Our beloved capital is famous for its music, and we’ve got countless different venues dotted across town showing everything from the biggest names in music to completely new and emerging acts. From spit and sawdust boozers to speakeasy-style joints, here’s our rundown of the best pubs with live music in London Town:
1. Amersham Arms, New Cross
Kicking off this roundup of the best pubs with live music is this author’s local, the Amersham Arms – a lively, ramshackle spot which proves extremely popular with Goldsmith’s students most days of the week. It’s open until 3am on the weekends and has a hidden 300-capacity venue out the back where bands, comedians and DJs do their thing until the wee hours.
This being a popular student pub, there are also great deals to be had here – including four shots for 12 quid – so if you’re in this neck of the woods and are wanting to get the party started, then this is a pretty good bet!
📍You’ll find the Amersham Arms at 388 New Cross Road, London, SE14 6TY.
🚇 Nearest station is New Cross.
2. The Shacklewell Arms, Dalston
A cosy room in the back of this Dalston-based pub really sees the coolest of indie bands perform. King Gizzard put on a killer performance here just hours before they took to the stage in front of 40 times more people at their sold out Ally Pally show. Solange Knowles has also DJ-ed at The Shacklewell Arms, and HAIM and Vance Joy have also played here in the past. Winner, winner.
📍You’ll find The Shacklewell Arms at 71 Shacklewell Lane, London, E8 2EB.
🚇 Nearest station is Dalston Kingsland.
3. New Cross Inn, New Cross
Another New Cross venue here, the New Cross Inn is famous for its ‘punk, ska and hardcore shows’, which are performed in its 350-capacity-venue seven nights of the week. Doubling as a backpackers’ hostel – perfect if you’re looking for somewhere to kip for the night – this place is always pretty lively and is open until 3am pretty much every night of the week! So if you’re looking for a party, then you know where to come…
📍You’ll find the New Cross Inn at 323 New Cross Road, London, SE14 6AS.
🚇 Nearest stations are New Cross and New Cross Gate.
4. Eastcheap Records, Fenchurch Street
Now we’ve all found ourselves here – looking for a spot in Central London to dance and can’t quite find the spot. Well, you’re in luck, as this spot near Fenchurch Street station is the place to go if you’re wanting some live music and are near The City.
They’ve got some excellent cocktails on offer here, as well as 2-4-1 pizza deals, and a whole gamut of live music on throughout the week. There’s something for everyone here, so see what takes your fancy!
📍You’ll find Eastcheap Records at 20 Eastcheap, London, EC3M 1EB.
🚇 Nearest stations are Fenchurch Street and Monument.
5. The Bootlegger, Monument
The Bootlegger in Monument is designed to emulate the Prohibition era of 1920’s America, and it’s definitely cemented itself as one of the capital’s best speakeasies. Another spot right in The City, it’s got an array of different bands on the bill who are regulars here.
Playing everything from Bob Dylan to Beyonce covers, this place always turns it up a notch, so make sure you strap in for a night out on the tiles! Don’t forget a glass of moonshine or two…
📍You’ll find The Bootlegger at 25-26 Lime Street, London, EC3M 7HR.
🚇 Nearest stations are Fenchurch Street and Monument.
6. The Hoop and Grapes, Aldgate
Another one of the best pubs with live music here, The Hoop and Grapes is also one of the oldest pubs in London. It’s so old in fact that there’s not a right angle in sight here! Built in 1593, it managed to escape being destroyed in the Great Fire of London, and they sometimes have some live music on here. Talk about atmospheric or what…
📍You’ll find The Hoop and Grapes at 47 Aldgate High Street, London, EC3N 1AL.
🚇 Nearest stations are Aldgate and Aldgate East.
7. Skehan’s, Nunhead
A real South London institution, Skehans Free House call themselves the ‘purveyors of craic’, and you can’t really argue with them if we’re honest. Easygoing and affordable, this Irish gem attracts all manner of patrons, and they are one of the few remaining independent, family-run pubs left within the South London region.
