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7 Best Intimate Live Music Venues in London

Love a gig? See what’s on at London’s best concert halls...

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  • 18 November 2019
  • • 8 min read

Want to catch a gig while you’re in London? The British capital is renowned for its live music scene so make sure to attend a show at one of the city’s coolest music venues during your trip. Whether you’re into jazz, electronic, pop, grime or rock, London has the gig for you. We’ve rounded up some of our favourite live music venues in London where you can get tickets to an awesome show in the Big Smoke. Some of the world’s biggest artists and DJ’s have performed in these live music venues when they first started out in their careers, some of them even returning to play once they’ve made it big. And with the UK producing so much homegrown talent, you might end up seeing a show of an up-and-coming star. When choosing which ones to feature, we considered the intimacy of the venue, the crowd, the atmosphere and previous artists who have performed...

Need a bed after the show? Check out our hostels which are within walking distance to many of these venues…

02 Shepherd’s Bush Empire

The Shepherd’s Bush Empire is an award-winning live music venue in West London, not far from the Westfield shopping centre in White City. Showcasing the very best of music talent, the stage at the 02 Empire has been graced by some of our favourite up-and-coming artists as well as some of the bigger names in the music industry. Music legends have played here including Rolling Stones, Amy Winehouse, David Bowie, Oasis, Elton John, Muse, Take That, Adele, Prince and many more.

The building itself is Grade II listed so the inside of the venue is simply beautiful with West-end theatre style seating and a capacity of 2,000, so it’s fairly intimate and cosy for gigs. Temples, Mystery Jets, Maverick Sabre, Jade Bird, Maisie Peters and Calcutta are just some of the musicians who will be playing at the Shepherd’s Bush Empire this winter. See who else is playing while you visit. We recommend booking your tickets in advance as the big names tend to get sold out pretty quickly. 

Nearest tube: Shepherd’s Bush Market

Need a hostel in the area? Check out


One of London’s most iconic live music venues. You have to experience a show at the Roundhouse if you’re into music and want to be inspired by real talent. Located in a gritty part of the city where the live music scene is embedded in the culture, head down to Camden, a hub of cool concert halls where you can catch an epic show with an atmosphere to match. Roundhouse is a famous venue where emerging talent and young artists are discovered - and in the past, rock heroes have played here including Jimi Hendrix, Led Zeppelin, Pink Floyd and Bob Dylan. Housed in a former railway engine shed in Chalk Farm, the venue specialises in performing arts as well as live music of all different genres. The cool thing about this place is the massive circular ceiling (hence the name Roundhouse) which makes this place even more atmospheric. Whitney, Kodaline, Imogen Heap, Louis Tomlinson and Madness are just a few of the artists set to play in the next few weeks.

From January to February, head down for the ‘In the Round’ gigs where you can watch artists more up, close and personal. The venue transforms into a fully-seated venue throughout this period so you’re never far from the artist.

Nearest tube: Chalk Farm or Camden Town

Need a hostel in the area? Check out

Eventim Apollo

This is one of our favourite intimate live music venues in the city. The Eventim Apollo is a warm and welcoming venue in Hammersmith, West London which hosts a range of different musicians from various genres. There’s always someone awesome playing at the Apollo, particularly artists from the UK; Freya Ridings, Emile Sande, Mabel and Ashanti are just a few of the names set to take the stage in the next few months. In the past, the Grade II* listed building has been graced with performances from Bob Marley, the Beatles, Rolling Stones, Oasis, Lana Del Ray, Adele, Kylie, Selena Gomez, Ed Sheeran, Stereophonics, James Bay and much more. Once you’ve played at the Apollo, you know you’ve made it. We love the art deco design of the building and the stage set-up and lighting is consistently incredible. 

Getting there is super easy too. The Apollo is connected to four different tube lines because Hammersmith station is on its doorstep! 

Need a hostel in the area? Check out

Piano Works Farringdon

If you fancy a night out with live music being the focus, then get yourself to Piano Works in Farringdon. A bit different to the other venues listed, Piano Works is a bar/nightclub where a live band plays every night of the week (except Sundays) - and the musicians really know how to get the party started. The best part is, you get to request the songs. Every. Single. One. The band is so talented - and it’s because of them that Piano Works is now one of London’s best intimate live music venues. Everyone ends up dancing throughout the night to their favourite tunes, and the band is just a few steps away. Drinking cocktails and enjoying the sound of live instruments doesn’t get any better. Located in East London, all you have to do is pay an entry fee to get in. Make sure to get there fairly early on Friday and Saturday nights to avoid queueing for ages. You can book ahead and reserve a table in Piano Works if you’re in a group. 

With a capacity of 120 people, this place has changed the face of the late night offering in London. 

Nearest tube: Farringdon

Need a hostel in East London?  is just a 24 minute walk from Piano Works (or a 5 minute tube journey)

02 Academy Brixton

The 02 Academy in Brixton is an award-winning concert venue located in South London that has seen massive names hit its stage including Rihanna, Florence and the Machine, The Strokes, Lady Gaga, Coldplay, Kings of Leon and more. Hosting live music, club nights and comedy acts, the 02 Academy is popular with young Londoners who live and breathe music and late-night entertainment. Brixton is a hip area of London that’s seeing a lot of cool new restaurants, bars and pubs pop up to satisfy the young people that live in the area. So, it’s the perfect place to hang out and grab a couple of drinks before a gig. There’s an incredible line-up of artists set to play at the 02 Academy in the next couple of months including FKA Twigs, Lewis Capaldi, YoungBlud, JP Cooper, Rosalia, Tyga, The Libertines, Milky Chance and more. See who’s playing while you’re in the city...

KOKO Camden

Another incredible live music venue in Camden, London. KOKO is currently closed for refurbishments but it’s re-opening its doors again in Spring 2020. For those of you who are travelling to London next year, consider KOKO for a gig as it’ll be boasting a fresh, new look. This venue has seen the likes of Red Hot Chili Peppers, Skepta, Noel Gallagher, Rolling Stones, Elton John, Amy Winehouse, J Cole, Bruno Mars and Kanye West perform on its stage - so we expect some pretty cool acts set to play in the New Year once it’s open again. KOKO is located in a beautiful old building set in a former theatre near Mornington Crescent and it’s a real intimate setting with a rich history. We can’t wait to see what the transformation will look like (but we’re hoping the historic theatre stands are here to stay). 

Nearest tube: Mornington Crescent

Jazz Cafe

Last but not least, here’s one of the jazz lovers. The Jazz Cafe is a much-loved live music venue in the heart of Camden which is cosy, small and intimate - perfect for those who want to chill out with an espresso martini and have a great view of the band. Specialising in jazz, soul and reggae music, this place is all about homegrown artists who are given a platform to perform their music. The Jazz Cafe always has exciting events going on each week from 70s and 80s disco legends, Whitney Houston tribute nights, incredible jazz bands as well as club nights. If you want to feel some real soul and funk, then make your first stop in London the Jazz Cafe! Just a 1 minute walk from Camden Town station, it’s easy to reach and located right in the hustle and bustle of Camden.  

Nearest tube: Camden Town

Need a hostel in the area? Check out

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