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The Best Independent Live Music Venues in London

Words by Emily Dauris

One of the world’s most diverse cities when it comes to after dark activity, many legendary nights have been had across the ever-evolving music scene of London. From the charm of Camden all the way down south to Brixton, there is something for all types of music-lover in every corner of the capital.

Though the nightlife options in London are hard to choose from, it’s the independent live music venues that perhaps provide the most interesting experiences. They are the lifeblood of London's music scene, offering fans opportunities to discover emerging artists and catch bigger names against more intimate backdrops. 

Supporting independent live music venues goes a long way to preserving the unrivalled vibrancy of the UK music scene. Despite often struggling to compete with bigger, more commercial venues, it is the varied and unique settings, spaces and experiences offered up by  these independent venues that make them so important to protect.

To celebrate such live spaces, we thought we’d put together a guide to the best independent live music venues in London - from concert halls to basement box spaces. A little love please for the places that keep London's music culture one of a kind.


Troxy is a Grade II listed art-deco cinema that has been transformed with assistance from lighting and tech, to become a special music venue in a grand setting. Stall seats have been substituted for standing audience space - or tables, depending on the event - but the surrounding upper circle sections still give the venue that theatre feel.

Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds were one of the first acts to perform at Troxy back in 2008 and since then the venue has hosted the likes of Patti Smith, London Grammar and many other legendary artists. This is an independent venue that has truly moved with the times. Reinventing itself more times than Bowie, Troxy offers more intimacy than a stadium and yet can fully cater to the stage presence of the world-renowned musicians it attracts.

See upcoming events at Troxy.


Ex-servicemen’s members' club by day, live music, film screening and comedy venue by night, Hackney’s MOTH Club is one of London’s most individual venues.

Quirky and authentic, MOTH has become a haven for emerging artists to cut their teeth as well serving as a more intimate setting for established acts to connect with fans. Beneath a glittered gold ceiling, MOTH’s dancehall offers a diverse playbook featuring everything from bingo nights, comedy and cabaret, to club nights, lectures and live music.

See upcoming events at MOTH Club.

The Shacklewell Arms

A traditional pub on the surface, The Shacklewell Arms hosts a - not-so-secret - boldly-painted back room. Here, a wide range of upcoming live bands and musicians take to the stage on weeknights and at the weekends London’s best emerging DJs are responsible for filling the dancefloor.

The Shacklewell Arms is a fairly well-known independent live music venue in Dalston, but the underground, alt vibe of the back room gives that feeling of having discovered something special. 

See upcoming events at The Shacklewell Arms.

Village Undergound

Village Underground is one of London’s most unique live music venue spaces. Doubling up as a coworking space for creatives, the venue is formed of four reclaimed tube carriages atop an abandoned Victorian warehouse. Originally destined for scrappage, the repurposing of these units into soundproofed entertainment spaces was just the beginning of Village Underground’s vision to create an eco-friendly live music venue - they also run on 100% green energy.

Showcasing both emerging and established talent for over 15 years, this Shoreditch venue has become a great example of how to succeed as a thriving independent live music venue in East London.

See upcoming events at Village Underground.


The result of another successful renovation, EartH (Evolutionary Arts Hackney) launched in 2018 as a thoughtfully-designed multi-arts space. EartH Theatre has 630-capacity tiered seating and, with its state-of-the-art immersive sound system, is an ideal space for the bands, musicians and comedians it hosts. EartH Hall is a huge versatile standing space for gigs, electronic acts and music events that can hold an audience of 1,200.

A modern venue with art deco elements but unparalleled sound and lighting systems, it’s no wonder that it didn’t take long for EartH to attract some of the most exciting artists and performers of the century.

See upcoming events at EartH.

Ally Pally

Alexandra Palace, affectionately known as ‘Ally Pally’, is a Grade II listed magnificent palace where a huge array of events take place each year in the Great Hall, the West Hall, the Victorian Theatre and the extensive Palace grounds. It has become a centre for performing arts, live music, creative learning and activities.

The venue is also run by a charity and event profits go towards charitable projects and funding the ongoing preservation of the historical Ally Pally.

See upcoming events at Ally Pally.

The Underworld

The Underworld is an absolute staple of London’s alternative music scene, having popped up during the early 90s when an evolved counterculture scene took over the capital’s nightlife. Turned from Victorian toilet into subterranean gig space, The Underworld fostered a new, burgeoning roster of underground bands and artists, as well as globally-known ones. 

The Offspring, Placebo, The Cranberries, and Radiohead are just a few that have stepped below the surface of this 500-capacity venue that forms part of Camden’s iconic The World’s End pub. 

Today, The Underworld continues to carry the torch for emerging acts, hosting them in a place that still has a distinct, individual feel. 

See upcoming events at The Underworld. 


For live music in Brixton, best head to Hootananny. Another classic pub encompassing an exclusive performance space where a diverse range of musicians and DJs play from Wednesday to Sunday throughout the year.

Fans can enjoy an eclectic mix of live music at this legendary venue, as well as party nights, and when hunger stirs you’ll be well served by the mouth-watering options served up at their food stalls. The liveliness and energy of this live music venue are only matched by Brixton itself, making it the place to go for positive vibes and a taste of culture.  

See upcoming events at Hootananny.

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