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Top 10 Best Bars & Clubs for London Gigs and Live Music

Picture of Top 10 Best Bars & Clubs for London Gigs and Live Music

The scene around live music in London has a proud heritage, taking in the post-war jazz boom which in turn begat the modernist movement, the coffee bar scene that spawned Britain’s own mutant version of rock and roll – not to mention punk, and its many offspring. Today the city promises an eclectic choice of destinations for the discerning gig-goer. Fluid London has had a strokey beard meeting and decided on what we perceive as the Top 10 best bars, pubs and clubs for London gigs. Now, let's rock!

Image of Dublin Castle


Yep, you heard correctly - Amy Winehouse and Suggs (of Madness) served stints behind this legendary bar when they weren't taking to the mic and rocking the house down, naturally. Camden's Dublin Castle has proved the epicentre of indie cool for more than 28 years, run by the same family and offering four bands in their live lounge every single night. We could sprinkle more names - Blur, The Killers, Billy Bragg - but we'd run out of room. There's also a fabulous juke box.

Image of The Blues Kitchen Shoreditch

Bar / Restaurant / Club

Shoreditch's own juicy cut of burly Americana does exactly what it says on the tin, serving up live blues bands, jam sessions and DJs for your ears most nights of the week, and down-home bluesy bites for your taste-buds every day. Jambalaya, chilli, burgers, smoke chicken and ribs are all on offer, as, at weekends, is that most famous blues ("Woke up this morning, life treatin' me mean, so went out for a cup of tea, and some fresh Eggs Florentine"). Rooms with private bars and personal DJ booths are available for party hire.

Image of The Lexington

Angel & Islington
Bar / Restaurant / Club

Live music in Angel - The Lexington has won over London's gig-goers with the promise of good times, a top range of booze and even better music. Bourbon (of which there are 80 types), scotch and American craft brewery beers feature strongly on the drinks menu, suggesting that John Lee Hooker's spirit lives on; the high calibre live music in the 300-capacity club upstairs also sticks faithfully to the Americana theme: mainly guitar focused; always rock n' roll, indie or hip-hop music.

Image of O2 Academy Islington

Angel & Islington
Bar / Club

If your idea of cool is plinky-plonky piano music and overpriced champagne cocktails, don't go here. Seriously, this isn't the venue for you. If you can put up with sticky floors, and teenagers wearing too much eyeliner, maybe it is. You'll feel like the oldest person in the world for about an hour until the watery lager kicks in, then you'll have a great laugh, and dance drunkenly at the sell-out club nights.

Image of Ain't Nothing But Blues


Forget Nashville, forget New Orleans; at least when you're this side of the Atlantic. This little bar off Regent Street has most definitely got the blues, so you don't have to. Packed to the grafittied rafters with live music every night - plus a cheeky extra dollop of burlesque the first Sunday of every month - the roof barely stays on this joint. It opened in the 90s, and big names - ranging from John Primer to the Ian Siegal Band - have stolen the show here.

Image of The Troubadour

Bar / Restaurant

A true slice of London's history, Troubadour has been serving up live music alongside fine coffee and best brunches since 1954. The private cellar beneath the club started life as a folk venue and now maintains its reputation for original music and the spoken word. Yes, they do poetry readings too. Before you scoff,  Bob Dylan, Jimi Hendrix, Joni Mitchell, Paul Simon, Elvis Costello and more recently Adele have all performed here.

Image of Jazz Cafe


Offering live music 7 nights a week, Jazz Cafe in Camden is one of the most iconic venues in London for music-lovers. Amy Winehouse, Adele and Bobby Womack have all performed here. Their recent focus is on more up and coming acts; apart from supporting jazz musicians, they also welcome soul and reggae artists along with other genres that tend to get less airtime. The venue also has restaurant and bar spaces for those hungry and thirsty music-lovers.

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