Duke’s is one of those sports bars/diner hybrids where you feel like you’re entering a buddy’s garage or man cave. There are booths, stools, assorted sport memorabilia and flags, neon lights, and Americana signs and posters all over the walls. It also belongs to the same chain of Branded Restaurants as the Big Daddy’s restaurant, which you might’ve seen oh, EVERYWHERE in the city. I went here during lunch one weekday so some of my coworkers and I could catch the last half of a World Cup soccer game (man do my work days seems so much slower without the added excitement of streaming those games). It seemed like the perfect environment…lots of TVs, no fuss food, and enough of a seating area so we wouldn’t have to worry about a wait.
Duke’s prides itself in having award-winning chicken wings, so that’s what I decided to order. What this award is, where they won it from, or when they won it, I have no idea, but if that’s what they were boasting about then why not. They come in buffalo, XXX, sweet n sour, honey bbq, and teriyaki flavors, but you can also get them “naked” if you want. Come on though, who would do that?
The wings were satisfying enough, probably on par with a few other places I’ve tried, but I’ve also had better. Aside from the wings, there are plenty of other American, comfort food options like burgers, sliders, sandwiches, salads, and tons of starters from bacon mac ‘n cheese bites to cajun calamari.
I don’t know if it’s because I went during a World Cup game when most of the people in the restaurant were happy to take a super long lunch, but I had a meeting to get to and the service was pretty slow. I think it took around 45 minutes to get our food? And that’s especially slow seeing as my table’s complete order only consisted of my wings and my friend’s salad. It was pretty confusing at the time because I didn’t realize there was a whole other half of the restaurant I couldn’t see from my booth, and I just could not fathom what was taking so long. But since I’ve only been once, I don’t know if this is a routine occurrence or not.
I’ve heard that both their “famous liquid brunch” and happy hours are good times to go. The first you pay $15 for unlimited cocktails with your meal. For happy hours, it’s half off their normally prices $10 16oz drinks from 4 to 7 pm on the weekdays, and they have a few special cocktail options like Texas Tea, Trash Can Punch, and Firefly (which is vodka with lemonade).
All in all, Duke’s is the kind of the place you go to when you either want a super laid-back meal or just want to find a place to watch the game that has a few specials.
Buffalo chicken wings
99 E 19th St.
New York, NY 10003