Top 20 Venues To Get Gigs At In London
Looking to play gigs in London? Here are 20 grassroots music venues to pitch to, with options for bands, DJs and aspiring promoters.
You’ve started the band, or captured the mix, agreed on a name and made the demo at your local recording studios. Now what? The first gig. A seminal moment in any artist's career, it’s that rush of an audience (sometimes consisting of just friends) that cements the artist and their sound. Small music venues in London are ten-a-penny, and some of the best live music pubs are everywhere, north to south.
We’ve scoured the capital for the best venues to get your first gig at. We wanted to find places that were no-fuss, legendary and actually possible to apply to play at. Find our top picks below, and be sure to book in rehearsal studio time before to make sure you’re squeaky.
94 Parkway, Camden, London. NW1 7AN
An absolute stalwart of Camden, The Dublin Castle has been serving up some of the best new British bands for years, including Amy Winehouse and Blur. With a dedicated space for new music out the back, a gig here is a perfect starting point for any new band who’s put in the rehearsal time and ready to make their mark on the rock/indie scene.
The Dublin Castle team welcome applications to play from emerging bands. To get involved, fill in their dedicated form with your address, why you want to play, and links to your socials.
30 Inverness Street, Camden Town, NW1 7HJ
Another absolute behemoth of the grassroots indie scene, The Good Mixer has seen the likes of Jarvis Cocker, Suggs and Ms. Winehouse through their doors. After your time at our Camden Rehearsal Studios, head and shred at The Good Mixer to place yourself at the forefront of the London scene.
2–3 Greenland Place, Camden Town, NW1 0AP
Heavy/Hard/Post Metal, Doom, Hardcore, Grunge, Punk bands unite – The Black Heart provides space for even the most punishing bands to let loose. Offering weekly gigs of some of the most forward thinking heavy bands in London and fresh local talent, it’s the place to get booked if your dreams are of a head banging mosh that won’t hold up.
Bands can apply to play at The Black Heart by emailing their booking manager Matt: email@example.com – make sure to include examples of your music from the get-go.
71 Shacklewell Lane, Dalston, E8 2EB
The absolute classic couldn’t not make this list. Just off the Kingsland Road, the pub has been showcasing some of the best undiscovered acts since it opened, making it one of London’s best music venues. The back room has been hosting new gigs forever, loads for free.
The Shacklewell Arms is run by Lanzarote Works, and it’s always worth giving them a shout once you’re ready to get your foot in the door. Email the team on firstname.lastname@example.org with a bio, your latest band press shots and of course, your music links.
388 New Cross Road, New Cross, SE14 6TY
Right opposite New Cross station, the Amersham Arms have been providing a stage for some of South East London’s best new bands. With Goldsmiths (university) round the corner, it focuses on younger newer acts from across the area with an eclectic line up across the week.
The Amersham Arms invite applications to perform from DJs, artists, musicians and bands via their website. Fill in the contact form or email the team on their general address: email@example.com.
323 New Cross Road, New Cross, SE14 6AS
Right down the road from the Amersham, New Cross Inn is the alternative hotspot showcasing live bands, 7 days a week. Walk past there on any day and there’s usually condensed windows, blurring the moshing, head banging and side stepping to new bands from the outside world.
As with Amersham, applications are accepted from anyone so if you’ve taken on our rehearsing tips and ready for the next step drop them a line using the dedicated form.
207 Upper Street, Islington, London, N1 1RL
The iconic live music London venue has hosted some of the most influential bands in the world – namely U2 (famously in front of 8 people), Joy Division, The Jam, The Cure, The Clash, The Police – you name them they’ve played at the Hope and Anchor. It seems their stage is laced with some powerful stuff so if you want a slice of success hit up their events team.
Hopefuls can fill out the Hope and Anchor contact form to pitch a gig.
205A Lower Clapton Road, Clapton, E5 8EG
Anything playing from Blondies fills the air on the Lower Clapton Road, so if your music is loud, loud and even louder this is the place to get booked. Their metal focus has been serving alternative scenes for years in East. The small music venue allows for you to connect with audiences like nowhere else.
If you're in a metal band, reach out via the Blondies contact form, if you want to be the next soundtrack of the Lower Clapton Road.
31–35 Coate St. Hackney, London, E2 9AG
Tucked away in Hackney, The Sebright Arms is brought to you by the team from Old Blue Last. They have monthly open decks sessions for you to flex your mixes, and the events are free – just book and turn up. A great starting place for those early-stage mixes (after reading our definitive guide and putting in time in the studio), The Hangover Club’s ‘Open Decks’ will be sure to get you club ready in no time.
You can find more information on the Sebright Arms Open Decks sessions, and sign up to take part on their website.
10. The Grace
20–22 Highbury Corner, London N5 1RD
The Grace’s historic upstairs venue has been serving and showcasing the Islington scene for years, hosting live music and free late night parties. Another one for DJs and promoters.
If you’re looking to host a 4am-er in a pub, this is the spot for you. Get in touch with the team via the contact form on their website.
