London Nightlife Tips by planxty

London Nightlife: 1,246 reviews and 1,308 photos

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Skyline Drifters @ World's End, Finsbury Park, UK. - London

Skyline Drifters @ World's End, Finsbury Park, UK.

World's End, Finsbury Park.: Another good music venue

The Finsbury Park area of North london has long been known as a bit of a centre for live music and indeed I have played plenty of gigs there myself. I was recently invited to a friends 40th birthday party in a venue which, remarkably, I had never been into that was called the World's End. This is not to be confused with the Worlds End in nearby Camden, another well-known music venue and where I have also played.

Like so many of the venues in London, this place is effectively a large, old fahioned Victorian pub (bar) with a function space for gigs, in this case the back bar. As I said, it was a private party but I believe all the gigs here are free.

Drink is normal pub prices ofr the area and the staff were efficient and friendly.

The pictures show the wonderful Skyline Drifters, who are all good friends and drinking buddies of mine and are a superb band even if they only play about once every three years! Long story. Although not great quality, this gives some idea of the quality of the band.

A good place to check out if you are in the area.

Dress Code: Casual.

Address: 21-23 Stroud Green Road Finsbury Park N4 3EF

Directions: Come out of Finsbury Park Tube / Train Station, turne left up Stroud Green Road and it is a few hundred yards on the left.

Phone: +44 (0)207 281 8679

Theme: Live Music

Website: http://www.myspace.com/worldsendlivemusic

Review Helpfulness: 3.5 out of 5 stars

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  • Updated Oct 4, 2013
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Half moon, Putney: Excellent music venue.

This place really is a legendary music venue. I must admit, I haven't been for a while, but I must get back. Over the years (40 plus now) just about everybody has played there, from Kate Bush to U2 by way of Billy Connolly and Nick Cave.

I remember one wonderful afternoon sitting drinking with the late and much missed Alan Hull from the escellent Lindisfarne, one of the great folk rock bands of all time. We had a few, well more than a few really, and then he went onstage and played an absolute blinder. He was playing solo, just him and the guitar and he was superb. I spent another similar afternoon with Dave Pegg from Fairport convention and Jethro Tull amongst others. Right, that is probably enough name-dropping from me, you really should get down there, it is a really laid back atmosphere and who knows who you might meet?

Check the website for forthcoming gigs.

Dress Code: Anything, no problem.

Address: 93, Lower Richmond Road, Putney, SW15.

Directions: Go to Putney Bridge tube (District Line), walk across the bridge, turn first right into Lower Richmond Road and it's a couple of hundred yards on your left.

Phone: +00 44 (0)208 780 9383

Theme: Live Music

Website: http://www.halfmoon.co.uk/

Review Helpfulness: 3.5 out of 5 stars

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  • Updated Jun 20, 2013
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Dublin Castle, Camden, London, UK. - London

Dublin Castle, Camden, London, UK.

Dublin Castle, Camden: A British pop classic.

This place is an absolute classic of the British music scene and has been going for years. Some of the famous acts who played regularly here were Madness and Blur. There is even a huge signed Madness poster on the wall. It is so famous, it has almost become a place of pilgrimage for Britpop fans. I once spent a very surreal afternoon drinking in there with about 20 French Damon Albarn clones - very wierd.

The front part of the building is an ordinary (in fact, very ordinary) pub, but it's in the back room where the place really scores with live music every night.

The musical policy is completely eclectic, and quite often has three acts a night on rangng from poets to thrash metal via just about everything in between.

The music room isn't huge, and more popular bands sell out early, so book in advance.

Dress Code: The only people with ties are record company executives!

Wear what you want.

Address: 94 Parkway Camden London NW1 7AN

Directions: Come out of Camden tube and walk up Parkway (the road opposite the Worlds End pub). It's a few hundred yards along on the right.

Phone: +00 44 (0)207 485 1773

Theme: Live Music

Website: http://thedublincastle.com/54/London/Dublin_Castle.html

Review Helpfulness: 3.5 out of 5 stars

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  • Updated Jun 20, 2013
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LHT Urban Bar, Whitechapel, London, UK. - London

LHT Urban Bar, Whitechapel, London, UK.

LHT Urban Bar, Whitechapel.: Bad paintjob, good venue.

I have been drinking in this place for over 20 years now and it has certainly changed a lot. If you are wondering about the name LHT Urban Bar, the LHT stands for London Hospital Tavern, it's former name and a long-time watering hole for doctors, nurses and hospital staff from the eponymous adjoining premises. It used to be a fairly typical East End pub with the exception that the roof was completely covered with framed prints all over the ceiling. I could tell you a funny a story about that, but I don't want to embarrass my mate.

Fast forward to know and the place has much changed. Firstly, the paintjob as mentioned in the title of this tip. It is painted in the most garish orange and black tigerstripes over the entire three storey exterior. You certainly won't miss it is a hurry. Inside, it is a comfy and friendly pub with a superb jukebox and reasonable pub grub during the day and evening but it is the upstairs function room that this tip refers to. Whilst previously it was only hired out for private functions but, like the exterior paintjob, it is all changed now.

