London's best venues for rock music

Our selection of the capital's best places for guitar based gigging

The Old Blue Last - the place to see 'secret' gigs from high-profile bands The Old Blue Last - the place to see 'secret' gigs from high-profile bands - © Daniel Knott

Metal-head, emo enthusiast, alt.rocker, punk fan or indie popster? Here's our pick of London's most reliable rock venues, invaluable whatever your tribe.

Central

  • Madame JoJo's

    8-10 Brewer St, London, W1F 0SE (www.madamejojos.com)

    Madame JoJo's specialises in – but by no means limits itself to – showcases from emerging maj...

  • Heaven

    Under The Arches, off Villiers St, WC2N 6NG (www.heaven-live.co.uk)

    When it opened its doors in 1979, Heaven was revolutionary. London's first gay superclub, it was ...

North

  • Barfly

    49 Chalk Farm Rd, London, NW1 8AN (www.barflyclub.com)

    It's no exaggeration to describe this corner venue as an institution, since it's welcomed across ...

  • Buffalo Bar

    259 Upper St, London, N1 1RU (www.buffalobar.co.uk)

    Located literally next door to Highbury & Islington tube station, underneath the Famous Cock Tave...

  • Dingwalls (Lock 17)

    Middle Yard, Camden Lock, London, NW1 8AB (www.dingwalls.com)

    The doors of this north London institution first opened in 1973 and countless illustrious bands h...

  • Electric Ballroom

    184 Camden High St, London, NW1 8QP (www.electricballroom.co.uk)

    Located right next door to Camden Town tube station, the Ballroom is still dining out on its (adm...

  • The Enterprise

    2 Haverstock Hill, London, NW3 2BL (www.camdenenterprise.com)

    Billing itself as 'the one and only true pub left in Camden', this warm (there's a fire in winter...

  • The Garage/Upstairs at The Garage

    20-22 Highbury Corner, London, N5 1RD (www.thegarage.co.uk)

    The capacity of this north London venue's main room is around 600, while its sibling venue, Upsta...

  • Koko

    1a Camden High St, London, NW1 7JE (www.koko.uk.com)

    With its colossal mirror ball as the ceiling centrepiece, its painted gargoyles and steep tiered ...

  • The Lexington

    96-98 Pentonville Rd, London, N1 9JB (www.thelexington.co.uk)

    If you're after a mixture of underground sounds and a lounge space where you can actually hear wh...

  • Roundhouse

    Chalk Farm Rd, London, NW1 8EH (www.roundhouse.org.uk)

    A one-time railway turntable shed, the Roundhouse was used for experimental theatre and hippie ha...

  • The Underworld

    174 Camden High St, NW1 0NE (www.theunderworld.camden.co.uk)

    Housed in the basement of the World's End pub, the aptly named Underworld has seen a serious amo...

East

  • 93 Feet East

    150 Brick Lane, London, E1 6RU (www.93feeteast.co.uk)

    The booking policy of this venue – which took its name from an old surveying plaque on the peri...

  • The Camp

    70-74 City Rd , London, EC1Y 2BJ (www.thecamplondon.com)

    This venue occupying a former Chinese restaurant stands for the City Arts and Music Project, boas...

  • Cargo

    83 Rivington St, London, EC2A 3AY (www.cargo-london.com)

    One of east London's few purpose-built venues, Cargo launched with very much a clubbing profile, ...

  • Hoxton Square Bar & Kitchen

    2-4 Hoxton Square, London, N1 6NU (www.hoxtonsquarebar.com)

    One of the Hoxton originals, Hoxton Square Bar & Kitchen has seen plenty of action in its time. S...

  • The Macbeth

    70 Hoxton St, London, N1 6LP (www.themacbethuk.co.uk)

    Tumbledown old boozer with a roof 'garden' (read: smoking/breathing space) dedicated to giving yo...

  • The Nest (formerly Bardens Boudoir)

    36-44 Stoke Newington Rd, London, N16 7XJ (www.ilovethenest.com)

    Opened in October 2010, The Nest now boasts an industrial chic look and (mercifully) more salubri...

  • The Old Blue Last

    38 Great Eastern St, London, EC2A 3ES (www.theoldbluelast.com)

    Owned and operated by über-cool magazine Vice this corner venue was in the not too distant past ...

  • Rough Trade East

    Dray Walk, off Brick Lane, London, E1 6QL (www.roughtrade.com)

    Like its sister store in W11, the newest addition to the RT stable welcomes live performers of pr...

  • XOYO

    32-37 Cowper St, London, EC2A 4AP (www.xoyo.co.uk)

    The main performance area (capacity around 800) is downstairs and features a high ceiling, three ...

South

  • The Windmill

    22 Blenheim Gardens, London, SW2 5BZ (www.windmillbrixton.co.uk)

    'We didn't set out to be a venue as such, but live music at the Windmill just kinda evolved,' cla...

  • Jamm

    261 Brixton Rd, London, SW9 6LH (www.brixtonjamm.org)

    Spread over two rooms and with around 600 capacity, this air-conditioned venue was a welcome addi...