The Water Rats

  • Music
  • Music venues
0 Love It
St Pancras

An impossibly small stage in a back room lends itself to the sort of intimate, ear-bleeding, crowd-surging nights for which Water Rats has become renowned. The down-at-heel indie boozer has a spectacularly varied booking policy that takes in rock, tech metal, cheery folk pop and everything in between.

Venue name: The Water Rats
Address: 328
Gray's Inn Rd
Transport: Tube: King's Cross
Do you own this business?

Average User Rating

3.6 / 5

Rating Breakdown

  • 5 star:3
  • 4 star:2
  • 3 star:0
  • 2 star:0
  • 1 star:2
2 people listening
The Man on the Street
1 of 1 found helpful

I have now had two amazing nights at The Water Rats in one month. Looking at the appalling reviews below it's plainly obvious that the pub and music room are under new management. The live space is awesome, with Orange sound system that is both loud and crisp. Simple lighting rig adds colour and atmosphere, but here (now) it's all about the artists. Last month I caught The Greasy Slicks - a young Blues Rock three-piece that show a lot of potential. This week I gave the venue a second visit and was truly astounded by the talent of Carrie Haber. This young singer songwriter delivers amazing vocals sat at her keyboard. A true rising star. Something tells me The Water Rats is back as one of London's top live music venues. Good to see ! 

Here's some footage I shot on the night.

ally s

First time back and wasnt sure if Id come to the same place!! The bar is warmer, fresher and with a new lineup of drinks I think from last time? All looking and smelling very spruce but comfy, yet still very much a local.  As for the music, its just totally changed.  I had a wonderful evening last Thursday enjoying live music as Id never heard it before at The Water Rats, a mix of acoustic artists and band, with seating and standing to arranged to accommodate all, even little tea lights on the table.  The headline artist, Carrie Haber was just astonishing, look out for her, outstanding.  And a great entertaining indie rock band Axel Jansson had everyone swaying along and enjoying themselves.  Highly recommended I loved it, will be checking back to book another date.

Grunty Fussett

And now a review from someone who doesn't work there: I had my first experience of the Water Rats last night. In the live room the sound is pretty good and the sound engineer was attentive and seems to know what he was doing, although getting it right in a small space like that is hardly rocket surgery (my area so I look for these things) and it's not too dilapidated (don't trust that photo at the top of this page though, they clearly added some sexy lighting for it), but it's definitely a bit scruffy. The front bar is where the problems are. The bar area is not a "cool square room" and also not really all that clever (that comment in a previous review baffles me)... It is square-ish, but it's crammed with tables and chairs so that if there are more than about 15 people in there moving around becomes annoyingly difficult - yes, it is fairly small. There is nothing about it's layout or cheap, slightly tatty looking decor that make it cool in the slightest either. "It's a boring pub", that's what the bar area says and nothing more. Most pubs call time at 11 and give you 20-30 minutes to finish up, politely but firmly encouraging you to be out of the door by half past, which is entirely reasonable and is likely to have you wishing the staff a goodnight on your way out and to see return custom. They don't do that at this place. Within minutes of the last band finishing someone came out to the back room and yelled that we all had to be out because "this section is closing now", even the band who were still packing up. Ten minutes later out in the bar, bang on eleven we were again yelled at (like a bunch of guilty children) that we had to leave, and were unceremoniously, and quite rudely, harangued and herded out of the door within moments. In fact, during the whole of the couple of hours I was there, I felt like I wasn't allowed to get comfortable and relax - it just doesn't feel like that kind of place. Customer satisfaction is important. Maybe less so if you're primarily a music venue which will see fewer returns anyway, but if you make an effort to make people feel welcome and relaxed word will get around, people will be happy to go there and bands will be happy to play there. But if your punters are just a pool from which to syphon money (I understand they have a pay-to-play policy too, that also syphons money from bands) with little regard for their comfort, then word will get around about that too. The one saving grace of the bar is that it's not overpriced and they serve Doom Bar on draught, other than that it's a shame cos The Water Rats has history, pedigree even, as a music venue, but it is clearly lacking these days. Unless you specifically want to support a band who are playing there, avoid the place. Even then it might be worth waiting to see them elsewhere...


Great music bad pub. Made you pay to get in and shut early. Had 2 beers for my £8 entry then refused service at 10.30. Made it more than clear they weren't interested in any of the customers. Good music venues deserve better.


Great Venue, Great Music, Great Crowd. Monto Water Rats deserves a longer review because there are thousands of London establishments with "bar in the front, music in the back," yet few nail it as they do. They took the time to understand how to be better than everyone else at it. Music venue: create a venue that sounds great, and you're likely to draw bands that sound great too. This is how they generate a whole that's greater than the sum of the parts (often drawing bands that tend to play larger spaces). The sound, which can be tricky in a room that small, doesn't sound like it's banging against a garage door. The room is also as wide as it is deep, so it's generally easy to work your way horizontally to get a good view of the band on the stage. Bar: basically a cool square room. This is particularly clever, because anyone that has ever thrown a party knows that bodies avoid large open spaces and drift towards the comfort of narrow areas. It's wide enough to walk through, but skinny enough to avoid feeling awkward in any one spot. Also, the music doesn't blast into the bar area, so you can easily talk at the bar / fail at picking up a boy / girl, if you're so inclined. Water Rats had an unexpectedly friendly, neighborhood-y vibe. The bouncers warmly greeted and chatted with my friend, a regular there. And after the opening set, the bassist simply hopped off the stage to hang with his friends in the audience. The crowd was also great- no obnoxious haters, just a bunch of energetic music lovers. Looking forward to seeing more shows here.


Oh, these reviews smell like fakes... probably written by monto's staff :) The venue is good, though, and music can be enjoyable sometimes.


i've been going to tuts for appr 15 years, and still love the place. Its a good place to go for a drink on a saturday evening. DJ's are excellent! The place is what it is, anyone coming here expectinig anything fancy will leave disappointed, but in general, its a great little cubby hole to drink and be merry. the area where the gigs are is cool and really intimate. the gigs i've seen here have always had an excellent atmosphere, and the crowd have always left satisfied. check the website if you're planning a trip to London, see who's playing and grab some tickets (which are always reasonably priced) and enjoy!