The Duke of Hamilton | A 300 Year Old Pub With Live Jazz
Ah, the grand old Duke of Hamilton: a 300-year old pub that was once the favoured hostelry of actors Peter O’Toole, Richard Burton and Oliver Reed (who reputedly spent ‘long periods’ of time there on a ‘daily basis’).
And frankly, it’s understandable. You’ll find it tucked on a cobbled Hampstead alleyway running between the main drag of Heath Street and the picturesque residential backstreets that lead down to Hampstead Heath. Out front is a broad, festoon-lit terrace, and in summer punters frequently end up spilling onto the street, perched on doorsteps with a cold pint in hand.
The latest chapter in the Duke’s venerable history is in the hands of brothers Ben and Ed and their childhood friend Adam, who all grew up locally. They’ve revamped the place to create a pub that’s as appealing in winter (thanks to its dark, moody interiors and roaring log fire) as it is in summer (thanks to the walled beer garden out the back).
Those beautiful old-school interiors are contrasted by a modern line-up at the bar, with decent beers on tap (including some from the relatively local Camden Town Brewery), a handful of London-brewed craft beers on rotation, and a couple of cask ales. There’s a nice list of wines available by the glass or bottle, arranged by flavour profile, and some paired gin & tonics, too.
While it’s not a necessity to eat here, it’s definitely worth checking out the Duke of Hamilton’s elevated gastro-fare while you’re here. Starters range from classic drinking food like buttermilk fried chicken with Louisiana hot sauce to dainty plates of sweetcorn ribs with chipotle mayo. Scale up, and you can dig into hefty sirloin steak from the local (and excellent) Hampstead Butcher; moûles frites jazzed up with chorizo; and chicken schnitzel, all capped off with classic British puds from sticky toffee to crumble and ice cream. Tables for Sunday lunch are well worth seeking out.
The final jewel in the Duke’s, er, rapier, is nestled down in the basement. What was once the pub’s cellars is now home to the Hampstead Jazz Club, an intimate bar with candlelit tables scattered in front of a small performance area. There’s live jazz most Thursday, Friday and Saturday nights, but you can check out what’s on (and book tickets) here.
NOTE: The Duke of Hamilton is open from 12pm-11pm Monday-Saturday, it closes at 8pm on Sunday. You can find out more information or book a table right here.
The Duke of Hamilton | 23-25 New End, Hampstead, London, NW3 1JD
Looking for a cosy pub? Check out these London pubs with open fires.