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 26th September 2016
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.
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...
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.
A grand casino in the centre of Leicester Square, the Hippodrome Casino is more than an oasis for gamblers and has a number of different features for guests of all kind. Boasting six bars (with 24 hour license), a 24-hour food service and regular live music nights, it provides the whole package right in the heart of the City.
Regular live music nights play host to jazz, blues and rockabilly acts to give you a healthy dose of fun time retro inspired entertainment. This bar in Clapham serves a great pickleback (a shot of pickle juice followed by a shot of bourbon... we know) and boasts a vintage diner-esque interior. A pretty heaving place to be come nightfall, this music bar in London is a must-try.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Hiding in various forests around London, Campfire Club is an evening of enchanting music around a fire. Hear folk and acoustic artists in the great outdoors, using the trees and natural space as their venue. There will also be a fully stocked bar, sing-alongs and story telling.
For live music with a whole heap of fun, head to Peckham on a Friday night. Fiddle Pardiddle are a trio of musicians who light up the dance floor with traditional jigs and nu-wave takes on old songs. A caller will lead you through the moves for a ceilidh and there will be a discerning selection of local ales.
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.
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.
Throw London’s wildest ceilidh band together with this vibrant Balham pub and you’ve got yourself a raucous evening out. Fiddle Paradiddle take the stage to serve up a foot-stomping, hand-clapping session of alternative tunes, and with expert callers on hand throughout, it doesn’t matter if you’ve never given it a try before, this is one of the best band nights in London to experience.
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.
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.
Rise46 has a whole host of live music throughout the week. Whether it's acoustic sets, live Jazz, up and comers, singer songwriters, or well known artists; you will be guaranteed a musical treat at Rise46. All alongside some fantastic cocktails, in a cool and relaxed setting - Rise46 really is the best Clapham bar for live music.
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.
The Piano Bar private members club in Soho is opening its doors to host an evening of smooth jazz music and signature hand crafted cocktails, all in a sultry 20s speakeasy setting. For just £10 you can be shmoozed for the night by live jazz performers plucked from the best in Europe whilst sipping on some sumptuous drinks.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
We're not entirely sure who came up with the idea of a candlelit Halloween concert in a cemetery. But one thing we can be certain of is that we're all going to be you looking over your shoulder and sleeping with the lights on after this terrifying event. Picture the scene; a low-lying fog blankets the entire cemetery, while the eerie sound of the Tuesday Weld's unique old jazz/contemporary electronic sound fills the air with quavering notes. Spine chilling, we know!
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.
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.
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 1920s speakeasy-style supperclub Proud Cabaret City to witness one of the best London burlesque shows set to a backdrop of stunning live jazz music and a vintage-inspired three course meal. DJs then take over centre stage as the night heats up and the party lingers on into the early hours.
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.
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.
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.
Shaker and Company is one London's finest cocktail bars but also hosts acoustic sessions on Wednesdays and on Thursday, live blues sessions. Shaker and Company in Euston has New Orleans soul décor and feel, imagine listening to blues and drinking the mouthwatering cocktails in the lovely soulful environment. Perfect for having a calm live music night out in London with a couple of friends or impressing a date.
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.
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.
Effortlessly charming with its Parisian speakeasy feel, The Reading Room hosts secluded singalongs every Saturday. This is an intimate, candlelit hideaway churning out cocktails and a dedicated absinthe menu. Keeping to its vintage style, the stage is for melodic artists and soothing tunes from around 9pm making for an intimate live music set in London.
How about a four-course dinner and a big helping of swinging live jazz as you eat? Then head to north London for a night of fun at Elmore Jam a unique dining concept that takes place in Islington. Basement Gallery, the team behind The Underground Supperclub, will be cooking a Scandi inspired feast.
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.
Taking you back to a time of smokey Jazz bars, swinging soul singers and Charleston jives, the Piano Works in Farringdon offers its guests a night bursting full of splendid singing and dubious dancing. Based in a Victorian warehouse, this place fills with the sound of jazz music in London playing swing songs from yesteryear as well as classic adaptations of your favourite chart hits!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Primed for those looking for a hidden London gem, The Piano Bar is a brooding vintage space of some of the best live jazz in the city. Head on down to this private members club and indulge in all things swing and sass in this retro and sophisticated space.
Taking to the opulent Rah Rah Rooms in Soho for their biggest show to date, join vocal powerhouse group LaSharVu for an incredible performance of soulful tracks, followed by an almighty after-party of big tunes and fun-time vibes.