The Best Independent Music Venues in London
The good times that were Independent Venue Week is now sadly behind us for another year, but don’t despair! There are indie music venues in London championing incredible musical talent all year round, so it no longer has to be a one week only phenomenon. Whether you live in the city or you’re just passing through and want to catch a great gig, there are tons of places to go. The underground music scene in London is thriving at the moment and there is a band or DJ performing at clubs, pubs and music halls at basically every corner - you just need to know where to go. Whatever kind of music you’re into, this guide will give you the low-down on where to go to hear great music at the most unique, cutting edge and legendary indie London music venues - see you there, probably!
The Dublin Castle
94 Parkway, London NW1 7AN
Without a doubt one of the most iconic venues where you can catch great live music in London, the unforgettable Dublin Castle has played a pretty significant role in helping to launch the careers of many unforgettable acts from Madness to The Libertines. Legends like Amy Winehouse and Suggs have graced the stage (and poured a drink or two behind the bar), the walls are adorned with band posters and there’s the obligatory jukebox in the bar - but the main reason I love it? The best of London's live music that’s on every night of the week. A no-frills venue that’s stayed true to their roots, the Castle is might be a little rough around the edges but that’s just the way I like it - a proper pub with four live bands playing every night, what’s not to love?
261 Brixton Rd, London SW9 6LH
One of the best known and most loved live music venues in South London, Brixton Jamm draws a crowd from anywhere and everywhere thanks to their winning combination of live music, club nights and the terrace - perfect for taking the party outside during the sunnier months. This music venue in London is loud and proud about its Brixton roots and more than deserves its status as one of the most established independent venues south of the river. Not just a one trick pony, I love them for throwing not only some of the best parties around with exceptional DJs regularly lined up, but for showcasing upcoming and local talent at intimate gigs.
33-35 Stoke Newington Rd, Stoke Newington, N16 8BJ
Best described as two floors of basement-based fun, Birthdays in Dalston has earned their reputation for the best indie music venue in London and is an unofficial icon in its neighbourhood - Stoke Newington. The bar serves up great cocktails and food by Stacks Poutine, but the lower level is where the magic really happens - they’ve played host to legendary parties by VICE and Paradyse Records to name a few and gigs by a great mix of up and coming and more established acts. What I love is the musical diversity that you will find here. There are no cliques and everyone is welcome. You can catch some of the best live music in London here and the parties are always on the wilder side of things!
The Windmill Brixton
22 Blenheim Gardens, London SW2 5BZ
You could almost be forgiven for walking straight past this unassuming looking spot, but look a little harder and you’ll see a pub that’s been established in SW2 for over 15 years. From humble beginnings down a back street, The Windmill has grown to have a (loud) presence in Brixton and beyond for championing local bands. This London music venue has since earned more than a few accolades from NME to Time Out and established itself at the heart of the local music scene. Unfortunately (or fortunately, depending on how you look at it), you no longer have to watch out for the dog that lived on the roof, but not much else has changed; expect a laid back vibe and emerging talent from the underground music scene in London.
100 Oxford St, Fitzrovia, W1D 1LL
Squeezed in between the chain clothing stores and coffee shop franchises on Oxford Street might not be the first place you think of if you’re wondering where to find the oldest indie music venue in London, and the world, but that is exactly where you will find 100 Club. And it was here first! Originally known as the Feldman Jazz Club, this London music venue has been going strong since 1942, the only change coming in 1964 when the name changed to become the iconic 100 Club. They played host to the mods in the 60s, the birth of punk in the 70s with the Sex Pistols and The Clash, early shows by indie legends Oasis in the 90s and from time to time have put on intimate, secret shows by the likes of The Rolling Stones. With a reputation like this to live up to, it’s no surprise that they continue to champion groundbreaking new music!