London's live music scene is one of the best in the world. From the Amy Winehouse days in Camden to Jimi Hendrix's former stomping ground in Mayfair, the city has always been a hub for some of the most incredible musical talent to exist. Many pubs have played a part in this and continue to provide a platform for emerging and established artists to showcase their talent. Here's the ultimate guide to pubs with live music in London.
Guide to pubs with live music in London
In this guide
Live music pubs in London
- The Sun Tavern – Irish whiskey with a side of rock 'n' roll
- The Camden Assembly – Live music and comfort food
- The Old Joinery – A plant-filled bolthole
- The Half Moon – A Putney favourite
- The Shacklewell Arms – An indie hot spot
- The Lexington – Kentucky charm
- The Old Blue Last – Live music and the ghost of Shakespeare
- The Spice Of Life – 300 years of history
- The Good Mixer – Grassroots musicians and musical legends
- Hope & Anchor – Where iconic musicians have played
- The Dublin Castle – A stalwart of the indie scene
- New Cross Inn – Live music seven days a week
- Fox & Firkin – A hub for underground music
- The Black Heart – For the rock 'n' rollers
- The Gladstone Arms – Take to the stage yourself
- The Lock Tavern – Grunge in all the right ways
- The Macbeth – 100 years of history
- The Victoria Dalston – Music behind a secret bookcase
- The Prince Alfred – A Maida Vale local
- St John's Tavern – Billy Keane bops
- The Bedford – One for the stars
- Dartmouth Arms – A vinyl-only spot
- The Imperial Arms – Live weekend music
- Prince Alfred – A Bayswater local
Live music pubs in London
Irish whiskey with a side of rock 'n' roll
The Sun Tavern is a historic pub in Bethnal Green that dates back to 1851. It boasts the city's largest selection of Irish whiskeys, as well as Ireland's beloved moonshine, poitín. It's also an excellent spot for showcasing the capital's musical talent, focusing on non-specific rock 'n' roll with resident DJs taking to the decks every Thursday to Saturday and live music sessions on Saturday, Sunday, Monday and Tuesday.
Live music and comfort food
The Camden Assembly is a classic for live music in London. This much-loved venue hosts club nights and live music performances in an intimate and cosy space. The food is classic comfort food, like cheeseburgers, Kentucky fried chicken and cauliflower tacos. They also have a pretty impressive cocktail menu, with all the classics plus more out-there options, like the Bubblegum Slay.
A plant-filled bolthole
This hip hangout in Greenwich used to be the site of a joinery workshop but is now a cool space to chill with drinks, music and street food. The outdoor terrace is particularly picturesque, filled with greenery and a tropical vibe. They're also passionate about music and host gigs of all genres, including jazz, blues and spoken word. Ambient lighting and stage-side tables create the ideal setting for an intimate live music experience.
A Putney favourite
This Putney local on the banks of the Thames has been a hot spot for live music for decades and boasts a timetable of performances almost every day of the week. It's where U2 had their first sellout UK tour and is the home of Kate Bush's first public show. As for food and drink, expect seasonal British pub grub and all of the classic booze options.
An indie hot spot
Aside from being a local favourite to enjoy a cold pint, The Shacklewell Arms in Dalston is also a popular destination for up-and-coming indie talent. Bop to the sound of a rock 'n' roll band whilst you enjoy the menu of fragrant Lebanese street food. There's also a cosy pub area where they pour pints; it's the perfect hangout for seeing a band before they get big.
This award-winning pub near King's Cross oozes southern Kentucky charm with its range of American craft beers and bourbon and a variety of tasty Mexican food. It's a classic London boozer with wood panelling and shiny brass pouring taps. It's popular with the music-loving community; upstairs houses a live venue where DJs spin the freshest tracks and live bands take to the stage, showcasing their musical talent in all its glory.
Live music and the ghost of Shakespeare
The 300-year-old Old Blue Last in the heart of Shoreditch is an iconic venue for London's live music scene. From the outside, it looks like any old classic London boozer, but head inside and downstairs, and you'll find a room where incredible talent and emerging artists come together to perform for locals. Word on the street is that it's also haunted by Shakespeare, but we'll let you make up your mind about that one.
300 years of history
This buzzy central Soho pub is a hub for live music in London, where artists come to perform everything from jazz and acoustic to blues and more. It's had a number of iconic names perform here over its long history and continues to provide a platform for up-and-coming artists from all walks of life. The best way to do it is to enjoy a classic pub grub meal, like fish and chips or sausage and mash, before catching a live gig in their backstage centre bar.
Grassroots musicians and musical legends
Musical legends have performed at The Good Mixer in Camden, from Noel Gallagher to Amy Winehouse, who also called the borough her home. It's a typical London pub, where they show live sporting events and have a menu of rotating street food vendors, craft beer and ales. It's an excellent spot for live music lovers, providing a platform for grassroots musicians seven days a week.