With regular live music, karaoke, quiz nights, sports on the screens, a Thai restaurant and a hidden, fairy light-dappled garden out back, it’s a real bloody winner in our books and one of the best pubs with live music in the capital.
📍You’ll find Skehans at 1 Kitto Road, London, SE14 5TW.
🚇 Nearest station is Nunhead.
8. The Lexington, Angel
Your classic London boozer, turned lounge bar…turned Rock’n’Roll party. After enjoying their award winning food, and American craft beers, head upstairs at this legendary music venue for the latest and greatest bands, before dancing the night away as the DJs spin everything from 20’s Jazz to post-punk and the newest indie jams.
A five-minute walk from Angel, and a ten-minute walk from Kings Cross, The Lexington is one of the most connected spots to watch bands in our beloved capital. Plus, with a capacity of just around 200, it’s a cosy spot to get down and dirty.
📍You’ll find The Lexington at 96-98 Pentonville Road, London, N1 9JB.
🚇 Nearest station is Angel.
9. The Old Blue Last, Shoreditch
To be considered the ‘best live music venue in London’ is quite an achievement, especially for a space of this size. A quirky mix of legendary acts have graced this stage (um hello Amy Winehouse, Arctic Monkeys and Florence & The Machine), but history was made here long before performances at The Old Blue Last – one of Shoreditch’s best boozers.
Once a former brothel, it was also known as a hang-out spot of the legendary playwright Shakespeare himself. Does that make this the coolest venue then in London? Either way, we should respect it, it is hundreds of years old after all…
📍You’ll find The Old Blue Last at 38 Great Eastern Street, London, EC2A 3ES.
🚇 Nearest station is Shoreditch High Street.
10. The Sebright Arms, Hackney
‘Bands. Beers. Quizzes’. The first three words on this East London pub’s website are like music to our bloody ears. Your local boozer that also doubles up as the host to artists fresh on the scene – Catfish and the Bottleman, Charlie XCX and Hinds all started off playing at this Cambridge Heath venue.
Miles Kane and Jamie T once joined forces here to play a gig, which isn’t something you’d ordinarily see. Plus, their food is pretty bangin’, and it’s even made for ‘f**king vegans’ – since one of their burgers is called this. Winner, winner.
📍You’ll find The Sebright Arms at 31-35 Coate Street, London, E2 9AG.
🚇 Nearest station is Cambridge Heath.
11. The Dublin Castle, Camden
When it comes to places in Camden to grab a pint or two, then you’d be hard pressed to find anywhere better than The Dublin Castle. A stalwart of Camden’s indie scene, it’s a place where band posters are plastered all over the walls and where the beer is flowing until the wee hours every night of the week.
📍You’ll find The Dublin Castle at 94 Parkway, London, NW1 7AN.
🚇 Nearest station is Camden Road.
12. The Half Moon, Putney
This Rock’n’Roll pub in Putney is billed as ‘the best place to see live music in South West London’, and it’s easy to see why. Iconic bands like U2, the Rolling Stones and The Who have all played here, and they’ve got a show on every night of the bloomin’ week too.
📍You’ll find The Half Moon at 93 Lower Richmond Road, Putney, London, SW15 1EU.
🚇 Nearest stations are Putney and Putney Bridge.
13. Hope & Anchor, Islington
An Islington stalwart here and certainly one of the best pubs with live music, the Hope & Anchor is based right off bustling Upper Street and is famous for its fantastic selection of cask ales and basement bar, which regularly plays host to live bands.
Legendary bands like U2, The Police, The Stranglers and Madness first started out here, and there’s a rock jukebox in the main bar too. Heck, they’ve even got a theatre here too! What doesn’t this place have…
📍You’ll find the Hope & Anchor at 207 Upper Street, Islington, N1 1RL.
🚇 Nearest station is Highbury and Islington.
