21 best live music bars in London

From rock, pop and dance to jazz, house and reggae, London has a spectacular array of live music gigs in pubs and bars across the city.

See musicians hone their craft at live gigs at grassroots venues around the capital. Many famous bands performed live in London’s pubs and bars before hitting the big time.

Plan a night out at the best live music bars in London, with venues for lovers of anything from rock and pop to blues and electronic. 

Bars with live music 

1. Old Street Records

Crowds of people dance together at the red lit Old Street Records with neon lights in the backgroundJam along to the songs at Old Street Records, which sees live music performances throughout the week in Shoreditch. Fill up on a freshly made pizza from the bar’s kitchen, before heading to the dancefloor.

Location: 350-356 Old Street, London EC1V 9NQ

2. Ronnie Scott's

Low-lit interior of Ronnie Scott's jazz club in London

Groove to the music at the legendary Ronnie Scott’s, one of London’s most famous jazz clubs. Ronnie Scott’s still invites rising and already famous musicians to its stage, as it has since 1959.

Location: 47 Frith Street, London W1D 4HT

3. The Piano Works

Put in a request at The Piano Works in Farringdon, where the house musicians play only what the audience asks for. Write down your song of choice on a request slip to add it to the band's set list. The Piano Works also has a branch in the West End.

Location: 113-117 Farringdon Road, London EC1R 3BX

4. Notting Hill Arts Club

Blue lights illuminate singer on stage at Notting Hill Arts Club as crowd watchesListen to music of every genre at the Notting Hill Arts Club, which has niche nights tailored to specific tastes. Party the night away at this basement venue in west London.

Location: 21 Notting Hill Gate, London W11 3JQ

5. Scarfes Bar

A man in a suit plays piano as a blonde woman in a gold dress sings into microphoneInspired by the old-world sophistication of drawing rooms and gentlemen’s clubs, Scarfes Bar in Holborn puts on live jazz shows every night of the week. Watch the performance from the comfort of a snug velvet armchair surrounded by more than 1,000 antique books.

Location: Rosewood Hotel London, 252 High Holborn, London WC1V 7EN

6. Jumbi

Watch emerging DJs flick through records at laidback hi-fi bar, Jumbi. The venue serves up authentic African Caribbean dishes with a twist along with a creative cocktail menu including coriander martinis, watermelon margaritas and banana mai tais. 

Location: Unit 4.1 Copeland Park, 133 Copeland Road, London SE15 3SN

7. The Troubadour

A jazz band plays live music under red lights at The TroubadourEnjoy live music at The Troubadour, a long-standing bar in Earl's Court that’s seen the likes of Jimi Hendrix, Elton John and Bob Dylan grace its stage. The events calendar includes free and ticketed performances from folk, jazz and world music artists.

Location: 265-267 Old Brompton Road, London SW5 9JA

8. Next Door Records

Records are dotted around the whole venue with DJ decks and speakers

Order a cold craft beer or glass of natural wine at Next Door Records, an independently-owned live music and listening bar. Whether you'd rather hunt through records over a pastry in the morning or grab tickets to live music events and club nights – this little venue has it all.

Location: 304 Uxbridge Road, London W12 7LJ

9. Ain’t Nothin’ But Blues Bar

Head to Ain't Nothin' But Blues Bar for a hit of groovy music and speakeasy vibes in the centre of London. Watch talented musicians flock to the unassuming stage to serenade the small crowd of music-lovers every single day. 

Location: 20 Kingly Street, London W1B 5PZ

10. Wilton's Music Hall

View of Wilton's Auditorium from above with many preserved traditional features including a red curtain on stageStep into the past at Wilton’s Music Hall, the world’s last surviving grand Victorian music hall. The labyrinthine corridors hide a bar and plenty of space for seating, while a huge theatre space sees performances that include classical music and opera.

Location: 1 Graces Alley, London E1 8JB

11. The Blues Kitchen

Admire the eccentric decor that lines The Blues Kitchen in north London, made for lovers of bourbon, blues and rock'n'roll. Expect fantastic cocktails, daily live music and an extensive menu of Texas BBQ-style food.  

Location: 40 Acre Lane, London SW2 5SP

12. Oslo

Crowds dance and clap along to a live band on stage at Oslo HackneySet inside a former train station in Hackney, Oslo is an impressive space to watch live music. The venue puts on shows from pop and R&B artists, and its weekend club nights bring dance-happy crowds to east London.

Location: 1A Amhurst Road, London E8 1LL

13. Nightjar

Follow the stairs down to the dimly lit Nightjar in Shoreditch, where you'll discover a treasure trove of live music acts inside the intimate 1920s-inspired space. Order theatrical cocktails to your table and likely end your visit on the dancefloor!

Location: 129 City Road, London EC1V 1JB

14. Hootananny Brixton

Bring friends to dance along to a selection of genres at Hootananny Brixton. Set in one of the coolest south London boroughs, the venue boasts a pub, pool table, garden and live stage, an ideal spot to visit year-round.

Location: 95 Effra Road, London SW2 1DF

Live music pubs

15. The Dublin Castle

Discover the next big names at The Dublin Castle in Camden. The Dublin Castle has long been a launching pad for Britpop and indie musicians, and this stage has plenty of surprises in store.

Location: 94 Parkway, London NW1 7AN

16. The Old Blue Last

Beer taps and bar stools line the bar at The Old Blue LastFind a new favourite band at The Old Blue Last in Shoreditch. This bar has live music and DJs, usually on seven nights a week, and many shows are free to see.

Location: 38 Great Eastern Street, London EC2A 3ES

17. Shacklewell Arms

Scout up-and-coming music at The Shacklewell Arms in east London. This pub often puts on gigs by indie artists, and the welcoming crowd fills up the cosy space to cheer on the next act.

Location: 71 Shacklewell Lane, London E8 2EB

18. The Half Moon

Catch a live gig at The Half Moon pub in Putney, one of London’s oldest venues for live music. The Half Moon's storied history includes performances by the Rolling Stones and The Who. The pub has put on live shows almost every night of the week since the 1960s.

Location: 93 Lower Richmond Road, London SW15 1EU

19. The Lexington

A black and white image of a guitarist in the middle of a crowd at The LexingtonRock out upstairs at The Lexington, a pub in Islington known for its live music and huge selection of bourbon. The performances above the main bar tend to be rock’n’roll music, while the basement venue has more of a blues vibe.

Location: 96-98 Pentonville Road, London N1 9JB

20. Hope and Anchor

One of London’s best bars for rock and punk music since the 1970s, the Hope and Anchor in Islington has staged plenty of big-name performers, including Joy Division, The Clash and The Cure. With a capacity of just 80 gig-goers, the venue promises an intimate and personal experience.

Location: 207 Upper Street, London N1 1RL  

21. The Camden Assembly

Find a schedule of club nights and live shows from emerging indie bands in this popular north London pub. If pints of draught beer, humble pub food and an occasional mosh pit is what you're looking for – The Camden Assembly is it.

Location: 49 Chalk Farm Road, London NW1 8AN

Looking to carry on late in to the night? Check out the top London clubs, or discover the best jazz bars in the city.