16 Gig Venues That Will Guarantee A Great Night

music venues in london

London’s music scene is pretty unrivalled when it comes to variety, from the down-and-dirty rock ‘n’ roll clubs that have been going since the 60s to new venues championing talents both established and up-and-coming. We love a good live music sesh and whether you want to get amongst in the mosh pit or toe tap at a jazz bar, there’s bound to be a venue to satisfy your tastes. Here are the best music venues in London…

Top Music Venues In London For A Wild Night Out

O2 Forum Kentish Town

From a 1930’s art deco theatre to a 1970’s dance and bingo hall and a 1980’s Town and Country Club, the Kentish Town Forum has more lives than Keith Richards.

Just up from London’s most famous music district, Camden, Kentish Town is a little quieter and perfect for pre-gig drinks.

The art deco building still boasts its original features, although the floors are a little more beer soaked these days. Now under the behemoth that is the O2 brand, the Forum plays host to sell-out artists, newcomers, comedy stars and puts on club nights, too.

9-17 Highgate Rd, NW5 1JY

Islington Assembly Hall

Islington is Camden’s tamer younger sister when it comes to the music scene – there is tonnes going on but the leafy part of North London doesn’t shout about it.

And Islington Assembly Hall is one of its gems – a Grade II listed spot with capacity for up to 800, so the shows feel more intimate than the likes of the Forum or the Academy.

Understated it may be but there have been some pretty cool goings on inside those doors. The top probably being in 2015, when Ray and Dave Davies from The Kinks put their differences aside and reformed for an extra special performance.

Islington Assembly Hall, Upper St, Islington, London N1 2UD

100 club - music venues in london
Photo credit: Jamie MacMillan
100 club - music venues in london
Photo credit: Andreia Lemos

100 Club

With headline spots that have boasted the Sex Pistols, The Clash, The Jam, The Specials, Alice Cooper and the Rolling Stones, it’s no wonder this Oxford Street institution has been a go-to for music fans since 1964.

Today the entrance is hidden and accessed by a modern office building which feels frightfully uncool, but get inside and it still feels as punkish as it did in the 70s, intimate in the walls are sweating kind of way and inherently subversive. Prepare to get hot and up close and personal with both the crowd and the band.

100 Club, Century House, 100 Oxford St, Fitzrovia, London W1D 1LL


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Hackney Empire

Built as a music hall way back in 1901, Hackney Empire is without a doubt one of the most beautiful music venues in London. Before the lights dim you can’t help but take in the intricate, gilded walls of its lofty heights.

It’s extraordinarily atmospheric, no doubt due to its rich history that hangs in the air – performers have included everyone from Charlie Chaplin to Russell Brand (it plays host to theatre and comedy, too), Pete Doherty and Carl Barat to a wealth of local arts and theatre productions.

Hackney Empire, 291 Mare St, London E8 1EJ

Electric Ballroom

You can’t move for gig goers in Camden and a shed load of them are probably heading to the Electric Ballroom. The building is nothing much to write home about, but the energy is always, well, electric.

You can count on it delivering huge acts such as Beck and Prince (the star played one of his last London gigs ever here), as well as cool newcomers. After hours, expect a wealth of tongue in cheek club nights like ‘Bring It Back’, where the DJs pump out guilty pleasure bangers from your formative years.

184 Camden High St, Camden Town, London NW1 8QP

union chapel- music venues in london

Union Chapel

If you want atmosphere Highbury’s Union Chapel has it by the shed load. The grand, gothic (and still working) church moonlights as a gig venue come nightfall and once you’ve seen a performance there, you’ll never forget it.

Union Chapel, 19b Compton Terrace, London N1 2UN

Ronnie Scott’s

Legendary jazz musician Ronnie Scott opened his eponymous club back in 1959 and to this day it remains one of Soho’s best-loved spots. Any jazz musician worth their salt has played there and any self-confessed jazz fan has been to watch a show.

Inside, the deep red walls, velvety booths and low-lit table lamps make it feel exactly what a jazz club should be.

Head there for the Late Late Show, a relaxed 50’s speakeasy vibe that goes on until the small hours for an up-close and personal jazz jam session.

