You may be surprised to learn that some of London’s best theatre shows can be experienced in the capital’s favourite pubs. That’s right – theatre pubs across the city are renowned for putting on plays, spoken word events, stand up comedy nights and more. And the best bit?
As well as the excellent entertainment, you’re likely to spend proportionately less than you would in the city’s major theatre districts, such as the West End. Winner!
If you’re heading to the capital soon and are after a theatre and drinking experience with a difference, favoured by those who know and love the city best – the locals, we’re here to help.
Here are some of the top theatre pubs in London to check out, and the top shows to see during your stay at Park Grand Lancaster Gate.
Hen & Chickens Theatre – Islington
Why go? Blending the best in traditional British pub hospitality with personality, character and unbeatable quirky charm, The Hen & Chickens Theatre Bar is a small but flawlessly formed north London pub with a strong history of excellent stand-up comedy. It has its own intimate upstairs theatre, so it’s the perfect venue for a social occasion with a twist. Bright and sunny with a bohemian edge (it is east London, after all), the bar is open both to theatre-goers and those just wanting to dive into its diverse and exciting drinks menu.
What’s on? Having endured three of the very worst things that can happen to a person – death, divorce and parenthood – critically acclaimed South African comedian Warren Robertson talks honestly and openly about the past 18 months of his life. He sheds new light on the things we all feel and think over these horribly stressful events, in his new show “Dad Inside”. Showing on the 18th of September.
The Bread & Roses Theatre – Clapham
Why go? Onto our first West London option, which is also home to great budget accommodation London, The Bread & Roses is a 40 – 60 seat fringe venue above a pub. The theatre schedules a wide-spread mix of productions for local as well as far-reaching audiences. Artistic excellence, equality and diversity are at the forefront of the theatre’s schedule, which highlights visiting companies as well as in-house productions. The programme composes of new writing, reinvented classics, devised work, and much more.
What’s on? From the 22nd – 24th September you can catch ‘I Danced with my Father’ – Set in 1990’s Northern Ireland. On a dreary, miserable Friday night, much against his wishes, Joe and his wife Clodagh choose to practice her funeral wake. What starts off as a fun-filled night, stirred with a drink or two, soon becomes quite different when their daughter, Siobhan, turns up and joins in. Next morning, Joe wakes up to a crushing realisation…
Gate Theatre – Notting Hill
Why go? The Gate Theatre was founded back in 1979 to showcase ground-breaking international plays to a London audience. Now, the Gate lives to make international theatre that examines vital questions about ourselves, each other and the world around us. Their work examines what it means to be alive today. Everyone is welcome in the intimate 75 seat theatre, which transforms with every production – meaning no two visits are ever the same.
Heading to the Gate? Check out the not-too-far away Lancaster bed and breakfast.
What’s on? Directed by Kirsty Housley, ‘Mephisto [A Rhapsody]’ is a searing up-to-date answer to Klaus Mann’s banned, and fiercely political cult novel. It is based on the real-life tale of Gustaf Gründgens whose dreams of stardom led him to betray everything, and at the height of his career, even perform ‘Faust’ for Adolf Hitler. Samuel Gallet’s urgent new play asks, what would you sacrifice to do the right thing? Check it out from the 3rd to the 26th of October.
White Bear Theatre – Kennington
Why go? The White Bear Theatre first took off in 1989, and was founded by Michael Kingsbury. It now focuses on a mix of new writing and lost classics. It exists to nourish and uncover outstanding fresh and existing talent and offer a space where risks can be taken. It’s undergone a huge refurbishment as of late and is now fully airconditioned.
It’s just a short train ride from amazing hotels in Lancaster UK too.
What’s on? Many don’t exactly associate Macbeth with fun musical numbers, but this is a truly unique way to experience the spooky Shakespeare play. The tale is well-known by many, but this musical explores those affected by the key characters’ descent into madness. There are strong comical undertones, shown through the eyes of the characters as puppets (how else?!). Book tickets now for the 3rd to the 7th of September.
Fancy another twist on a true British classic? Why not try an Indian afternoon tea during your stay at Park Grand Lancaster Gate?
Ram Jam Records Theatre – Kingston
Why go? Ram Jam Records started supporting fringe theatre in late 2017 and has since embraced some diverse productions as well as partnering with The Ram Jam Theatre Company for the first in-house production, ‘Radiant Vermin by Philip Ridley. The 60 seat Jazz club-style venue is Kingston’s best-kept secret, and it offers its patriots both intimacy and fun. Theatre at Ram Jam Records is supported by the tasty Edinburgh Gin.
What’s on? ‘Come What May’ – running for two nights from October the 27th – is a devised political satire investigating Brexit and the influence it is having on British society today already. In the shape of fever dreams and ‘booty calls’, they expose the inequality between the public and those that hold the country in their power, as Britain and it’s Prime Minister travel through countless deals and votes of zero confidence. It’s witty, thought-provoking and very funny – and obviously extremely timely. It’s also sure to make you sit up and think about what makes ‘Great’ Britain really great.