London is a bustling and vibrant city and it has become a haven for live music, not just centering around the Camden Town area. Lovers of gigs and concerts will truly be spoilt for choice when it comes to finding a venue to see some of their favourite music being performed, coupled with a lively atmosphere to match.
Half Moon, Putney
This charming pub venue has its roots in the classic folk scene of the 1960s but has hosted some of the biggest artists of the past fifty years, including U2, The Rolling Stones and Elvis Costello. Nowadays, it plays host to a vast range of acts, from established legends to the unsigned.
New Cross Inn, New Cross
This is a truly alternative venue which was once a fairly unremarkable Irish pub, but has now become home to lots of major artists who dominate the nu-rave scene. It hosts open-mic nights, all-ages shows and is a part of South London’s annual Rocklands festival.
The Hope & Anchor, Islington
This venue has been revamped since losing some of the charm that once made it a haunt of the Clash and the Stranglers. It is now a lively destination, hosting three-band bills on four nights of the week, as well as having pool tables and a great jukebox.
The Dublin Castle, Camden
Camden has a bustling scene and never is this more evident than during the Camden Crawl festival which is held there in the summer. The Dublin Castle is one of the anchoring venues of this event and plays host to all manner of acts, both big and small.
The Black Sheep, Croydon
Croydon has little to offer those in search of good live music but the Black Sheep bucks the trend, coupling up rock and indie nights with more alternative choices such as hip-hop, drum and bass and dubstep nights.
The George and Dragon, Old Street
Visiting this pub is certainly an experience. By day it is sedate and frequented by those in search of a quiet pint, but in the evening it draws in drag queens from across the city as well as famous faces such as Jarvis Cocker. The DJs here play some excellent and eclectic sets.
The Windmill, Brixton
Nestled among bars with a more commercial offering, the Windmill is an indie haven, with a bohemian style and a past line-up that includes Bloc Party and Guillemots. Not only is the music good, but the beer is cheap and the atmosphere lively.
The Old Blue Last, Shoreditch
This venue has been bestowed with the prestigious title of NME’s ‘coolest pub in the world’, while others have described its jukebox as the best in the country. Bands and DJs play every night and there have been some impressive surprise performances in the past too.
This is truly the place to come if you’re on the lookout for the ‘next big thing’. Many teenage bands that have gone on to great things have played here in the early part of their careers, including Bombay Bicycle Club and Cajun Dance Party.
Filthy McNasty’s Whiskey Caff, Angel
This pub has a rich musical heritage, with Pete Doherty working behind the bar at one point and rumours abound that it was once part-owned by Shane McGowan. Now it serves Thai food, plays host to Irish folk music and gets incredibly busy at weekends and Bank Holidays.
Both Londoners and visitors to the city will not be disappointed by the range of great live-music venues on offer, whether you want to catch someone cool and unsigned or a surprise performance by a major star.