One of Manchester’s best comedy venues, The Frog and Bucket is the perfect place to head down to for a night of cheering and jeering. Starting off as a small city centre pub in 1993, it now boasts some of the best new talent around, and attracts crowds all through the week, intrigued with what The Frog can offer.
The Frog and Bucket is based at the top end of Oldham Street on the border of the city centre and Ancoats. It’s a dark, theatre-styled pub, where rows of tables surround the famous stage. Peter Kay performed one of his first gigs here, as did Johnny Vegas. Its popularity makes the place very cosy, it also has a good vantage point from its upper tier, so that everyone has clear views of the on stage talent. There are two bars, which get very crowded during the breaks, as punters stock up on sharing platters, cheap curries and pitchers to keep themselves fuelled up for more entertainment.
Every week, the club is open on Monday, Thursday, Friday and Saturday, it also hosts various events on the other nights but they are not weekly. Monday is the famous Beat The Frog night, where brand new comedians try out in front of audiences in order to complete a five-minute set. The audience use placards to decide the comic’s fate - whether they fail to entertain or bring the house down. Big Value Thursdays (£5/£3 concs) emphasises the venue's cheap entrance and offer cut-price food menus. Weekend nights are for the more established comedians to do their thing. You can expect to pay £13 on Fridays and £14 on Saturday nights, but those with student cards or doctors or nurses can get in for half price. If you sign up to the mailing list you will also be sent discount rates and offers for certain nights.
The atmosphere is one big buzz – comedians cracking funnies, waiters rushing about, crowds howling - it is certainly welcoming when entering The Frog. When comedians have finished their pieces for the night, the floor is then opened up as a dance floor, where the public are then given the opportunity to strut their stuff to the cheesy party tunes the DJ pumps out.
During the week nights, the range of drink promotions attract the lively student crowds, usually resulting in them being the objects of ridicule for the night. Hen and stag parties make up a good proportion of the audience during weekend nights, complete with their banners, buckets of Champagne and fancy dress attire.
The menus are not the most exciting, but provide enough choice for everyone to have a bite to eat. The food is very quick and basic; waiters are constantly dishing out bowls of chips and buckets of goujons (£5.50). For more satisfying meals there are also sharing platters for £10.95, which the students usually opt for and share down their tables, or indulge in the list of curries, consisting of chicken kormas and vegetable masalas for £6.50, which go down perfectly well with the selection of beers on tap.
Drinks are reasonably priced, with single spirits and mixers around £2.50. There is also a range of drinks available on tap, such as Strongbow, Boddingtons and Guinness. They have deals on hen and stag parties for champagnes and wine selections, therefore, there is pretty much something for everyone.
The Last Word
The Frog and Bucket is a cracking, intimate venue for comedy gigs to be enjoyed by a large range of people. Its friendly staff and hilarious hosts engage the audience before the acts even begin. The Frog and Bucket prides itself on developing some of the best comic talents on the circuit, and it’s fair to say it attracts some of the friendliest and rowdiest audiences of Manchester. All in all, a unique night of entertainment.