A popular dining and drinking spot that becomes a livelier haunt on weekends. Upstairs, you’ll find live music and theatre, as well as a popular comedy night
Somehow, the Hen & Chicken manages to be all things to all people. One of the larger venues on the North Street strip of pubs and bars, it has a surprisingly varied clientele and seems to have avoided the pitfalls associated with some local hostelries.
Head down during the week, and you’ll find a mixture of ‘Southville set’ thirty and fortysomethings, diners tucking into the expansive food menu (standard pub fare, but with higher quality burgers and pizzas), and real ale enthusiasts enticed by the bar’s changing roster of three or four guest beers – uniformly well kept – from local breweries. Head down on a weekend, and you’ll find it’s an altogether livelier proposition, with a slightly younger crowd sipping big brand lager, well-known ciders and fluorescent cocktails.
Of course, with such a roomy venue – decorated in a similar fashion, with a mixture of long bench tables, plentiful metal bar stools and cosy tables for more intimate dining – there’s room for all-comers, and this is where the Hen & Chicken excels.
Its real calling card, though, is the upstairs function room, which regularly hosts live music (jazz, in particular) and improvisational theatre. Best of all are the popular Comedy Box nights, which have been running at the pub since the mid-1990s. There are sessions every Friday and Saturday night, plus regular weeknight events featuring better-known stand-ups, many of whom are regulars on the TV panel show circuit.
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