After Fallowfield's XS Malarkey, the Frog is my favourite place to see stand-up comedy. Unlike the Comedy Store, the entry prices are really reasonable. Yet the Frog still attracts some very high profile, funny people. I recently saw Alun Cochrane and Sarah Millican there, and I'm hoping to go and see Henning Wehn soon.
There are loads of great nights here, including Beat the Frog, which showcases new acts, and Laughing Cows, which features an all-female line-up. However, I like going to their Sunday night stand-up sessions best. For just six pounds or so, you can see a full-length show by a well-known touring comedian. So it's really good value. And watching comedy on a Sunday night really takes the edge off Monday morning!
As a venue, the Frog is a pleasing mix of small theatre and dingy cabaret club. It's set across two levels: the ground floor has large tables for bigger groups, but upstairs has cosier set-ups and a couple of booths. I love sitting up there to watch the acts!
Although I've never eaten here, the food seems pretty popular. The menu is packed with crowd-pleasing curries and nachos, and they're brought to your table as you watch the acts. The selection of drinks is pretty standard, really but the prices aren't bad. If you're a bit of an ale nerd and fancy a quick pint before you go in, try the Crown and Kettle across the road. It's a lovely old pub!
The Frog and Bucket was the location of my recent work Christmas do and we weren't dissapointed. The price of £25 (I think) covered a two course Christmas meal and 3 comedy acts. When we arrived it was all done up nicely inside but we quickly realised that there was more than one sitting happening that day and, in fact, there were only going to be a few tables at this one; we went for the lunchtime meal as we were granted the afternoon off from work - woo!
The Christmas meal was your standard fare, with turkey, ham, and all the trimmings, followed by the richest chocolate dessert ever. After a few spoonfuls the dessert became a bit stodgey and gooey, too much for after a roast with all the trimmings and before an afternoon of drinking. Service was quick but lacking in conversation, probably annoyed that they were working on Black Friday whilst the rest of us were enjoying ourselves.
The comedy itself - I got here eventually! - was...okay. The compere was really good, got the crowd warmed up with a few risque comments but predominantly ripping where people came from, an old favourite. The first act, however, was really crude. Now, I'm all for a bit of blue comedy don't get me wrong, but at 2 in the afternoon? It felt a bit like The Frog and Bucket hadn't quite considered what time it would be (and how sober people would be) leaving us a bit lost for word or response. The second act brought us all back up again, discussing his girlfriend's drinking habits and the benefits of making yourself laugh, cleverly shunning the hecklers in the crowd, who eventually got a telling off from the management and soon shut up.
The real plus of the afternoon? Getting a free set of tickets for a Friday or Saturday showing of our choice. That's sure to get the punters back.
I remember going to one show here and hating it. It was like the old man from the 1-800-COLLECT commercials (you know, the snow-haired, shriveled old man with glasses who looked like Bruce Villanche and Harry Carey had a midget baby that was older than them?) came out in a wheelchair with a saxophone in hand, and proceeded to just say "Fock all" a million times.
"Fock off. Fock all."
Everyone was ROLLING.
I went with my German/French-but-born-and-raised-in-Manchester friend Klem, and asked afterward, "Wait, was he universally un-funny and awful like I thought, or do I just not get it coz I'm not Northern English?"
"Oh you just don't ge- ... no, no, you're right. He wasn't funny."
But hey, I support the local f-arts.
This is another of those places that I always intend to come back to but always forget. Every time I've visited I've had a great night; I went on the open mic night they have called 'Beat the Frog'.
It's free and the first couple of acts are invited ones so they're almost certainly decent. The ones following are trying it out for a five minute slot, and can be voted off before time by selected audience members. It's a great way to get the audience involved, and when you throw in the compere, an experienced comedian in his own right, who performs between acts, you end up with a highly entertaining format.
I've not been on the other nights, but I'd really only bother visiting for this night or if it was a comedian I really knew. Stand-up is something I enjoy best in moderation, so I wouldn't want to pay for something I could get for free another day. It's certainly great value whichever night you choose though, so make sure to visit it at least once should you be in the area.
If you're looking to see upcoming comedians in an intimate and sociable venue then the Frog and Bucket is the place to come. If you'd rather see more established comedians in a theatre-like venue then you'd be better off heading to the Locks to catch a performance at the Comedy Store.
