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

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The 20 best music venues in London

20

Scala

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.

  1. 275-277 Pentonville Rd, N1 9NL
What's on?
19

The O2

The plucky 20,000-seater has proved the critics wrong and established itself as the capital’s de facto home of the megagig.

  1. Peninsula Square, SE10 0DX
What's on?
18

The Forum

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.

  1. 9-17 Highgate Rd, NW5 1JY
What's on?
17

Jazz Café

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.

  1. 5 Parkway, NW1 7PG
What's on?
16

Barbican

It might look like it was built in 1920s Uzbekistan (then turned inside out) but the Barbican is about to celebrate its thirtieth birthday.

  1. Silk St, EC2Y 8DS
What's on?
15

O2 Shepherd's Bush Empire

The building’s baroque interior exudes a grown-up glamour few venues can match.

  1. Shepherd's Bush Green, W12 8TT
What's on?
14

100 Club

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.

  1. 100 Oxford St, W1D 1LL
What's on?
13

Shacklewell Arms

The Shacklewell Arms occupies the position in fashionable hearts that was held by the Old Blue Last in the past.

  1. 71 Shacklewell Lane, E8 2EB
What's on?
12

Ronnie Scott's

Opened by British saxophonist Ronnie Scott in 1959, Ronnie’s has since amassed as much history as the British Museum.

  1. 47 Frith St, W1D 4HT
What's on?
11

XOYO

Although it’s as east London as pretending to like pie and mash, XOYO is a venue in the un-grand New York tradition.

  1. 32-37 Cowper St, EC2A 4AP
What's on?
10

Alexandra Palace

Poor old Ally Pally: this landmark hilltop venue opened in 1873 as The People’s Palace, but it’s been devastated by fire twice.

  1. Alexandra Palace Way, N22 7AY
What's on?
9

Roundhouse

The Roundhouse was built in 1846 as a turntable shed for steam engines, and the venue has married beauty with beastly behaviour ever since.

  1. Chalk Farm Rd, NW1 8EH
What's on?
8

Vortex

There are few venues in the city you could visit on spec at any time and be guaranteed to hear something interesting.

  1. 11 Gillett Square, N16 8AZ
What's on?
7

Royal Albert Hall

Besides its astonishing acoustics and an atmosphere which rivals the Vatican, its elegance makes the venue feel like part of the performance.

  1. Kensington Gore, SW7 2AP
What's on?
6

Koko

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.

  1. 1a Camden High St, NW1 7JE
What's on?
5

O2 Brixton Academy

This art deco gem straddles the chasm between the pomp of a stadium show and the intimate atmosphere of a club.

  1. 211 Stockwell Rd, SW9 9SL
What's on?
4

The Lexington

This is where the hottest US exports will generally make their London debut.

  1. 96-98 Pentonville Rd, N1 9JB
What's on?
3

The Windmill

The Windmill is certainly not your average music venue, but its unprepossessing exterior is a cloak for its dedication to new leftfield music.

  1. 22 Blenheim Gardens, SW2 5BZ
What's on?
2

Cecil Sharp House

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.

  1. 2 Regent's Park Rd, NW1 7AY
What's on?
1

Union Chapel

The devil might have all the best tunes, but the Union Chapel is proof that him downstairs knows bugger-all about architecture.

  1. Compton Terrace, N1 2UN
What's on?

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More of London's best music venues

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After a few seriously hard equations, we've compiled a list of the 20 best music venues in London. Where does your favourite rank?
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The musicians' picks

It wasn't just the public who chipped in: Florence Welch, Skepta and many more musicians gave us their two cents
See the musician's picks of music venues

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