Live Music in London
London’s live music scene comes brimming with characterful pubs, swinging jazz joints and exotic basement clubs in their dozens. Leave your typical clubbing blueprint at home this weekend and let a live band soundtrack your night out; there are plenty of music pubs and gig venues in London well worth checking out. Read on for our hand-picked guide to the best live music venues in London.
Last updated on 23rd June 2017
Amy Winehouse, D’Angelo, Bobby Womack; they’re all superstars that have played at Camden’s iconic Jazz Cafe. Recently taken over by London’s Columbo Group, the Cafe hosts live shows throughout the week with hip hop and soul club nights kicking off at the weekends. Come for live performers, food and drinks in one of Camden Town’s best loved musical joints.
Reverb is all about supplying the best live music currently in London, with the likes of RAYE, Kaleem Taylor, Karen Harding, Martin Luke Brown and more taking the stage. But that’s not all – there’s some great comedy acts, beautiful cocktails and some great BBQ food.
One of the best alternative nights out in Clapham, Venn Street Records is a vinyl-clad, rock ‘n’ roll drinkers den covered with NME posters and other iconic music memorabilia. The venue hosts regular live music and DJ nights, with happy hour running from 5 to 8pm every day and #CheapDate offering 2 drinks and 2 pizzas for £15 between Sunday and Wednesday evenings.
Blues Kitchen is one of Camden's most popular live music bars. Inspired by the dive bars of the Deep South, live music performances at Blues Kitchen Camden consist of soul, jazz and rock and roll played by some world famous musicians, including Seasick Steve, Mystery Jets and Dirty Pretty Things.
Head high above London to the stunning Roof Gardens to watch intimate and underground live acts and magical gigs. Be entertained by some of the best new and established talent every Friday and Saturday in The Roof Gardens Live lounge. They've seen the likes of Ella Eyre and the Atlantic Soul Orchestra play at this fabulous rooftop venue in London.
The Vic in Dalston is nothing short of an East London live music institution. It’s been the home of buoyant gig-goers for years on end, welcoming crowds from right around the capital for intimate yet raucous nights out. With a host of cracking drinks and a regularly rotating kitchen residencies, there’s no shortage of reasons to get yourself along before the music starts.
The Hackney hideout named after its very own house band, Kansas Smitty's will take you back to the hazy jazz age of America's Deep South.It's an intimate place to see live music in London where killer juleps are the verse of the bar and the soundtrack is of the live jazz and blues persuasion. Enjoy their weekly concert every Wednesday.
Old Street Records has positioned itself right at the forefront of Shoreditch’s live music scene thanks to its cutting-edge mix of EP launches, new bands and established acts. Take in a constantly top-drawer mix of live acts or make for the basement, where there’s more of an intimate vibe thanks to the jazz evenings and low-key DJ sessions.
The Smiths and Morrissey tribute act These Charming Men are coming over from Dublin to keep the patrons of Vinyl Bar entertained. Expect big songs, big fun and drinks until the early hours of the morning.
L'Etranger Piano Lounge in West London is a late night venue that's been turning heads with its elegant cocktail list and brilliant live entertainment. The venue's resident musicians, Ashley Kingsley and Marco Losi, play smooth, elegant tunes all night on the glass piano, while the bartenders mix, flair and blend up a storm behind the bar.
A 60s style lounge inspired by the vintage decadence of Parisian drinking dens, Ruby's Bar & Lounge is a darling live music venue in London where you enjoy an intimate experience at a table for two like the good old days. Having taken over the space next door, Ruby's has extended her charm to bring you a full packed entertainment roster all week long.
The Fallen Heroes are heading to The Arts Theatre Club in Central London, playing a live show every Tuesday throughout the month of June. Playing a medley of classic and contemporary Rhythm and Blues songs that have their roots cemented in both New Orleans and London, the band are known for creating a relaxing vibe. How better to see off Tuesday than by sipping a handcrafted cocktail and watching this carefree live music event in London.
This sweet, traditional pub regularly hosts some very jazzy jazz London nights indeed! Sunday swing sessions and a mix of jazz musicians bopity bop bop away to create an electric atmosphere. If you fancy a craft beer, real ale or spot of food while you're jiggling around, try their delicious menu of pub grub.
