Cocktail hour darlings
Whatever your tipple, this Kingsthorpe pub will deliver
There are some great cocktail bars in Northants (here’s a blog post we did last year with some Muddy faves), but they’re often a destination venue on a night out, rather than just a quick drink after work, or somewhere you can enjoy a cocktail while the kids have their tea. And also, they’re often a touch more expensive than your local, or you may feel like you have to make a bit more of an effort (the leggings and jumper dress just won’t cut it)…Fortunately these days, you don’t have to go to a specific cocktail bar to get a decent cocktail (i.e. not a pre-mixed sugary Sex on the Beach, synonymous with ’80s nightclubs)! And it feels like it’s about time that London doesn’t get all the proper stuff!
The popularity of cocktails in pubs is higher than ever, with more than three quarters of the country’s bars now providing a cocktail menu. Restaurateurs and pub owners know they have to address women’s tastes, and it seems like the pubs of Northamptonshire are listening (well some are, and don’t worry, I endeavour to get round them all ; )
I’ve reviewed the Fox & Hounds in Kingsthorpe before, but the cocktail plans were only in the embryonic stage, so I promised I’d go back when they’d come to fruition. And thank God I did!
There wasn’t a sugary pre-mixer in sight, and Louisa the manager could knock up practically anything we asked her to. There was a mixture of Cosmos, fruity Mojitos, Margaritas, Espresso Martinis, you name it. Many cocktail lounges charge a tenner plus for a decent cocktail; whereas these bad boys were between £7.50 and £8…BUT, here’s the HUGE selling point! The Fox & Hounds offers two for one on all cocktails everyday between 6-9pm (arghhhh, slow down Mudsters, I can hear you stampeding from here)! On top of that there’s a good range of gins AND Fizztastic Friday and Saturdays with a bottle of Prosecco at £14.95. This is clearly not a pub for just the blokes, this is a destination bar for your girly nights!
I’m not for one drinking without a small bite of something, and the menu has a great range of small plates, perfect for nibbling with drinks. This is welcome news for me, as previous offerings if I didn’t want a full meal were nuts, crisps or plates of chips (yup, plural usually).
Not here though, oh nooooo, it was an embarrassment of riches! Juicy olives, pork belly (and crackling), salted popcorn, fishcakes, chicken skewers, king prawns, garlic mushrooms and, oh, did I mention the polenta chips! Yes dear reader, we are fully gentrified in Northants these days! The staff were great and no request was too troublesome, and you could see how much they loved having groups of ladies, just out for a chin wag and a good time.
On the whole, women drive the cocktail menu and as any smart pub manager knows, it pays to pamper your women customers. The Fox & Hounds therefore, gets top marks for a girl’s night (or even afternoon) out!
THE MUDDY VERDICT:
Good for: Cocktails, obvs. Catching up with friends or just popping out of the house/office for a couple of hours. This is a good pub for groups of lads, lasses, chatty couples, really most people (and any age)! Sunday dinners look to be a speciality and given that it’s located on the busy Harborough Road this pub presents itself as a real oasis after a day shopping in Northampton or at the nearby supermarkets. Great for pre-night out cocktails and fizz before heading into town!
Not for: Those looking for a quiet bolthole, or a romantic uninterrupted meal. This is a bustling local that opens it’s doors to everyone and has a real buzz about it from the moment you step inside.
££: There is excellent value for money here, 241 cocktails every evening between 6-9pm. The menu is more sophisticated than average pub fare, and it’s obvious that care is taken over the ingredients and the presentation. The pub does offer great traditional dishes too, but many of the plates have a cosmopolitan twist, whilst the wine list is comprehensive and fairly priced. Starters/small plates around a fiver, mains £8.95 upwards and wine around £15 a bottle.
The Fox & Hounds, 186 Harborough Road, Northampton, NN2 8DJ (try out Louisa’s Foxy Margarita recipe below)
Foxy Margarita secret recipe
50ml lime juice
10ml sugar syrup made in house brown sugar
10ml Caledonian pale ale product secret ingredient (makes the margarita a little less bitter)
Garnish-salt rimmed glass, lime wheel
Pour all ingredients into Boston glass
Shake fiercely so all flavours can be bought together. Double strain
Great for a dinner party at home, very easy but great for show.