Hen and Chickens Theatre Bar N1 2NA (Tube: Highbury & Islington)

As I hurtle with a grim sense of inevitability towards being 30 I occasionally reminisce with my equally doomed peers about the golden days of our teens; those early forays into the world of alcohol, slowly emerging musical tastes and sporadic fumbling with other mid pubescent youths usually crop up as highlights. During my teens there were however aspects which are best left forgotten. This list includes the dirty sticky floored clubs you could get into due to it’s lax door policies, dreadful tasting shots which managed to simulate a small stroke at the moment of consumption and the advent of the ‘mosher look’ requirements of which were ill fitting baggy jeans, too many PVC bracelets and piercings on bits your face which really ought to have been left alone.

Hen and Chickens Theatre Bar sadly sent my memories thundering back to the year 2000, more specifically the bits of that year that were rubbish (G.W Bush I’m looking at you), and I half expected to hear Papa Roach blurting from the stereo and get asked for ID. Outside it seems reasonably promising but from the second you enter a veil of vague disappointment descends. A cluster of staff hover behind the bar looking a little lost in this decade whilst sporting wallets on chains, baggy striped jumpers and hairstyles which assure me that Blink 182 still feature on most of their minidisk players. In one corner a lone fruit machine stands flashing like a lonely demented Dalek and in the other a tired chipboard piano which wouldn’t look out of place in a school hall collects dust.

Most disappointing in a pub which adorns the walls with chalkboard diagrams and lists prattling on about beer and ale was the presence of only one ale amongst the standard supermarket lagers (good old Doom Bar). At the time we visited my companion and I were baffled by the fact that our pints were served in plastic glasses but have since been informed that this was due to it being a match day for the nearby football team (The Arsenals or The Tottenham Hotspurs) and this was a safety measure to prevent irate football men smashing each other to bits with pint glasses; I must say I certainly felt safer knowing the other three people in the pub weren’t going to assault me in that fashion. Oh yes.

Plus column….despite the fact that the bar looks and feels like it hasn’t moved on in 15 years the music selection was surprisingly good and it seems at the time I thought it was important to note that it was nice and warm. However given that these facts would also be true of a HMV store this still isn’t a pub I’d make a beeline too.




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