Here’s our pick of the best spots for live music in East London and we’re looking forward to them reopening – See you there!
Old Street Records
350-356, Old Street, The City EC1V 9NQ
Old Street Records has positioned itself right at the forefront of Shoreditch’s live music scene thanks to its cutting-edge mix of EP launches, new bands and established acts. Take in a constantly top-drawer mix of live acts or make for the basement, where there’s more of an intimate vibe thanks to the jazz evenings and low-key DJ sessions.
71 Shacklewell Lane, Dalston E8 2EB
A real gem of a venue tucked away in deepest Dalston. An intimate back room of a popular local pub specialising in indie gigs from much hyped UK artists. With a performance area that will make all other pubs a little jealous, the Shacklewell’s list of up-and-coming performers is refreshing to say the least. As one of Dalston’s preferred hideouts, grab some food while you’re at it. Vegan and veggie offerings treats galore, with plates to even tempt the meat eaters. If you’re in the area go, go, go!
Total Refreshment Centre
2 Foulden Road, N16 7UR
Originally set up by a couple of Jamaican entrepreneurs in the 1980s based on their experiences of Jamaica’s best Dancehalls, TFC explodes from a transformed warehouse in the heart of Stoke Newington. With a series of acoustically treated rooms and one of London’s best, TRC also offers a recording studio, rehearsal facilities, and a variety of custom studio spaces for any event. But for a regular location where you can hear the very latest cutting-edge music from any genre head to their TRC. The curation is eclectic but never disappoints. It also has rehearsal spaces and recording studios.’
Church of Sound
St James Church, 233 Lower Clapton Road E5 8EH
The shared fantasy of a Hackney organist and a Parisian vinyl collector exploring unheard territories, Church of Sound brings together a concentric circle of Jazz, Funk and Future Sounds in a re-imagined holy space. Sharing original one-off happenings, St James Church is transformed into a one-night-only music venue unlike any other.
54 Holywell Lane, Shoreditch EC2A 3PQ
This renovated Victorian coalstore in the heart of Shoreditch is hard to miss with its rooftop tube carriages. Offering a strong lineup of concerts, club nights, exhibitions, theatre and more, the venue delivers an atmospheric intimacy.
Sweetwater Mooring, White Post Lane, Hackney Wick E9 5EN
Perched on the canal in Hackney Wick is Barge East, and it really is a sight to behold. The floating Dutch barge and kitchen cooks up delicious locally sourced grub, made by their ever-talented chefs. The once-derelict barge was sailed from Holland by childhood friends, Blandy, Ryan and Tommo, all the way to Hackney in 2018, where it had a complete refurb and restoration. It’s full of charm, clad inside with rustic timber panels to give diners a visceral feel of maritime memories. Hackney’s beloved barge doesn’t stop at food – it holds regular music nights and the outdoor wooden deck overlooks the skyline of London. Sit by the log-burning fire and watch the night draw in. The menu combines tasty small plates with flavours across the globe, influenced by Ryan’s time cooking on yachts.
Crate Taproom & Pizzeria
Unit 7, Queens Yard, Hackney Wick E9 5EN
A pizza joint-cum-brewery with beats to see you through to the early morn (well, 1am on Fridays and Saturdays). We love this spot for its earthy interior and cavernous structure. Although it doesn’t seem it, with a craft beer in hand and a human(ish) sized pizza laid out to devour, it really is the best way to see in the weekend. Trust us. Mike’s Garage music makes an appearance every Friday and Saturday with an immersive electronic set like no other. A weekend antidote for all.
The Cat & Mutton
76 Broadway Market, E8 4QJ
While away the hours at this pub perched on the corner of Broadway Market, just a stone’s throw from leafy London Fields. You’ll soon get comfortable here as you take a pew and enjoy the ever-growing food and drinks menu. The Cat & Mutton has it all covered, whether you’re looking for live DJ record sessions, late-night cocktails or chilled-out Sunday roasts. As many locals would agree, East London wouldn’t be East without this watering hole. Live DJs play every evening from Thursday to Sunday, with tunes to suit all musical needs, from iconic 60s playlists to soul, funk and hip-hop. We also rate the espresso martinis.
The Dalston Jazz Bar
4 Bradbury Street, Dalston N16 8JN
Off-the-beaten-track, open Thursday to Saturday, this small space packs a rhythmic punch and for those of you who enjoy a spot of jazz, this is the one for you. DJB is a spot for spontaneity and it never disappoints – a jazz joint like no other. With outdoor seating for summer evenings and a cosy interior for chillier nights, you can eat until your stomach’s content, whether you’re looking for a veggie snack or a meaty main. Live bands play into the early hours.
470 Kingsland Road, Dalston E8 4AE
Japan meets Dalston, in the most epic collab ever. Brilliant Corners has a firm place in many a heart, and stomach. Offering up delicious Japanese small plates, fresh and expertly created, your Saturday nights will never be the same again. As the clock strikes 11pm, the dining tables are cleared away to reveal an ambient and inviting dance floor, the ceiling scattered with moon-like lampshades. BC plays a mix of music genres on a unique audiophile system.
The Piano Works
113-117 Farringdon Road, Farringdon EC1R 3BX
Looking to boogie the night away in our favourite part of town? Farringdon is perfect for afterwork shenanigans and The Piano Works is where it’s at – with the ideal balance of ridiculously tempting cocktails and the ultimate piano playlists, you won’t need to head anywhere else. Set in a Victorian warehouse, pianists perform audience-requested playlists live – a unique music experience set apart from the rest.
451 Queensbridge Road, Dalston E8 3AS
At the Victoria, tunes and culinary delights melt into one to leave a seamless spot to spend your downtime as the night draws in. Situated on bustling Queensbridge Road, it is hard to miss and even harder to forget. The music is curated for all tastes, while playing eclectic and down-to-earth boogie-inducing tunes. They serve food from Tuesday to Saturday, with an aptly named ‘It’s All Gravy’ hearty Sunday roast menu.
40 Redchurch Street, Shoreditch E2 7DP
Inconspicuous, yet alluring, Walluc Bistro is set just off Redchurch Street. Catch a glimpse of diners dipping bread into gooey cheese fondue, and you’ll certainly want a piece of the dairy-fuelled action. A family-run spot with only a handful of tables, making it all the more charming. Open from 6-10.30pm, there’s only a short window to enjoy Walluc’s delights. Inside, you’re transported to the mountains as alpine appetisers waft from the kitchen. Go for the acoustic guitar music, then stay for the wine and pots of melted cheese.
Coach & Horses
391 High Road Leyton, Leyton E10 5NA
There is never a dull evening at this taproom, a firm favourite among locals. From comedy nights, alternative pub quizzes and live music played late into the evening, the Coach & Horses may be the only pub you will ever need. Peruse the hearty, yet modern pub grub menu while soaking up all that C&H has to offer. Don’t miss their music nights every Friday – see you there.
William The Fourth
816 High Road Leyton, Leyton E10 6AE
Oozing energy and good times, you’ll find real ales, creative cocktails, craft beers and a dizzying array of gins. It’s a proper boozer, but with style. Superb food served up by guest kitchens and live bands tearing it up – even on school nights.
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