Angel's playground for raucous nights out and live music in London, The Old Queen's Head is something of an institution with the city's revellers. Far from your usual stylish haven, this place is rough around the edges and overflowing with edgy attitude. The dance floor gets sweaty, the music loud and it's a place for a cool gig or two.
The Cat and Mutton more than earns its stripes at all things pub-like; and the fact it regularly hosts some great jams is just another added plus. The enticing babble and buzz of chat and music wafts out from its prime position on Broadway Market; inviting folk in for a pint and a listen. Creating a warm atmosphere night after night, this charming East End local is one of the best music pubs in London.
As one of the few remaining ballrooms with its original decor still intact, it's only fitting that London's biggest Jive party takes place at the Rivoli Ballroom. Rolling back the clock and filling the historic London venue with a lively buzz, the evening will start with a fun jive lesson, before the reins are handed over to one of the great swing bands performing on the night.
Come Thursday nights, Eaton Square Cocktail Bar becomes a hive of live music events in London with bands bringing the evenings entertainment to an opulent crowd. Sit back and relax in this plush lounge bar where you can tuck into divine Mediterranean style foods and drink specially crafted cocktails courtesy of some of London's top mixologists.
Chasin’ Fridays kicks off with an eclectic live music set, giving you the best in London’s up-and-coming talent, before unleashing the main event: hip-hop karaoke. Whether you want to spit bars as Biggie Smalls or become Jay-Z for the day, the stage is yours and only one person can be crowned champion.
From swing bands, folk troupes and high octane blues groups, Blues Kitchen Camden has a rollicking line-up of live music. Get there early and feast on their meaty Southern plates and bourbon-filled cocktails before dancing until the early hours.
The beautiful Roof Gardens in Kensington are putting on a Proms on the roof event as they invite musicians from Royal Collage of Music. Taking place across their three gorgeous landscaped gardens, the evenings will include beautiful classical music in an idyllic setting.
For live jazz music in London and to feel like you've stepped back into the bygone days of the 1920s, discover London's most elusive party collective, The Candlelight Club. Prohibition is back, bootleggin is rife, flappers are wild and the parties go long and loud with these guys so don't mess about.
Ray's Bar in East London celebrates its love of jazz every Wednesday with a night of stunning live music, courtesy of famous saxophonist Rachael Cohen. Having played in some of London's biggest venues and performed alongside the best jazz players in town, Miss Cohen will be performing two sets every Wednesday and will unquestionably leave you smiling thanks to it's carefree, laid-back vibes.
If you’ve found yourself with a particularly potent hangover to shake off, you’ll need to head round to this excellent Battersea gastropub. It’s one of the finest places to catch live vintage jazz music in London come Sunday lunchtime, when guests enjoy traditional roasts with all the trimmings supported by a live band playing those easy, chilled out tunes. Bliss.
The Miller is a hub of activity, nestled among the backstreets of Borough and London Bridge. Regularly playing host to improvised comedy troupes and live music acts from across the city, this London pub is one of the best venues for live music in London. Book yourself a table now.
The Larder is hosting series of live music events in London this Spring. Featuring performances from the likes of Tori Freestone, Naadia Sheriff, pianist Eriko Ishihara and jazz group 'Putting the swing into Gypsy Jazz', the brand's two venues - Wandsworth and Bethnal Green - are certain to leave all music fans with a huge smile.
This is a 1920s party complete with a 1920s band – so get ready to shine those shoes and get jigging. Drink some cocktails, wear your finest 1920s garb (there’s even a prize for best dressed), and get ready for the debut performance of the very own Evans & Peel band. There’ll also be a performance from the glamorous Gatsby Girls!
Major player in the Civil Rights Movement and recording artist Curtis Mayfield is being celebrated at XOYO this July. Head to the Shoreditch venue as a live orchestra plays some of his greatest politically conscious songs.
The legendary Jazz Cafe is putting on a soul-fest to see your weekends out. Head to the Camden venue as Atlantic Soul Orchestra put on a show-stopping concert complete with all the big hits. Throw in a side of cocktails and Southern-style food and you've got a delicious night.
