning rats on the good ship BITTERNESS.

Full of lackwits. Staff, punters and all.

I'd recommend Comptons, The Yard or The Kings Arms over this retreat for the socially inept.
cramberry - 5 Mar 2007 01:17
Needs a good clean ... upstairs is disgusting - just throw those sofas and chaiors out ... and do somethign about the toilets ... maybe if the management spent a little less time standing in pubs on Old Compton Street and more time putting the pub in order it could get back to what it should be ... hate to say it but this boozer was better when it was straight!
anonymous - 14 Jan 2007 11:14
Spent last night as this pub,had one of the best new years of my life,toilets need decorating but staff and customers so friendly and music was pumping was partying until 3am............
joandscott - 1 Jan 2007 15:18
To sum up the bar - cheap, dirty, old
To sum up the staff - rude meatheads

Went into this bar last night with a mate, as you do - went to use the bathrooms before using the bar and were thrown out by a rude, meathead bouncer that didn't seem to understand the concept of hospitality - who also, as he was throwing us out called us 't*ats'

Should anyone from this bar read this, maybe I should sum up to you what your staff are for? Working in marketing i understand that you really need to preserve your brand in face of all other competition in the area and subjecting your customers to meathead bouncers when they're really doing nothing wrong is.... well wrong! Also, why should I take my drink into your toilets? They're filthy! I'd rather use the bathrooms and THEN get a drink thankyou its marginally more hygenic...

The last time I checked, bouncers were for preserving the peace in a bar, protecting its patrons and their security - get your priorities right and assign your security staff to doing a job such as... oh, maybe stopping peoples bags getting stolen?

Dissatisfied with the place, wouldn't go back again for a drink - then again, from other reviews, it doesn't sound like the place I want to order a pint....

anonymous - 24 Nov 2006 14:12
One of the few "pubs" left in Soho and probably the best of that style too!
Sadly it's being shut for a couple of months to be completely done out and make it more bar like. Yes, the toilets etc could do with an update but the overall style need not be touched.
anonymous - 14 Nov 2006 11:48
Must be the friendliest gay pub in Soho. Everyone welcome - Reminds me of Comptons in the old days when the pub was popular for everyone. Last night (Sun) the Welly was heaving, plenty of bar staff who were friendly and gave good service too - nice looking too if thas your thing!Well worth a visit.
Clivers - 1 May 2006 18:05
Be very careful when ordering your beer at this pub. The management have a very disgusting policy when it comes to serving their draught beer. Whilst I was there on Friday evening 23rd September approx 7pm and standing by the slot machine I observed the following practises. From my observation point I had a clear view of the draught pumps and the drip trays. On every drip tray there was a pint glass, not visible to the customer ordering a drink at the front of the bar. At various times I observed the barmaid (shoulder length black hair, late 40's)emptying the contents of each drip tray into each glass. When a customer would then order a pint of draught beer the bar person would get a fresh glass from the rack making it appear that the customer was receiving a fresh glass each time as the law requires. What the customer would not see was the bar person substituting the fresh glass for the glass that had been partly filled from the contents of the drip tray. What the unlucky customer was getting was a pint of partly filled fresh beer along with beer that had been standing in the pint glass that had once been in the drip tray for god knows how long!!! I am going to make a complaint to the brewery. I brought this matter to the attention of the barperson who retorted that a lot of things like this go on and it was none of my business. I also agree with he other comment that the bar staff like to sit around discussing whatever rather than see o the needs of their paying customers.
welshlad - 24 Sep 2005 14:30
Not a bad pub while on a crawl.
anonymous - 9 May 2005 20:06
nice pub i like it here.
gayfirewoman - 8 Nov 2004 15:16
Went in here on a tour of Soho and found the whole feeling was one not of a the usual bar you find on Compton Street - but more a pub with a chance good location. Seemed abit dirty too in comparison with the areas newer trendy places but I think thats the 'pub' style. Funny someone mentioned about the bag thing as there was a lady running around looking for hers while I was in.
Tony Notts - 2 Nov 2004 19:15
Watch your bags - mine was stolen there last night. There is a real problem with bags being stolen in that pub.
Phil - 7 Oct 2004 16:55
Music far far too loud. Used to be good here when they had a jukebox. OK but you can't engage in conversation for the volume.
Tim - 6 Aug 2004 16:02
It is popular with gay male and female members of our Emergency Services. This includes the London Ambulance Service, the Metroplitan Police and City of London Police. When they're off duty of course!
Stephen - 2 Apr 2004 12:04
Like so many gay bars, they are now reverting to type and playing music at deafening volume on Friday and Saturday nights. Why? People go there for a drink and a chat...not to be deafened.
Andrew - 21 Mar 2004 22:21
Good points:

- Music not too loud
- 'Traditional pub feel'

Bad points

- Management appear more interested in sitting drinking at bar themselves, and thereby blocking access for paying customers
andrew marratt - [email protected] - 12 Oct 2003 21:18
a pleasure being there & have a delicious capuccino and beer ;)

Ana Cristina - 22 Aug 2002 03:51

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