Alternative bars in London

The Dev

Long-established on the goth scene

Often referred to as The Dev, The Devonshire Arms is a well-established venue for goth and metal fans in London. Based in Camden, there's a buzzy interior with a bustling crowd. You'll hear rock and metal music from DJs and live performers. It's a compact venue tucked away behind a Tudor-style exterior.

The World's End

Hotspot for alternative music

Pub-cum-music venue The World’s End is a top destination for alternative music lovers. In the bright and spacious main bar with exposed brickwork you’ll hear a rock and metal playlist as you enjoy a wide selection of drinks and stone-baked pizzas. Loads of alternative acts play at the basement music venue.

The Black Heart

Dark by name, dark by nature

Arguably one of Camden’s best-loved alternative venues, The Black Heart has a suitably dark and eclectic aesthetic with jet black walls covered in posters. Upstairs there’s a music venue that regularly hosts rock, metal, and punk performers. Although the venue is proudly alternative, it actually attracts a surprisingly diverse crowd.

Blondies Blondies Brewery
Blondies
blondiesbar.co.uk
Blondies Brewery
blondiesbar.co.uk
Blondies
@blondieslondon
Blondies Brewery
@blondiesbrewery
Blondies Blondies Brewery

Hackney's premier dive bar

Owned and run by three sisters, Blondies is a compact rock 'n' roll dive bar. The fascinating interiors are decked out with posters, stickers, and skateboards. Expect friendly service and a wide choice of drinks. Regular events take place at the venue, including lots of live music acts from alternative performers. They also have a brewery in Leyton, which has a similar vibe.

  • 205A Lower Clapton Road 258 Church Road, Leyton/Waltham Forest
    Blondies
    205A Lower Clapton Road
    Blondies Brewery
    258 Church Road, Leyton/Waltham Forest
  • Blondies
    blondiesbar.co.uk
    Blondies Brewery
    blondiesbar.co.uk
  • Blondies Blondies Brewery

Slim Jim's

Rock 'n' roll in Islington

Based in the heart of Upper Street, Slim Jim’s is the ultimate in rock ‘n’ roll. Known for its black walls and bras suspended from the ceiling, expect a rock and metal jukebox and regular live music acts. There’s a huge choice of whiskey from the bar, plus craft beer and cocktails.

The Fighting Cocks

Pub with music and comedy

The Fighting Cocks is Kingston's hub for rock and alternative music. It's a friendly bar with a broad selection of drinks and a lively party vibe. Regular live music is on at this comfortable local venue, as well as stand-up comedy from top performers like Jimmy Carr and Bill Bailey.

New Cross Inn

Top venue for live music

If you love nothing more than being at a gig, check out New Cross Inn. This busy bar and venue hosts live acts every night of the week and is open until late. Expect eclectic line-ups covering genres like punk, ska, metal, and psychobilly. It hosts its own music festivals too.

The Last Tuesday Society

A truly unique destination

If you love a gothic and unusual aesthetic, head to The Last Tuesday Society in Hackney. Part of The Viktor Wynd Museum, its black walls are decorated with taxidermy. You can sample absinthe here served in a variety of ways, as well as cocktails. Alternative events and discussions are held here too.

Big Red

US-style rock bar

Big Red in Holloway Road is a spacious US-style dive bar and alternative music venue. The crowd it attracts is friendly and diverse. It’s packed with rock ‘n’ roll memorabilia, there are pool tables and comfy booths, and a jukebox loaded with rock and metal tunes. Local beers and cocktails are served.

Garlic & Shots

Gothic drinking spot

The clue is in the name at gothic bar Garlic & Shots. This dimly-lit venue has a food menu packed with garlic – you can ask for more but never less – as well as a massive list of shots and cocktails. Shots cover the whole gamut of flavours from fruity to spicy, and garlicky.

Ain't Nothin But The Blues Bar

An authentic blues bar

Every night at this Soho bar, a blues band rocks out on stage while a lively, drink-in-hand crowd gathers to nod their head to the beat. You'll hear all the blues classics performed by both local talent and American artists, making it a must-visit for live music enthusiasts. Head there earlier for an acoustic set, or swing by later for some pumping blues. They also host legendary jam sessions on Sunday afternoons and Monday nights, where you can take along your own instrument to play on stage.

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Editors

At Thatsup, we have extensive experience of guiding our readers to a city’s hidden gems. Since 2008, our editors have been writing insightful guides covering restaurants, bars, cafes, hotels, and hairdressers, among other things. Our guides consist of carefully selected tips based on our local knowledge and are regularly updated with the help of our focus group, where we collectively discuss selections and content. We are constantly working to inspire and provide you with the best possible experience, no matter where you are or what you are looking for.