Found in the heart of Farringdon, The Piano Works is no-holds barred, non-stop live music venue in a Victorian, listed warehouse. Boasting late night antics and the space for 400 party goers, 2 pianists and accompanying musicians only play songs requested by you, the audience, for a night of music to remember.
Head over to West London for a taste of paradise as iconic pub Paradise By Way Of Kensal Rise puts on a series of amazing music nights. MJ Cole will be spinning the hottest RnB tunes while Notting Hill massive Norman Jay will be playing on Easter Sunday.
With an exposed-brick interior, cool Camden crowd and a great range of bands and singers, Camden Assembly is a perfect place for live music in London. Sundays are the night to listen to some of North London's newest talent as well as regulars on the scene. Lucky Chip are in residencies, snack on one of their delicious burgers as you bop along.
Bird of Smithfield is a premier private hire venue in London, where private functions with live music are held in a stunning, 5-floored Georgian townhouse. The Birdcage cocktail bar is a particular favourite; it’s an ideal spot for birthday parties, engagement celebrations and the like, with room for live music entertainment and further optional extras.
Head to Kansas Smitty's in East London and enjoy a night of great alternative live music, courtesy of The Thumping Tommys. The famous British folk band recreate the sounds of decades gone by, playing a medley of fun songs and showcasing the very best themes from Ireland and America's folk scene.
Located near theatreland and Oxford Street, The Hippodrome Casino is a unique central London venue. Join the swanky spot as they play host to a talented roster this summer, including the likes of The Tootsie Rollers, a band that add a swinging touch to classic tunes, along with The Eastcoast Boys, a Frank Valli & The Four Seasons tribute band.
Granted, Oriole’s exquisite cocktails and sharing plates are well worth the visit alone, but it’s the live music programme that really completes the picture. Tying in with the bar’s global theme, enjoy a soothing roster of jazz, swing and blues tunes at one of London’s finest cocktail bars.
As one of the most popular operas during the 1800s, Il Matrimonio Segreto has been delighting audiences for decades. Head to a beautiful London location to hear a new take on this old classic as it is brought to life in the Brunel Transport Museum, an old rectory and several other completely unique locations.
Hailed as one of East London's clubbing Mecca's, XOYO is a sought after destination for live gigs in London. Bringing in talent from not only across the UK but also internationally, you'll find legendary DJs taking you through to the early hours here as well as live sets from the like of Crazy P, Katy B, Mike Skinner and Ms Dynamite.
The Blues Kitchen brings mouth-watering Texan BBQ, bourbon cocktails and brass band tunes to Brixton’s thriving late-night scene. A dark cavern of old fashioned interiors and deep south style, this London blues music venue goes off at the weekends when live bands and DJs have the crowd dancing to vintage funk & soul, tooting horns and trumpets until 2am.
Through the Shutters – the new jazz, blues and swing venue in Greenwich – is opening its doors with a big bang. The taps are lined with the local beers, street food extraordinaires American Green will be serving up slow cooked ribs and brisket, all while 9 Below Zero play an amazing acoustic set. This is their only acoustic set of the year – so see it while you can.
Paul Simon is one of the biggest musical names in history, and there's a show dedicated to him in the heart of East London. Join The Transatlantic Ensemble as they head to XOYO for an affordable show of Paul Simon favourites.
Head down to Dirty Bones in Kensington every Thursday to be blown away by live performers singing everything from hip hop to old school classics. While listening to the brilliant music, order from their menu of New York comfort food which includes dishes such as a Mac n' Cheese burger topped with pulled pork or go for a boozy shake.
If there's one South London spot that always knows how to have a good time, it's Blues Kitchen Brixton. Join them any night of the week for live music from local blues bands, swing singers and DJs, guaranteed to keep you dancing the night away.
This extravagant bar in Mayfair is a high end experience for those wanting a lavish night out in the West End. With its vintage Hollywood style decor, special Cristal Champagne Towers and cool live band, Baroque is the bar to visit when you want to treat yourself to good live music in beautiful surroundings. Make sure you check out the luxurious Baroque for an atmospheric night out.
With regular lively appearances from the likes of The Wastemen, Keith Harkin and Nigel Thomas, The Candlemaker proves to be a wonderful and wacky rock and soul music venue in London. Priding itself on its community atmosphere, expect friendly and energetic evenings in a psychedelic setting. Inspired by a nearby candle factory, this place has some serious style.