14. Matchstick Piehouse, Deptford
Hidden away down a narrow side street in another one of Deptford’s railway arches, the Matchstick Piehouse is a community-owned, multi-use arts space-come-pub that has everything from jazz nights and gigs to cabaret performances and theatre too.
With affordable pints (£4!) a resident cat and some of the best pie and mash you’ll find South of the river (the name could be a bit of a giveway), it’s a great spot to come to when you’re in this part of town. Check out their listings page for all the up-to-date event details and upcoming listings.
📍You’ll find Matchstick Piehouse at the Railway Arches, 213-214 Edward Street, SE8 5HD.
🚇 Nearest station is Deptford.
15. The Three Crowns, Stoke Newington
This historic spot has been standing in Stoke Newington since the 1600’s, and it was originally named the Cock and Harp before it was renamed to The Three Crowns to complement James I, with the three crowns representing England, Scotland and Ireland too.
As well as some excellent food and drinks, they’ve also got a downstairs venue billed ‘The Waiting Room’ which ‘aims to bring the best grassroots artists to the area’. On Fridays and Saturdays, you’ll also be able to hear some top-of-the-range electronic music until the wee hours. Bring your dancing shoes.
📍You’ll find The Three Crowns at 175 Stoke Newington High Street, London, N16 0PE.
🚇 Nearest station is Stoke Newington.
16. Troubadour, Earl’s Court
If you ever find yourself in the Earl’s Court area of town and are looking to watch some live music, then you could do worse than heading to the Troubadour on Old Brompton Road. It’s seen the likes of music legends Jimi Hendrix, Adele, Elton John and Bob Dylan grace its stage throughout the past – and for good reason.
Established back in 1954, it offers ‘London’s original, and last remaining, independent live music from the coffee-house era’ – and they offer both free and ticketed performances of Jazz, Folk and much more besides.
📍You’ll find the Troubadour at 265-267 Old Brompton Road, SW5 9JA.
🚇 Nearest stations are West Brompton and Earl’s Court.
17. Dingwalls, Camden
Dingwalls opened back in 1973 under the name ‘Dingwalls Dance Hall’ before becoming known for its lively jazz club ‘Talkin’ Loud and Saying Something’ in the 90s, which was run by Gilles Peterson and Patrick Forge. Nowadays it holds a special place in the hearts of many music lovers—with regular gigs and events still being held there.
Previously known as Powerhaus, it’s now home to a 500-capacity music venue and a smaller one which regularly puts on unsigned artists. So, if you’re looking for the next big thing, then this is the place to come!
📍You’ll find Dingwalls at East Yard, 11 Camden Lock Place, London, NW1 8AL.
🚇 Nearest stations are Camden Town and Chalk Farm.
18. Camden Assembly, Camden
A bar, a live music venue, a nightclub, and a damn good boozer to boot – what more could you want from your music venues, hey?! Contrary to its title, the closest tube station to the Camden Assembly is actually Chalk Farm, but wherever you’re coming from – you’ll never miss the red neon light on the front of the pub luring you in for a full night of music madness…
📍You’ll find the Camden Assembly at 49 Chalk Farm Rd, Chalk Farm, London, NW1 8AN.
🚇 Nearest station is Chalk Farm.
19. Oslo, Hackney
Rounding off this list of the best pubs with live music in London Town is somewhere which actually isn’t reallyyyyy a pub. Oslo occupies an old railway arch right under Hackney Central station, and it’s more of a club/bar than an actual pub. But with a capacity of around 375, it’s a great spot to catch some live music when you’re in East London, so we figured we might as well include it. Plus the grub is bloomin’ delicious.
📍You’ll find Oslo at 1A Amhurst Road, London, E8 1JB.
🚇 Nearest station is Hackney Central.
So there you have it – a roundup of the best pubs with live music in London Town. So, if you’re looking to see a new indie band or have a boogie to a DJ on the decks, then you know where to head!