Saturday, 18 February 2012

Islington Theatre Pubs

London's fringe theatreland includes a healthy amount of 'theatre pubs' in Islington.

The Hen & Chickens, on Highbury Corner, has been a  theatre pub for over 10 years. It's comedy nights have cult status with the likes of the Mighty Boosh, Russel Brand and Jimmy Carr all appearing here.

The Hope and Anchor is not a theatre pub but back in to late 70's and 80's was one of the most important live music venues in London. The cellar was key to the 70's punk scene and such bands as U2 and Elvis Costello also performed here. U2 played on 4 December 1979 in front of only nine paying punters.

And then there was Madness. Filmed on the stairs to the cellar and on stage at this fine old venue.

The Kings Head in Upper Street is the daddy of all theatre pubs. Actors who have appeared here include Hugh Grant, Joanna Lumley and Alan Rickman. This is no amateur hour.

Now a Watersons book shop this building was once Wiltons Music Hall, a 1,800 seat auditorium, which also contained 10 bars. It was one of London's most famous music halls.

The Old Red Lion has only been a theatre pub since 1979 but is one of London's oldest pubs, occupying this site sine 1415, when Islington was just a rural village. The theatre seats only 60 and operates "a pay what you can" scheme on Thursday's.

View Upper Street in a larger map

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