With a live piano player and plenty of cocktails, Saturday Grooves at L'Etranger Piano Lounge is a cracking spot to party on the weekend. The Kensington restaurant serves up a fancy French fare, an excellent cocktail menu and plenty of fun vibes.
Looking for a unique bar for live music in London? Then it's time to tread in Shoreditch and discover this hidden gem in the rafters of Bedroom bar. One of the most charming bars in town thanks to their vintage nod to 1930s New Orleans, tuck into a regular roster of live music with jazz and soul acts a-plenty. Heck, gather round the piano if you must and sling back some heavy liquors too.
City Music Foundation are hosting a series of great live musical performances that showcase the talents of the best up and coming performers in Britain's classical music circles. Taking place at Kansas Smitty's in East London, the team's July showpiece will revolve around pianist Joe Houston, who'll play a number of famous songs, filling the air with quavering notes and boisterous tunes.
Head to the Tale Bar in Mayfair and enjoy an American-themed night out full of star-spangled banners and classic American songs. The live band will be the highlight of the night, playing all the classic songs we've come to associate with our younger cousins across the pond, while the venue's Playboy Bunnies serve American grub and cocktails until the wee hours.
Known for their live music and DJ nights, The Old Queen's Head in Angel is putting on another corker as they invite Shola Ama to come and play. The multi-award winning RnB singer will be performing tracks from her acclaimed album 'Much Love'.
Under The Bridge nestled beneath Stamford Bridge Football Stadium in Fulham is a hip-as hidey-hole accommodating all manner of entertainment. Stylish with a sick state-of-the-art sound system and lighting to match, this nightclub knows how to host live music in London. Showcasing a centre stage and a super-wide space to mosh, head-bop, fist-pump and swing you'll get your musical fix here alright.
Live music in London means plenty of booming gig venues, hardy concerts and big name acts, but what if you fancy some casual sounds on a night out in the city? Boasting their own music roster, The Half Moon in Putney is prime for indie acts and humble sounds all week long.
Recently crowned the third best bar in the world, Nightjar’s dazzling speakeasy atmosphere owes much to its live music schedule. Settle in for a night of highly innovative, multi-sensory cocktails on the side of a line-up of top vintage performers. Expect a discerning playlist of swing, jazz and acoustic blues with a New Orleans edge from this bar with live music in London.
If you love funk, soul, rock and blues music, you need to head to Blues Kitchen's weekly Saturday night of live music. This August, alongside a great soul, rock and funk performance by their resident band The Beekays, the night will revolve around a live concert by The Reelers. Grab a cocktail, sit back and watch the talented musicians strut their stuff on stage.
Hoxton Square has long been a huge hit with the Shoreditch crowd, and there’s a true gem of a live music venue right at the heart of it. Hoxton Square Bar & Kitchen serves food and drinks to its outdoor terrace, but really it’s best known for live music - with a regular line up of the best emerging bands on the scene right now. Don’t believe us? Florence + the Machine, Foals and Mumford & Sons have all graced the stage here before...
Adding some electric swing to your already lively Friday nights, the team at the Arcola Theatre serve Londoners a truly stunning night out in town. Guests will first take part in a dance class before watching a talented jazz band fill the air with quavering notes and trembling tunes. Grab that special someone, pull on your best pair of dancing shoes and head to Dalston.
Brixton Beach returns for summer 2017 and is bringing some of London's best DJ talent and live music with it. Head to South London to hang out on a beach complete with real sand, listen to some amazing music and work your way through their summery cocktails and street food.
Apples & Pears have carved out a stellar reputation for their acoustic sessions in London. This charming neighbourhood cocktail bar on Brick Lane welcomes a cracking array of local talent to the stage at their open mic nights, where guests head over to top up on Vietnamese street food, signature cocktails and a handful of intimate live tunes.
If you like your live music full of swing and fun and your music venues intimate, then the Lucky Pig is the spot for you. Located in Fitzrovia, this sexy spots hosts regular music nights; grab a cocktail and some bar snacks and settle in for a raucous evening.
Every Wednesday, the exclusive nightclub in Chelsea, Ju Ju, is putting on a night of live music featuring some of Chelsea's best performers. Grab yourself a delicious cocktail and tapas board and enjoy a relaxed evening at this Chelsea hotspot.