I used to come here as a student as it'd normally be free, or no more than a couple of quid, during the week and under £7 for a decent bottle of house wine (I'm surprised there are not more hecklers!). At the intervals there was sometimes the opportunity to write notes about your friends, which would be passed to the compere to use in his act - this was an amusing way to engage with the audience which helped us to succeed in embarrassing our Belgian friend
As far as I can remember I haven't seen anyone here who has gone on to become famous (unlike the Comedy Store) but there are upcoming performances from the likes of 21-year-old Jack Whitehall, who has hosted Never Mind the Buzzcocks and has appeared on Mock the Week. One to watch, I'm sure. It's possible to book online through Ticketweb for these kinds of events, otherwise it's fine just to turn up.
Word of warning - if you're shy and do not want to be picked on then choose to sit upstairs on the balcony, where you still get a good view of the stage. Like at any comedy club, if you sit at the front then you will be targeted.
Since moving from its previous Newton street address back in '93, the Frog has steadily grown in reputation and has helped to launch the careers of some of the countries biggest comedic talents including Peter Kay, Dave Spikey, Dave Gorman and Johnny Vegas.
Predominately though it is a venue for smaller local acts and being a Scouser was something of a lesson in patience for me.
Every single act found the time to include the obligatory thieving Liverpudlian jokes and it was quickly turning into something of a miserable evening for me until by chance an unassuming little Merseyside gent hopped onto the stage and proceeded to completely steal the show.
Oh the cruel irony.
A pretty decent Comedy Club in Manchester's 'Northern Quarter' I recently booked tickets for my Boyfriend and I for a Saturday night show, we paid about £15 each, including the obligatory booking fee. Doors open about an hour before the compare gets things warmed up. It was a little annoying that we had to cue up outside with the non pre-booked guests, but we were personally shown to our seat once in. Depending on whether you like to become part of the act or blend into the laughs at the back can controlled when booking on-line. You can also book the mezzanine gallery that offers a good view.
You can but food once you are in that is OK if you don't mind basic fried bar food, but if you are making a night of it... I would suggest going to eat somewhere else before coming.
Drink prices were average and you can get a decent bottle of house wine for £6.95, which may be a better bet. The staff were good and very friendly and we didn't have to wait to get served for any of our numerous trips to the bar.
The acts were fantastic and we both had an excellent night that left our ribs very sore from all the laughter... I will be booking us more tickets VERY soon!
"Beat the Frog" is worth attending. Sometimes you get people who're really rather amusing.
Most of the time, though, you get lazy Mancunians who draw "comedy" from the pathetic and inconsequential "rivalry" which exists between Liverpool and Manchester.
They swagger onstage. "Ey," they begin. "'Ent Liverpool SHIT?!"
And the audience, equally as pathetic, start cheering and braying.
And I start to feel really uncomfortable and my friends, knowing I'm a Liverpudlian, all turn to me with massive goading grins on their faces.
I have seen a few people here who were genuinely funny - so funny, in fact, that I'm surprised that they've not gone on to finer things. Their material was a lot stronger, for instance, than anything on Mock The Week.
The VAST MAJORITY of "commedians", however, will resort to the tired and dreadful cliche of Liverpool-bashing. And it's SO tedious.
Oh, and if ever a performer picks up a musical instrument, get out as soon as you can. The last thing we need is a wannabe Bill Bailey. Only he may rock.
And, finally, if anybody orders the nachos with cheese, the place will start to reek in seconds.
I've never actually been inside the Frog and Bucket comedy club. Then why on earth are you reviewing it? I hear you ask. Maybe.
Well, I did try and go to the Frog and Bucket once. It was the free Monday night comedy club that me and the girlfriend wanted to go to it. So we got our going out clothes on, got a couple of friends and headed over to the comedy club.
Which is where we discovered a big queue, and people walking past the queue who had already booked a table in advance. When it came to it, the place was so busy that we couldn't get in, and were turned away.
So my advice would be just to book a table. It costs hardly anything to book and guarantees you a spot which would avoid the annoyance that we experienced. I'm assuming this place is really good if it's this busy!
Should anyone decide to go to the Frog and Bucket for any reason other than watching comedy, then they're quite frankly mental.
The place itself is a big old room with a balcony should the floor get too packed out, which it invariably will.
The beer is good enough - by which I mean that you won't notice it as you sink it, so it's neither good nor bad. It's just beer.
However, reviewing anything there seems pointless because the whole point of going to the Frog and Bucket is to watch stand-ups telling jokes.
The crowd is pretty good and the Beat the Frog show, which showcases new talent, is a very good night out indeed. The comperes are all funny (well, you'd hope so wouldn't you?) and very inclusive.
As yet, I've seen no-one in tears there thanks to being ruined by a comic on-stage.
So yeah, a venue that has nice people laughing at jokes from comedians both amateur and professional. To be honest, I prefer it to the Comedy Store because I'm the kind of person who quite likes the smaller venue.
