When my sister invited me on her friend’s hen party at Bistro Live, I was a little sceptical. I’ve been to Bistro Live a few times, but only ever for birthday parties. The idea of going on a hen party, with a bunch of women I didn’t know, dressed as builders was a little intimidating. Still, I’ve always enjoyed a night out dancing and I like to think I’m a good sport, so I decided to keep my word and show my face.
A few of us decided to get ready at my sister’s house, as her boyfriend was giving us a lift, and she’s a hairdresser so she was on makeover duty! The theme for the evening was builders (the bridegroom to be is a builder), so I wore denim dungarees, a checked shirt, high-vis jacket and tool belt. I wasn’t completely happy with my outfit (this was not my most glamorous moment) but a few curls and some red lips helped to make me feel more like me!
One hour and a glass of wine later, we were standing outside Bistro Live in Nottingham, holding a blow up man-doll in builder’s gear, waiting for the bride and the rest of her party to arrive. Suddenly, from around the corner appeared a pink hummer limo, complete with giant penis hanging out of the window. Yep, that was the rest of our group. Apparently, it was going to be one of those hen parties!
When we finally entered the venue, we were led to our table which had been thoroughly decked out for the event. My sister, Kim had provided all of the decorations and name cards etc, but the staff at Bistro Live had placed them all our for us, following Kim’s seating plan to the letter. She was very pleased with the result and it did look fabulous.
The bride had also provided a goody bag for each hen, filled with treats such as sweeties, makeup and dare scratch cards, which I most certainly did not do, but I think some of the other hens had fun with! We each also had a sash and a badge with our names on, plus there were pitchers of an unknown cocktail dotted around our table, which were the complimentary drinks promised in our party package.
Once every one was in their seat, it was time to think about food and drink. A three course meal is included in the package price and the food is usually of a good quality. You choose your first two courses from a menu and then the dessert is an assiette (selection) of miniature desserts. I chose three-cheese potato cakes for my starter and then three-cheese and gammon pasta for my main course. (Apparently I was in the mood for cheese that night!)
Both of my courses were absolutely delicious, although the pasta dish was so generous there was no way on earth I could finish it! The desserts were also lovely – there was a profiterole, a cheesecakey-thing and a lemon sponge. (Obvs, the profiterole was my fave!) I was particularly impressed with how the kitchen catered for guest with special dietary requirements. One of our party was a vegan and all of her dishes were prepared especially for her. There was also a girl who had a severe allergy to oranges, so the bar created a modified cocktail with pineapple juice instead of the normal orange juice. All of the staff were happy to discuss options with guests and tried to accommodate them as much as possible so nobody missed out.
There’s no going to the bar at Bistro Live. Wave your chequered flag and your host/hostess for the evening swoops in and takes your order. The drinks are reasonably priced in comparison with other city venues. I tend to go for a pitcher or two of a cocktail, priced at around £17 a time, and that tends to sort me out for the whole evening. There are also a variety of bottled beers, wines and other beverages to choose from, as well as some non-alcoholic options for the designated drivers in the group!
After dinner is when the real Bistro Live experience starts. The music starts blaring away, and a team of staff members swoop in to strip the tables and prepare them for the rest of the evening. Although the Bistro Live team are quick to say that they don’t recommend dancing on the furniture, and that they accept no responsibility for any accidents, it is a well known fact that after dinner you dance on the tables! It’s just what happens.
There is also always an after-dinner quiz, which I take incredibly seriously. (Competitive, me? How very dare you!). You basically have to listen to extracts from 20 songs and guess the artist who sang them. I like to pride myself on my random music knowledge and so was very pleased when, with the help of a few other party guests, we smashed that quiz! Everyone on the winning team got a £5 voucher off their next trip. It would have been nice to maybe have a more immediate prize, like a free drink or something, but still it was fun to be the winners!
After that, the evening consisted of pretty much only one thing. Dancing, dancing and more dancing. There was a live band for some of the evening ( I can’t for the life of me remember their name!) who were really good and played a great variety of music with lots of energy and entertainment value. Then later the DJ took over and continued the evening with a great mix of disco music. I particularly loved when he played some of the classics from my teen years, such as Five, Spice Girls, Backstreet Boys and all of your typical 90’s party songs! (And yes, 15 years later I can still do a mean Macarena!)
All in all I had fabulous evening and I’m pretty sure that all of the other hens felt the same. When my lift arrived, the rest of them were still dancing on the tables (and drinking the other parties under the table!). The Bistro Live experience is for anyone who likes a good ole’fashioned party! I have noticed recently that the ticket price has been creeping up a little – this party package was £39 per person. However, considering you get a three course meal, free drink, plus an evening of great entertainment it’s actually not bad a deal at all. Plus, once they have your details they do contact you often with special deals.
If you haven’t been to Bistro Live before, I would recommend it for birthdays, hen dos or any special event. I’ve been a number of times and I’ve never failed to have a great evening. If Nottingham is a bit far for you to travel, they also have venues in Leicester and Milton Keynes. You can check out all the details and dates on their website