11. The Waiting Room
175 Stoke Newington High St, London N16 0PE
The basement space underneath the Three Crowns in Stoke Newington is the perfect starting point for promoters. Showcasing the newest club nights in London, and some great established talent, the venue is made for people to move their bodies. With an inbuilt bar the venue is self contained, and open ‘til late. The perfect starting point for your Northern Donk night.
46 Deptford Broadway; Deptford; London SE8 4PH
The underground if-you-know-you-know club has been hosting twisted and scuzzy club nights for years, surrounded by local lore. If your forward thinking DnB, bone shattering bass or punky, scratch club night needs a home, Bunker could be the one.
13. VENUE MOT
Venue MOT Unit 18, Orion Business Centre, Surrey Canal Rd, London SE14 5RT
VENUE MOT in South Bermondsey is arguably one of the best clubs in London right now. Its DIY appeal, isolated location and almost illegal rave energy has been attracting die hard LDN clubbers for the past couple of years.
Venue MOT's ever-changing events lineup and future sounds ethos make it the perfect place to put on a grassroots party. Promoters can send enquires to: firstname.lastname@example.org.
For A Little Bit Of Everything
14. Moth Club
Old Trades Hall Valette Street E9 6NU
Hosting comedy, live music, bands, DJs, club nights – you name it the MOTH club hosts it. The stalwart Hackey venue in an old working mens club has been serving East Londoners a wide variety of the freshest talent for years. Whether you’re a budding comic, the newest band, hosting a queer club night, or testing out your synth skills, MOTH facilitates it all.
Run by same team as The Shaklewell Arms, Lanzarote Works, you know you're in good hands at Moth Club. Email the team on email@example.com if you want to put on a show.
Railway Arches 213–214, Edward Street, Deptford, SE8 5HD
The community space hosts boundary-pushing Queer art, theatre, live music, cabaret and collaborative projects in Deptford. It’s a community-focused, anti-commercial, volunteer-lead venue that aims to spotlight diverse, local talent and original, forward thinking art projects. They also really do serve pies.
If you’re interdisciplinary and have an amazing new idea for a project, email “Simon”. Just be sure your project fits the programming policy before applying.
16. The Victoria
451 Queensbridge Rd, London E8 3AS
A new icon on the Dalston scene, The Victoria has been showcasing the hottest new acts from across East London, with a focus on bands. Their ever-changing lineup and secret gig space behind a bookcase sets the scene (and if you sign up to their Jaguar Shoes collective for free you get 20% off at the bar). Jaguar Shoes have locations across East that showcase DJs artists and the newest music of East London. So if you’re in Pirate's East London rehearsal studios in Dalston or Hackney, it’s a short hop to play.
For bookings, get in touch with firstname.lastname@example.org.
17. Road Trip Bar
243 Old St, London EC1V 9EY
DJs and Bands look out – Road Trip Bar in Shoreditch is on the lookout for new promoters and nights for their gig space. Perfectly located to wrangle the late night punters of Old Street, the bar has an Americana vibe with live music in the back. Yeehaw.
Email email@example.com if you'd like to see your DJ name or band name on an upcoming Road Trip Bar lineup.
18. Dalston Den
89a Kingsland High Street E8 2PB
A multi-use venue space, Dalston Den is perfect for your scratch poetry evening, your live Jazz set, your interpretive Dance, you get the picture. The basement space on the Kingsland road is designed to be artist accessible, and hosts burgeoning talent from across London. Expect art shoes, poetry nights, interdisciplinary evenings across the board. Fix up and enquire about your showcase now.
For bookings, get in touch with the programmers via email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
42-46 Pollard Row, Bethnal Green,E26NB
The Queer focused Working Mens Club in Bethnal Green has all the old school charm of a social club with a completely Queer agenda. Drag, cabaret, gay nights, DJs. Whatever your flavour, Bethnal Green Working Mens Club hosts it all. They host some iconic nights like Slaystation and the Double R Club, so if your night fits the vibe get applying.
Working Men's Club welcome new events and parties, 'from blowout b'day bash or book launch, to civilised gathering or coporate do....' There's also a range of spaces so promoters don't need to worry about filling the whole venue. Find out more about booking Working Mens Club on the hire page on their website.
20. Fox and Firkin
316 Lewisham High St. London SE13 6JZ
Ask anyone in SE London where the best place to go for new, underground music is and the Fox and Firkin will be on their list. The iconic pub in Lewisham has been hosting the newest bands South East London has to offer weekly, with a huge garden and open fires to boot. They don’t just host bands, either and have regular club nights of all genres.
The application process for bands and DJs looking for a slot at the Fox and Firkin is super easy – just fill out their Google form with links to your music and a bit about yourself/your group.
London constantly proves itself as one of the greatest music cities in the world, with new venues always willing to support the most grassroots of artists. Whatever your craft, there's a space in London that’s passionate about showcasing your art and helping you in the next stage in your career, and that’s pretty cool to see.