The best music venues in London: the full list
The city's 20 best places to see live music, as voted by Time Out readers
Mon Mar 26 2012
The 20 best music venues in London
Although the venue has vacillated between use as a picturehouse and concert hall, the Scala’s one consistent trait has been its lack of respect for authority.
- 275-277 Pentonville Rd, N1 9NL
The plucky 20,000-seater has proved the critics wrong and established itself as the capital’s de facto home of the megagig.
- Peninsula Square, SE10 0DX
The Forum became a music venue in the early 1980s, and its size and location mean it’s been vital to generations of London gig-goers.
- 9-17 Highgate Rd, NW5 1JY
Given its reputation, you wouldn’t think the Jazz Café was a newbie on London’s music map, but it was only converted from a branch of Barclays in 1990.
- 5 Parkway, NW1 7PG
It might look like it was built in 1920s Uzbekistan (then turned inside out) but the Barbican is about to celebrate its thirtieth birthday.
- Silk St, EC2Y 8DS
The building’s baroque interior exudes a grown-up glamour few venues can match.
- Shepherd's Bush Green, W12 8TT
These days it's a hub for blues rockers, pub rockers and trad jazzers, coming into its own for secret gigs by A-list bands.
- 100 Oxford St, W1D 1LL
The Shacklewell Arms occupies the position in fashionable hearts that was held by the Old Blue Last in the past.
- 71 Shacklewell Lane, E8 2EB
Opened by British saxophonist Ronnie Scott in 1959, Ronnie’s has since amassed as much history as the British Museum.
- 47 Frith St, W1D 4HT
Although it’s as east London as pretending to like pie and mash, XOYO is a venue in the un-grand New York tradition.
- 32-37 Cowper St, EC2A 4AP
Poor old Ally Pally: this landmark hilltop venue opened in 1873 as The People’s Palace, but it’s been devastated by fire twice.
- Alexandra Palace Way, N22 7AY
The Roundhouse was built in 1846 as a turntable shed for steam engines, and the venue has married beauty with beastly behaviour ever since.
- Chalk Farm Rd, NW1 8EH
There are few venues in the city you could visit on spec at any time and be guaranteed to hear something interesting.
- 11 Gillett Square, N16 8AZ
Besides its astonishing acoustics and an atmosphere which rivals the Vatican, its elegance makes the venue feel like part of the performance.
- Kensington Gore, SW7 2AP
Camden features heavily in London’s pop history, but Koko has had a hand in the gestation of numerous sounds and styles over the decades.
- 1a Camden High St, NW1 7JE
This art deco gem straddles the chasm between the pomp of a stadium show and the intimate atmosphere of a club.
- 211 Stockwell Rd, SW9 9SL
This is where the hottest US exports will generally make their London debut.
- 96-98 Pentonville Rd, N1 9JB
The Windmill is certainly not your average music venue, but its unprepossessing exterior is a cloak for its dedication to new leftfield music.
- 22 Blenheim Gardens, SW2 5BZ
Headquarters of the English Folk Dance And Song Society, Cecil Sharp House is a great place to visit even when there isn’t any music playing.
- 2 Regent's Park Rd, NW1 7AY
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Here's the lowdown on the biggest event in the Euro-pop calendar Popular gigs this week All That Jazz: The Golden Age Of British Popular Music 1919-1950 Material from the National Jazz Archive, providing an insight into the sociocultural impact of jazz in Britain during the forgotten age of British popular music. Live Jazz At The Rabbit Jazz music sessions in the cocktail bar featuring a variety of instrumentalists every week. Little Havana At this weekly Friday night session at Floridita, visiting Latin American bands and musicians play live Latin jazz, salsa, merengue and other hot grooves, followed by DJs until 3am. Jazz Skool The Jazz Skool quintet play hard bop, cool and soul jazz classics every Thursday night. Manic Street Preachers The Manics are back and sounding cinematic and thoughtful, after an angsty album (2009's 'Journal for Plague Lovers') and a big, glam pop-rock records ('Postcards from a Young Man' in 2010). The Welsh titans are talking big as usual, and claimed last year to have two albums in the pipeline. The first, 'Rewind the Film', is out now, so you can expect cuts from that alongside hits like 'A Design for Life', 'Motorcycle Emptiness', and probably some new, unheard material too. Trash Tuesday New York-styled open mic session for cabaret, musical and jazz singers. This Prismatic Room – A Bad Vibes Weekender This three-day mini-festival hosts 16 psychedelic bands in the Shack's brilliant gig room. Friday is headlined by