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Hen and Chickens, Islington

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user reviews of the Hen and Chickens, Islington

please note - reviews on this site are purely the opinion of site visitors, so don't take them too seriously.

I have been reasonably happy with this pub having visited a few times in the recent past. However, the last visit was pretty poor with none of the 3 real ales working and the barmaid at a loss to sort out the problem, not helped by her off-duty workmate who didn't lift a finger to give her a hand. No plans to go back any time soon.
halfabitterman - 29 Jun 2011 21:46
3rd time there last night. Average at best. Won't be going back there again.
Harvor - 1 Jul 2010 16:08
Moan, moan, moan.... what was your problem with the food price? the free market perhaps. Would you have preferred to have queued around the corner for some cheap state produced rubbish?
Tankbuster - 3 Sep 2009 12:44
good pub with good atmosphere but very pricey on food. Staff are friendly and helpful. Good pint of Pride.
tanky - 3 Sep 2009 12:40
The theatre upstairs had just kicked out before my visit so it was very busy with a good atmosphere. I found the staff to be very friendly even though they all looked like they had been busy all day. Itís not a very big pub, but it was a nice evening so there were a lot of people drinking outside in the street, which was good as it would have been rather uncomfortable inside if everyone was crammed in.

One ale was off, but Pride and Bombardier were available alongside a selection of standard and premium lagers.

I wouldnít grumble if I found myself in here again.
Strongers - 24 Aug 2009 01:33
Good for late night boozing. Good atmosphere. Friendly staff. Got to love it.
diorchoose - 19 May 2009 16:29
Decent enough place for a post-work Islington pint. Better than the local competition - as other posters have noted.
bitter_n_twisted - 2 Oct 2008 23:22
This is a really, really good place, exactly what a London pub should be - and credit to the staff for that. Their secret? Well, they appear to be welcoming us into their 'home'. Simple really. Chain pubs please take note.

Good beer, excellent Acts upstairs, great juke-box and reassuringly shabby decor. Any thoughts of a makeover should be resisted.
wilsoj09 - 21 Aug 2008 18:45
Has a really nice atmosphere now. Mixed crowd and the staff are really friendly and happy to serve you - a pleasant change from the horror that is the Alwynne Castle down the road.
celt7 - 24 Jul 2008 14:28
I've noticed this pub for years but never went in it before last Friday. For some reason I thought it would be a dive. However, it isn't a dive. It's a very nice, cosy pub with quite a cool 'arty' feel. This well cared-for late Victorian, possibly Edwardian pub even looks nice on the outside, so I donít know what I was thinking.
Greshon - 10 Mar 2008 15:21
Good atmosphere, cosy and candlelit and very friendly and helpful barmaid. Very cheering on a miserable February day.
chick - 21 Feb 2008 14:14
Really quite this place met up with a very large group of friends (50 ish). The staff coped brilliantly, the food was lovely, and the candles gave a really nice feel to the place.
The gents are basic, but clean, the ladies apparently have some very interesting artwork!
robthehob - 17 Feb 2008 15:36
A bit of a dive!? Christ what do you want gold plated bar stools?? This is a fine pub. Yeah the toilets were flooded when I went but that happens in pubs, because unlike at home it isn't just a handful of people using them. Had a drink and some wedges and stuffed a skeleton in a vase of carnations.The special bitter was very tasty and I like the way its just off a roundabout. Never seen any comedy there but they seem to attract some decent talent and on the night I was in I had to direct a comedian I recognised off the tv to the a aforementioned toilets. I couldn't recall his name and I didn't see him again. Maybe the state of the toilets put him off. Pussy!

sef - 8 Nov 2007 01:55
The Gents in the Hen has the most eye-wateringly powerful stench of pee in all London. Fortunately this seldom penetrates into the bar itself and when it does, the thick fug of cigarette smoke masks it perfectly. I fear for the future of this place when the smoking ban comes into force.

The service is rather erratic and the Hen seems to have got through an extrordinary number of barstaff over the years. I remember the surly, cannonball-shaped Eastern European lady - "Ludmila" - particularly fondly. Many's the time her mental image has saved me from premature ejaculation. The current crop seem to be jolly nice.

I've always been rather sorry that this place doesn't open at lunchtime. It's infinately better than the Cock, the Junction, the Swan and Alwyne Castle, but compares poorly with the excellent Compton.
VestanPants - 4 Jun 2007 16:04
Can't believe the mark for this pub! 4.8/10. Its great. A bit weird and different yeah but always something going on and amazing line up of comedians given the size of upstairs.
avoid on Arsenal days though as can get quite crowded.
And it does food now. (of a sort) didnt the first time i went in...
Islingtonite - 11 Nov 2006 11:56
£5.10 for a glass of wine!! Usually it's a buy two glasses and get the rest of the bottle job in here - you must have ben done. Nice pub to have a couple of drinks in on Sundays. Busy in the evenings and keep an eye on who's appearing upstairs at the theatre, quite a few comedians have played here on there way to the obligatory C4 show.
celt7 - 29 Oct 2006 20:37
£5.10 for a glass of wine - a bit expensive but at least it was decent stuff.
anonymous - 14 Apr 2006 15:29
Was in a few nights ago, and the atmosphere was a lot better than on previous visits. I didn't mind not being able to sit down, as the vibe made up for it.
anonymous - 27 Mar 2006 19:10
Pretty mixed really. Too little room to move yet upstairs has an awesome little threatre etc which is really grand. Lots of great comedy up here etc which really gives this place a big boost.
Randy_Campbell - 21 Nov 2005 15:54
On balance this is a moderate pub. Drinks are pleasnt but tend to be overpriced. Clientele very varied with a slight predmoinance of pseudo intellectuals that are somewhat up their own fundament. Environment and seating are very pleasant. Bar service not as quick as I would have hoped but of a good standard once they take your order. Live bands of a disproportionately high standard for largely covers acts. Worth visiting when there is a band on but get in early as it can get packed. At other times, The Junction across the road is probably a better bet.
Mr.Monkfish - 30 Sep 2005 10:57
Much improved from when i last went in here a year ago, plus they had Roosters Yankee on the handpump. pretty rar down here
Manor_rat - 9 Mar 2005 22:29
a bit of a dive but not bad given that it's near a tube station and a major roundabout. good atmosphere when the crowd comes down from upstairs comedy & gigs.
podge - 7 Jan 2005 11:44
Beer much improved (Landlord), also London Pride. £2.50 /pt though. Heard v. competent band (rock oldies plus jazz) Friday 14/5/04
JID - 15 May 2004 12:27
Good for live music but a wee bit dive-y.
anonymous - 14 Jan 2004 18:05
Been in here recently, tried out the real beer and it was on the mediocre side. The pub has potential, but standards of cellarmanship let it down. For a decent pint go down City Road to the WENLOCK or alternatively try the Wetherspoon by the junction.
lad_newton - 4 Nov 2003 18:02

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