If this was a music venue, you'd expect to see a band in the ascendency here. So the craic is good and the staff help you along the way.
Everything else is simply conjecture. I mean, anyone going here for a meal and expecting it to be like a restaurant really should have thought about it for 2 seconds longer and actually gone to a place dedicated to serving food instead. You wouldn't go to a football match and moan about the pies would you (unless you were from Wigan of course).
You will have to queue to get in though...
This is a great comedy venue. Don't be deceived by the slight spit and sawdust feel- this place has had all the great names play at some point in their careers, and Johnny Vegas loves the place and comes back regularly - sometimes as a surprise! Everyone is sat at tables and you can have a platter type meal so its an ideal group night out - maybe not ideal for couples. The comedy is usually top notch, and there is often a disco afterwards.
PS: a tip: sign up to the mailing list on the website and they regularly give out free tickets for nights that haven't sold so well. Have often saved £20+ for a group of us.
Great comedy club. Don't know if it is run still by the guy that opened it but it is without doubt the only place in town for unpretentious comedy. If that's your style - GO! Baby Go!!!
Some nice sexy chicks too, to brighten up your evening if the comedy is shite.
This is the poor- neighbour to the more swanky Comedy Store. It is cheaper however and draws a slightly different crowd due to this. It holds very cheap and sometimes free nights during the week, but I have to say I'm not a fan.
The acts only appear for a short time and then you seem to wait about half an hour between acts. If you are out for a boozy night or one of the many hen nights or stag do's which seem to populate Frog and Bucket then these gaps can be filled with much drinking and hilarity, but if you are the designated driver for the evening then the night is often long and tiresome.
A very well run Comedy Club, based in Manchester's regenerated 'Northern Quarter'.
I booked my tickets well in advance for a Saturday night show, and paid about £15 each, including the obligatory booking fee. Doors open about an hour and a bit before the compare starts the show, and you will have to queue to get in. The doormen continuously had people, myself included, saying 'we've booked tickets, do we still have to queue up?'. The answer will be 'yes', so save yourself the trouble - it moves quickly anyway and the reason is that you're shown directly to your table by someone. Ours was right at the front, centre stage - a product of booking early, I would think. I like being picked on by the comics, but the only problem with sitting at the front is that you are constantly looking up - not good for the neck muscles. There is a mezzanine gallery that offers a good view - you can request where to sit when you book online.
I took advice from other reviews on this site that said that the food wasn't up to much and ate before we went in. There's a lot of fried stuff and some smallish portions of curry type fayre. Fine if you haven't had time elsewhere, but that's it.
Drink prices were average - two large house wines and a couple of Corona's were about £14, but you can get a decent bottle of house wine for £6.95, which may be a better bet. We settled for a nice Shiraz at £12. Good, friendly staff and we didn't have to wait to get served for any of our numerous trips to the bar.
Anyway, the comedy. That's what we went for, after all. The compere was excellent and the first act (John Warburton) was blinding - I was aching laughing. The other two comics were both good, although not quite in his league.
One girl was threatened with being thrown out for talking while the comic was on (being a 'mouthy cow' is the local term) - which was great.
An excellent night out - choose quieter nights for cheaper tickets.
A great venue for great comedy! Set in a relaxed atmosphere with friendly staff, its like nipping to your local pub but with a difference. They also serve food and a good selection of beverages!
The Frog and Bucked is located just of Piccadilly gardens on the corner of Oldham street. As far as I know its a comedy club that offers a wide variety of entertainment. I went on a Thursday with a friend as I am on their mailing list and they quite often offer free tickets for the first 25 people to respond to the e-mail, I think it was only £4-£5 otherwise. The area inside is quite small but it is set like a very traditional pub with a stage against the back wall. It seems to be quite crowded inside as there were a lot of people sat by tables all with a close proximity of one another. The night I went they had 3 comedians on, the third of which was absolutely hilarious and made the night. There was a good variety of people there, a lot of students and a lot of couples of all ages. To the best of my knowledge they offer open mic nights which I have heard can be really amusing. After the comedians are finished they open the floor up for those who want to dance. The music was cheesy pop and very popular amongst the people there. I think other nights in the week it just acts as a traditional pub. I though the atmosphere was great and there were several drink promotions on. I found that the food was quite expensive for the portions that you received. The bar itself wasn't quite quaint and looks as though it has been there for sometime, i think this adds charm to the venue. I think I will definitely go here again, thursday nights seem to be the popular night to go.
We visited herre and couldnt see the comedian as we were sat upstairs so we may as well have been iin a pub. Also food - we had to ask several times as they forgot things, we had to ask to order
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