London’s not all massive Ferris wheels, clock towers and torture museums; so when you feel like taking a break from the latest Beefeater brigade or you’ve had your fill of the audacious street performers in Covent Garden then you can head off into the well-established bar scene of this Britannic Metropolis to chill out and end your day with a few cheeky sundowners. There’s certainly no shortage of diverse and interesting bars to suit everyone’s fancy, but if you’re into live music with a side of (decent) cocktails then read on as this is a collection of the top eight live music bars to get your groove on in London.
Ronnie Scott’s Jazz Club is a London Stalwart and a Must-Do For Any Die-Hard Jazz Fans The original Ronnie Scott’s was opened in 1959 by prominent jazz musicians, Ronnie Scott and Pete King and ran with much fanfare until 1965, when they decided to up sticks and move to a larger venue on Frith Street (where it still stands today). There’s music every night with doors opening at 6 p.m. – late. It’s a good idea to check tickets and book in advance, but if you happen to be caught short then there’s usually a ‘late, late jazz jam’ that you should be able to wangle your way into later on.
47 Frith St, London W1D 4HT
Nightjar is a World-Renowned Cocktail Bar and the First of London’s New Wave Prohibition-Style Bars But you don’t just come here for the killer drinks as (in keeping with their 1920s-era vibe) they’ve also provided live nightly jazz and blues sets for entertainment too. Book well in advance (months if possible) to make sure that you can snag a table, but if you’ve left it too late then you can try over at their equally as impressive (but not quite as booked out) sister venue, Oriole. With acoustic sets from around the word, Oriole will not let you down on the music front and their cocktails remain as ‘on point’ as their predecessors.
Nightjar: 129 City Rd, London EC1V 1JB, Oriole: Smithfield Market, Smithfield Markets, E Poultry Ave, London EC1A 9LH
The Piano Works is an Awesome and Atmospheric Live Music Venue Set in a Victorian Listed Warehouse in Farringdon It’s dripping with old-school style jazz bar vibes and is equipped with two pianists and a whole gang of musicians to help you rock the night away. What’s particularly cool about this venue is that the crowd actually picks the music that the bands will play by popular request. So if you’re feeling a little more Ray Charles than Elvis then you can shout it out loud and cross your fingers that enough of the other punters will feel the same way.
113 Corner of, Farringdon Road, Farringdon EC1R 3BX
The Kansas Smitty’s House Band are a Group of Twenty-Something Jazz Enthusiasts Who Opened Up Their Own Bar Near Broadway Market The eponymous Kansas Smitty’s is a kick-ass live music venue that showcases some of the best musical talents the world over. Set in a stylish basement, come here to enjoy everything from live swing to bass-filled blues and a few tasty mint juleps in between.
63-65 Broadway Market, London E8 4PH
The Blues Kitchen is an All-Singing, All-Dancing Love Affair with Everything From the Deep South in America They’re home to some of the best finger-lickin’ BBQ in town but after dinner makes sure that you stick around for the heady bourbon cocktails and fun party vibes. These guys’ll rock out anything from rough New Orleans-style beats to a rapturous soul – get in.
134-146 Curtain Rd, London EC2A 3AR
Ruby’s Bar and Lounge is a Cozy Little Venue in East London’s Stoke Newington The setup is a loungey basement bar and the music ranges from hip-hop, Motown and jazz to soul, funk and boogie so make sure that you check what’s on before you head over. Ruby’s is open until late (around 2 a.m.) so you can expect to be rockin’ away till the wee hours.
72-76 Stoke Newington Road, London N16 7XB
For More Of a Pub-Type Affair You Can’t Go Wrong By Checking Out the Starry Starry Night Night at The Star in Hackney Downs A great spot to take a prospective date, this intimate and candle-lit venue plays host to a range of talented acoustic acts. The music starts at 7.30 pm every Wednesday and entry is, wait for it… free – we kid you not.
35 Queensdown Rd, London E5 8JQ
Last but Certainly Not Least is the Charming Troubadour That You’ll Find Rocking Away on Old Brompton Road, Seven Days a Week What started out as a simple coffee house in 1954 became one of 1960s’ London’s cornerstones for intellectual, anarchistic and artistic life. Over the passing years, it’s played host to now household names such as Bob Dylan, Paul Simon, Led Zeppelin, Jimi Hendrix and, more recently, Adele, Amos Lee and Laura Marling.
263-267 Old Brompton Rd, London SW5 9JA
If you’ve enjoyed reading about London’s best live music bars and you’ve finished marking down the hotspots in you BUCKiTDREAM diary then why not check out How To Drink Like A Local In London’s Best Pubs and London’s Secret Cocktail Bars: Everything You Need To Know?