Delicious food, crafty cocktails and a dose of live music is often all you need for an enjoyable evening out in the city. Whether you’re looking for an intimate jazz lounge, a party-ready rooftop, or a bit of country to carry you through the week, there’s an ideal bar playing live music in London for you.
Best Live Music Bars In London
Tucked under Covent Garden Market, newbie Stereo Covent Garden is the place to be for music up-and-comers, with weekly Thursday night ‘Collectives’ inviting DJs to host an evening and showcase their individual house music style, and partnerships with record labels to showcase up and coming bands and artists. It’s also the place to be for music lovers, with an every-night live music offering spanning soul, funk and Jazz alongside hand-picked musicians and vocalists. Soak it all in with a tasty cocktail in hand, like the Soho Smash (Stereo Gin, basil, green chartreuse, lime cordial) or the Stereo Spritz (Select Aperitivo, Fair passion fruit liqueur, white wine, Bob’s vanilla bitters, carbonated). And soak up the moody interiors, with curved booths and sunken sofas orbiting a mirrored bar, with moody lighting emanating from huge amber orbs. If you can’t pull yourself away from the talent, the drinks, the interiors, why not have a nibble, too? Moreish warm popcorn with espelette salt is the perfect bar snack, as are friggitelli peppers or crudites for a fresh crunch. Or tuck into one of the topped nacho sharers if you’re a group; the vegan Symplicity chorizo is otherworldly.
Find It: 35 The Piazza, London WC2E 8BE. stereocoventgarden.com
2. Ronnie Scott’s
One of the world’s most respected jazz bars, Ronnie Scott’s has well earned its place as a staple in the British jazz scene. Located in the bustling Soho, it’s hosted some of the biggest names in the industry, from Ella Fitzgerald to Donald Byrd. It’s open every day, but tickets sell out fast, so we’d recommend booking ahead.
Find It: 47 Frith St, London W1D 4HT. ronniescotts.co.uk
Jazz with a side of delicious Japanese food? Don’t mind if we do. Over in Hackney, Amit and Aneesh Patel’s “mu” opened in April 2022 with a bang, home to nightly live music and unique robatayaki grill Japanese dishes, with a curated list of natural wines and an array of classic and seasonal cocktails for good measure. Named for the seminal album by legendary trumpeter Don Cherry, the live music draws on global influences, and the small, curated menu is led by head chef Duarte Loupa, with an array of bar snacks, small plates, large plates and sides on offer, with one shining dessert: the humble crème brûlée (with a Japanese twist, of course).
Find It: 432-434 Kingsland Rd, London E8 4AA. mu-ldn.com
4. Brilliant Corners
Staying in Dalston, find Brilliant Corners down the road if you prefer more of a DJ vibe. Named for the famed Thelonius Monk album, Brilliant Corners was the first London dining venue to permanently feature an audiophile sound system, pioneering the hi-fi bar concept outside of Japan. Specialising in natural wine – this is East London, after all – grab a glass, sit beneath the glowing, moon-like orbs of light and settle in for an evening of great music. There’s also a cocktail menu devised by bar manager Tom Biddles (the mezcal margarita is divine), plus a delicious seasonal five-course set menu inspired by the izakaya of Japan. Expect the likes of moreish edamame, mouth-watering salmon tartare and delicate sashimi and maki rolls, ending with punchy chicken kara-age with spicy mayo.
Find It: 470 Kingsland Rd, London E8 4AE. brilliantcornerslondon.co.uk
5. Skylarking Peckham
Whether you’re looking for mid-week fun or a weekend blow out, there’s live music almost every night at Skylarking in Peckham, from local talent to soulful sounds to DJs every Wednesday from 7pm.
Find It: 26 Blenheim Grove, London SE15 4QL. skylarkingpeckham.com
6. Long Bar at The Sanderson
Not only is the Sanderson Hotel’s Long Bar aesthetically alluring with its ‘eye-catching’ bar seats, glorious greenery and botanical surroundings, the bar also entertains with live music every evening from Wednesday through to Saturday. From house DJs and saxophonists, to after-dark dancing at the weekends, this stylish hotel hotspot hosts a music style to accompany every cocktail in the book.
Find It: 50 Berners Street, Fitzrovia, London W1T 3NG. morganshotelgroup.com
7. Peckham Arches
Peckham Arches’ ‘DJs on the terrace’ takes place every Friday and Saturday night from 7pm until midnight, flooding the bar and outdoor terrace area with a buzzy atmosphere, accompanied by delicious cocktails and local beers.
Find It: Blenheim Grove, London SE15 4QN. peckhamarches.com
8. The Lockdown Room
Over on London City Island, The Lockdown Room hosts several live music nights every week. Looking for summer vibes? Head to the summer stage, or head down for the jazz festival, craft beer festival, or rotating schedule of outdoor music acts throughout summer.
Find It: Hopewell Square, Leamouth Peninsula, London E14 0SY. thelockdownroom.com
9. The Piano Works
This late-night live music venue certainly knows how to put on a show. Located in both the West End and Farringdon – the latter of which is a Victorian listed warehouse – The Piano Works offers evenings filled with fantastic food (brunch, lunch and dinner), artist-inspired cocktails (try the Gin It Jackson and the Elton Gin), and spectacular live music from a six-piece band which play songs at the audience’s request. Branded as ‘part party – part bar – part restaurant – part concert’, this very special venue has a little something to satisfy everyone.
Find It: 113-117 Farringdon Road, London EC1R 3BX & 47 Whitcomb Street, London WC2H 7DH. pianoworks.bar
10. 100 Wardour Street
Toast to midweek merriment with 100 Wardour Street’s ‘Tuesdays Live’ events, a series of live music from up and coming artists accompanied by a new Sunset Hour menu starring £8 cocktails and delicious plates.
Find It: 100 Wardour St, London W1F 0TL. 100wardourst.com
11. The Blues Kitchen
With locations in Brixton, Camden and Shoreditch, you’re never too far from The Blues Kitchen. The Blues-inspired bar-come-restaurant is all about the music, hosting late-night live funk and soul every weekend, Blues, Country and Motown acts throughout the weeks, and an array of euphonious events, from ‘Basement Blues’ (inclusive of £5 cocktails!) to ‘Soul Sacrifice’ every Thursday.
Find It: Venues in Shoreditch, Camden and Brixton. theblueskitchen.com
12. Savage Garden
For cocktails and live music with a view, head to Savage Garden. Situated on the 12th Floor of the DoubleTree by Hilton, the rooftop bar offers panoramic views of the city skyline, a fiery cocktail menu – the ‘kiss-ass martini’ and ‘wild poison’ come to mind – and an array of ‘feasting savagery’, from coconut beef short ribs to honey miso aubergine sliders. The bar hosts unmissable monthly ‘Savage Sessions’ (every 2nd and 4th Tuesday of each month), where guests can enjoy an unforgettable evening of live music, dancing and drinking, sky high.
Find It: Floor 12, 7 Pepys Street, London EC3N 4AF. savagegarden.co.uk
13. Eastcheap Records
Eastcheap Records is the latest live music and cocktail bar to hit Billingsgate. Head there for tasty 2-4-1 cocktails (5 – 8pm everyday), ideal-for-sharing dishes, and of course, plenty of good tunes. Browse the bar’s 5,000 vinyl record collection (and take one home if you wish), and be sure the keep an eye out for their unmissable live music events, from acoustic sessions to the ‘heavyweight house party’.
Find It: 20 Eastcheap, London EC3M 1EB. eastcheaprecords.com