Where iconic musicians have played
The Grade II-listed Hope & Anchor is one of London's most famous live music venues on lively Upper Street in Islington. It's a traditional boozer with dark wood, large arched windows and a basement bar where live bands take to the stage and perform their hottest music. Legendary bands have also played here, including The Stranglers, The Police, U2 and Madness.
A stalwart of the indie scene
The Dublin Castle has gone down in history as the birthplace of many of the UK's greatest bands and remains a hot spot for the local indie scene. Bands such as Madness have taken to the stage here, and Amy Winehouse used to swing by for a visit. This indie rock institution is a must-visit for avid music lovers in London.
Live music seven days a week
This South London pub lives and breathes music and is the place to go for live performances seven days a week. They host an eclectic line-up of artists spanning all genres, from punk and psychobilly to ska and metal, with performances by international touring artists and local talent.
A hub for underground music
This quirky South London pub is the home of live underground music, with a big focus on reggae, ska and jungle. It's seen the likes of Congo Natty and Mad Professor take to the stage, and various DJs regularly spin the freshest tracks. Pair your visit with one of their pizzas served fresh from the A La Luna pizza van in the garden.
For the rock 'n' rollers
Rock 'n' roll fans will love this alternative pub in Camden, where walls are decorated with music posters and religious iconography. The artists that play here are mainly of the rock, metal and punk variety and have included acts like Orange Goblin, Scott Kelly and Nick Oliveri.
Take to the stage yourself
This old-school pub has had a few makeovers during its time, but one thing has always been a mainstay: live music. You should expect a traditional London boozer vibe, but the space is cosy and makes for an intimate setting to enjoy a live performance. Many different musicians playing many different genres have performed here, including folk, blues, pop jazz and electronica. They also host an open mic night for those who want to take to the stage themselves.
Grunge in all the right ways
The Lock Tavern is a historic, grungy pub in Camden where, despite the slightly weathered interior, the vibe and music are utterly thriving. They have DJs playing every Friday and Saturday and the occasional live music performances. There's an upstairs cocktail bar and roof terrace for al fresco drinks and food, like burgers, pizza and salads. If you swing by on a Sunday, they serve a mean roast which you can also enjoy if you're vegan.
100 years of history
The Macbeth has played an important part in London's music and art scene over the years, having been a member of the community for over 100 years. They're known for their selection of mouthwatering cocktails and eclectic range of events, like open mic nights, live DJs and dance workshops.
Music behind a secret bookcase
The Vic in Dalston has been a meeting point for music-loving locals for many years and regularly hosts live music performances of various genres. There's a secret bookcase inside that leads to a hidden venue where emerging bands and talent take to the stage to perform.
A Maida Vale local
This Maida Vale local is the quintessential example of a classic Victorian pub; it even has its original detailed high ceilings and snob screens. But aside from being a spectacle to marvel at, there's also an admirable cocktail menu crafted by expert mixologists, an impressive range of ask-conditioned ales, draught and bottled lagers, wine from around the world and a wide selection of gins. As for food, you'll get to enjoy classic pub grub like homemade fish and chips and their famous pie, mash and liquor.
Billy Keane bops
Bop to the sound of Billy Keane's beats every Friday at St. John's Tavern in Archway. The multi-instrumentalist is well-known on the London music scene for his lively songwriting and production work. When you've had your fill of music, enjoy a bite to eat; their menu features all of the comforting classic pub dishes, like sausage and mash with onion gravy and a range of pizzas.
One for the stars
Ed Sheeran, Paolo Nutini, Jorga Smith and James Morrison are just a handful of the stars that have played at this iconic Balham institution, so it's safe to say it's an excellent spot to catch exciting and emerging artists. Music has always been at the heart of everything they do, and every Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday, they showcase the UK's hottest musical talent in their iconic Club Room. The best bit? It won't cost you a penny, so save your cash for a pint or two from the bar.
A vinyl-only spot
Dartmouth Arms in North London is a local favourite with an excellent seasonal food and drink menu, musical talent and wicked Hi-Fi sound system. It's bringing a fresh selection of DJs and acoustic music to the streets of London through its timetable of acts that take to the stage throughout the week. The DJs only play vinyl to utilise the sound system in the best way possible.
Live weekend music
This landmark Victorian pub is a traditional London boozer showcasing the best of London street food, contemporary photography on the walls and live music on Friday and Saturday nights. They serve premium beers, lagers and tantalising cocktails alongside an all-day pub menu of classics like burgers, chicken wings and a banging Sunday roast.
A Bayswater local
Not to be confused with The Prince Alfred in Maida Vale, this Prince Alfred is located nearby in Bayswater, was established just a few years before the other one, and also likes its music live. The traditional Victorian pub hosts a varied live music programme in its ground-floor bar area in addition to showing major sports events. Upstairs, there's a restaurant area with comfy seating and high ceilings.