47 Frith Street, Soho, W1D 4HT

Jazz Café

In the same vein, head north to Camden’s Jazz Café for an equally iconic institution. Every night of the week they bring Londoners the best of homegrown and global talent across jazz, soul and reggae.

Make a night of it and book into the restaurant that’s actually pretty decent, before dancing the night away for some of the most gifted live musicians in the city and beyond.

Jazz Café, 5 Parkway, Camden Town, London NW1 7PG


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This thoroughly modern music venue brings together the leading, the rising and the most important cultural talents in London. They often couple performances with book signings or put on one-off gigs that you won’t find anywhere else.

Check them out if you’re a fan of spoken word, poetry, offbeat comedy and, of course, music. But be aware that the amphitheatre-style seating is incredibly uncomfortable (take a jumper to sit on), cosy (you’ll be squeezed up next to strangers) and unallocated… but who cares?

EartH, 11-17 Stoke Newington Road, Dalston, London N16 8BH

Moth Club

Its glitter-covered ceiling and garish gold fringe curtains make Moth look like a bad taste party but we love it. Sweaty, raucous nights happen here thanks to its ‘anything goes’ attitude amongst Hackney’s hipsters.

Check out their listings for new music inspiration, album launches and quirky club nights.

Moth Club, Old Trades Hall, Valette Street, London E9 6NU


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Southbank Centre

Culture vultures get their kicks at the Southbank Centre, where a cornucopia of listings take place each week. Gig-wise, there are some pretty cool, curated events taking place, namely, the annual Meltdown Festival which has previously been curated by the likes of Jarvis Cocker, Massive Attack, David Byrne and Robert Smith.

Belvedere Road, London, SE1 8XX, United Kingdom

Eventim Apollo

Right across from the Hammersmith Station lies the Eventim Apollo. The theatre itself has been there since 1932 which explains the art deco motifs within its walls. The best part about this venue is the sense of intimacy despite being surrounded by 3,000 others. Even if you are seated in the last row of the second level, you still feel close to the artists and have an incredible view. 

A gig at the Eventim Apollo has something to offer everyone who chooses to attend a show. If it’s been a long day and you aren’t necessarily standing in a pit full of people mood, the higher level offers comfortable seating and great views. But if your favourite artist is playing and you must be front row of the pit, there is definitely an opportunity for that

45 Queen Caroline Street, London, W6 9QH



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The Windmill Brixton

Offering seven nights a week of different gigs from all kinds of genres, The Windmill is the ideal indie spot for up-and-coming artists. This small venue specialises in raw talent and giving artists opportunities to showcase their music. Some nights at this venue are free entry while others range from £5 to £10.

With an open mind and appreciation for live music, it’s impossible to have a bad night at The Windmill.

22 Blenheim Gardens, Brixton Hill, London SW2 5BZ



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This iconic spot isn’t one to be skipped over. Ever since 1900, this Camden venue has been entertaining people. Starting off as a theatre and a cinema and eventually transforming into a gig venue, Koko has seen it all. The stage has been played by many musical greats from The Rolling Stones to Elton John and Ed Sheeran. It’s a lot bigger than expected and offers plentiful standing space at all levels. 

Not to mention, it is beautiful. A massive disco ball hangs above the audience and all of the walls are a deep red with gold accents. It is the perfect place to see an artist you love and appreciate London’s musical history.

1a Camden High St, London NW1 7RE

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The Garage

Up in Highbury, The Garage has been an influential part of the indie and rock scene since the early 90s. This venue is considered to be a rite of passage for many performers as it is where many famous bands like The Killers and Green Day played on their way to fame. To this day, it still serves as a cultural hub for all kinds of shows on most days of the week.

With a capacity of a mere 600, any show at The Garage comes with an intimate view of the stage and maybe even the possibility of being front row. 

20-22 Highbury Corner, London, N5 1RD


There’s something special about watching an up-and-coming artist perform. If you end up leaving as a fan, the show feels like more than just another gig. When you feel as if you want to share in this experience, Omeara is the place where it can happen. With a capacity of 320 people, every show here has the purpose of showcasing someone new within the London music scene.

With a venue this small and a guarantee of an impressive underground artist, every gig here is irreplaceable.

6 O’Meara St, London, SE1 1TE

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