The Tropicana Beach Club is hosting a night dedicated to excellent tribute acts to the late, great George Michael. Guests are encouraged to dress up and get ready to party as they experience several sensational performances by George Michael and WHAM tribute acts.
Every Saturday night, this gem of a Wimbledon gastropub welcomes a different live music act to the stage. Entry is free, the bar is stocked full of everything from well-kept ales to the finest spirits and some of the most sought after wines from across the globe, while revellers ease themselves into the weekend against a backdrop of classic hits and today’s chart-toppers.
Recreating the sounds of Mos Def and Talib Kweli's Black Star album, the Unknown Orchestra will be playing live at the Jazz Cafe in Camden. Known for their thrilling live performances and creating a fun-loving atmosphere, the 9-piece orchestra will be showing off their skills by pairing iconic Hip Hop with soulful notes and melodies.
Inspired by the Parisian jazz clubs of old, the Toulouse Lautrec Jazz Club in South London is quickly rising up London's live music ladder. Hosting a handful of jazz and funk & soul bands throughout the months of April and March, the venue hopes to recreate the same electric energy that flowed through the vintage live music spots of the 1920s. Grab a drink, enjoy some delicious food and watch as the stage comes to life at this live music venue in London.
Get whisked away NYC style with jazz crooners serenading you as you wine and dine at this buzzy London bar and restaurant which is great for live music.
Jimmy Cannon will be in Megaro bar to explore the ‘Great British Songbook’ – all the songs British composers and singers from the golden age of songwriting, often associated with the golden era of Hollywood. Join one of the greatest jazz singers in the UK as he explores the deep range of these songs.
Welcoming a collection of the capital’s sweetest drag queens, the Cellar Door is the place to be for live music on a Monday Night in London. Tickets include a guaranteed seat and your first drink on the house, as a rota of top performers bring you the best in live music and alternative entertainment from a top West End cocktail bar.
Having made a reputation for itself by delivering amazing American-themed dishes and stunning whisky-based cocktails, the team at Blues Kitchen in Shoreditch now turn to focus on their live music. Across April and May, the venue will be showcasing live music performances from the likes of Ephemerals, The Blues Brothers and Soul Exchange.
Benoit Viellefon is bringing their huge gypsy-swing sounds to Soho as they take over legendary Ronnie Scott's. The band is inspired by 1920s Paris, as well as American greats, and will be playing their lively sounds for a night of fast-paced fun.
The group behind Night Tales have teamed up with Morty and Bob's toastie specialist to create a fun-loving bar in Hackney. The venue serves as a laid back cafe by day, but completely transforms itself after dark, when the DJs, live music and master mixologists behind the bar dial things up a bit.
Take a seat in the luxurious Salvatore's Bar in Mayfair and enjoy an afternoon tea alongside a background of London's best live music. Choose from a wonderful selection of home made, unique savouries, sandwiches and pastries accompanied by your choice of Te’Freddo Teapot Cocktails whilst bunnies hop to it with table service and ambient music is played on the piano.
The team at Powder Keg Diplomacy are pulling out all the stops, hosting live jazz and soul music every Sunday night for Londoners to enjoy. Guests will be able to relax and watch some of the capital's best live music performers show off their many musical talents, all the while drinking a stunning, hand-crafted cocktail.
Fans of Fleetwood Mac are in for a treat as the Transatlantic Ensemble are performing a unique orchestral rendition of one of their most famous albums. One of the most successful LPs ever released, the ensemble will capture the hedonism of one of the biggest party tracks of all time.
A King's Cross favourite for after work drinks and nights out with entertainment in London, The Star of Kings is quite the social hangout. A bit rough around the edges but boasting quite the legacy of live music sets in London, this pub has a Funktion One sound system for DJs and a decent stage set up for bands to rock out on.
Blues Kitchen boasts a live music programme that makes it the envy of Shoreditch. Talented live Rock & Roll bands and DJs take to the stage most evenings to showcase their skills long into the night (3am at weekends). The atmosphere is fantastic, the BBQ'd treats are delightful and the drinks flow all night so head here for a stomping night out with live music in London.