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The best music venues in London: Jazz Café

The city's 20 best places to see live music, as voted by you – get the latest gig listings and buy tickets

Jazz Café

Given its reputation, you wouldn’t think the Jazz Café was such a newbie on London’s music map, but the venue was only converted from a branch of Barclays in 1990. 

In those days (and until recently), the support pillars famously boasted the audience command of ‘STFU’ – a relatively cryptic move in the pre-textspeak era – which left the crowd in no doubt that this was a venue that took musical appreciation seriously.

These days, the venue’s interpretation of jazz is somewhat loose, stretching to intimate shows by US hip hop legends (such as De La Soul) and racing certainties (such as Aloe Blacc’s incredible UK debut), as well as shows by soul and funk legends such as Marlena Shaw.

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Camden Town
Next venue: Barbican


The Man on the Street
The Man on the Street

This is one venue where its not all about Jazz. In fact the last time I visited was to attend the Rising Stars night hosted by Time Out. The bill was eclectic with opener Jerry Williams silencing the packed house with her stunning vocals. Next up was Carrie Haber who gave a virtuoso performance of vocals and keyboard. Her range is similar to Kate Bush. A kid to watch out for. After a brief but energetic blues set from solo artist Matt Woosey it was into full-on Rock and Roll with The House of Thieves followed by Broken Witt Rebels. Great night out for a tenner. The Jazz Cafe is truly one of the best places in town to see a gig, it's right next to Camden Town tube station and if you don't like what's on you can walk down the street to one of many more live music haunts. Camden Rocks and on this night so did The Jazz Cafe.