London's best venues for rock music

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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...

Users say

6 comments
Ed
Ed

What about West?

Stevie
Stevie

Ginglik and Fighting Cocks would be up there for West London, had West London been included of course...

Lenny George
Lenny George

shurely the 100 Club should've been included....

Gary
Gary

You really should include The Wilmington Arms in Clerkenwell. In particular the monthly Bam Thwok night.

Greg
Greg

The Good Ship in Kilburn should be on this list!

Lucia
Lucia

Hi, I need just to know where are the best rock places or pubs in London for going to play with my stoner-rock band. Thanks a lot