You can choose from bands of various genres at the weekend (some gigs are free and some have a cover charge, usually not more than £3), there are occasional poker nights and a regular salsa class on Tuesdays and Wednesdays beginning at 1930. Here is a link specific to the class.

http://www.salsaclass.co.uk/salsa_urban_bar.htm

An added advantage of "the Urban" as it is locally referred to is that it stays open (legally) longer than most other bars on this stretch of the Whitechapel Road, typically 0100 weekday and 0200 Friday and Saturday. Sunday closing can vary dependent on how busy it is, it can be a little quiet. In an area where live music and indeed pubs themselves seem to be dying out, the Urban seems to be flying the flag. You may even meet me propping up the end of the bar. If you are wearing any VT promo gear, I'll buy you a drink!

Update June 2013.

Well, they really have gone and done it now, haven't they? I should really re-write this whole tip as it is largely about the appalling paintjob but as of a few weeks ago they have decided to re-paint the outside. It is now a much more sober looking place if that is not an oxymoron. A sober pub? Perhaps they read my tip and took the hint. Otherwise, things continue much as normal. I'll try to get an up to date image soon and add it asap. In fact, it is a while since I was in there so going to take photos is as good an excuse as any!

Dress Code: Casual.

Address: 176 Whitechapel Road, E1 1BJ.

Directions: On the Whitechapel Road, adjacent to the Royal London Hospital and directly opposite Whitechapel Tube station.

Phone: +00 44 (0)20 7247 8978

Theme: Live Music

Website: http://www.lhturbanbar.co.uk/index.html

Review Helpfulness: 2.5 out of 5 stars

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  • Updated Jun 20, 2013
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Mott the Hoople, London, UK. - London

Mott the Hoople, London, UK.

The Hammy O.: An absolute rock classic.

Heaven knows what it is called these days, it has changed names more times than Cher changes outfits in a standard show, but to true rockers this venue will always be known as the Hammy O, or more properly the Hammersmith Odeon. A quick internet check reveals it is the Hammersmith Apollo these days.

The place really deserves the description legendary, although I know the term is much overused nowadays. Bowie did his iconic and briliantly filmed last Ziggy and the Spiders gig here way back in the 70's. I have seen Carlos Santana, Jethro Tull and various other world class acts there. Other than that the Irish dance show "Riverdance" packed them in here for a long, long time, it was their London home. I actually used to hang about with a few of the dancers in a long demised bar not far from the venue.

As the original name suggests, it is a converted cinema and therefore all seated, which is not my preferred way to watch bands but it is a good size and comfortable enough. If you like your rock, this is the place in London you are most likely to see it.

The photos here are all from a wonderful gig in November 2009, which was a Mott the Hoople reunion tour, and will probably be their last due to the drummers health problems. I had always loved Mott and had never managed to see them live, so this really was a special night for me. To see Ian Hunter, Mick Raplphs and the rest of the original line up reunited after over 30 years was simply magic, and I got a front row seat! The fact that Ian Hunter was in his seventies (although he would not admit it) quite gave me hope for my limited musical career. Another Hammy O special,

The venue is not specifically rock, they do all sorts of shows (comedy, MOR, kids shows etc.), which is great. My only gripe with the place is that they are owned by the Mean Fiddler group, whom I detest for reasons probably best not gone into here. You, dear reader, need not worry about that, just check the website for a gig that might suit you.

On a practical level, allow yourself about ten to fifteen minutes to get to or from either Hammersmith Tube station as it is a bit of a hike and I would not want you to miss your connection.

Rock on!

Dress Code: none enforced, it depends on the gig.

Address: Queen Caroline Street, London, Greater London W6 9

Directions: Well signed from the two Tube stations, basically on the river side of the massive one way system.

Phone: +00 44 ()020 8563 3800

Theme: Live Music

Website: http://venues.meanfiddler.com/apollo/home

Review Helpfulness: 3.5 out of 5 stars

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  • Updated Feb 6, 2013
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Stage Door Bar, Waterloo, London, England. - London

Stage Door Bar, Waterloo, London, England.

Stage Door Bar, Waterloo: Good new talent.

On Saturday and Sunday nights, the Stage Door is an excellent place to go and watch live music. The licensee Dave (himself no mean musician) organises live gigs on certain Saturdays, and an open mic night on a Sunday, both starting at 2000.

The musical policy is very much slanted towards singer / songwriters and the standard is very good. If you fancy playing on the Sunday, turn up in good time as floor spots fill up early (PA is provided). Just speak to Dave the owner or whoever is MCing and they'll try and fit you in. On the odd occasion, your humble narrator may evenbe found in the MC slot.

There is sometimes a small cover charge on Saturday but Sunday is free.

Apart from the music nights, it's a great, lively pub which does excellent food throughout the day. Most major sporting events are shown on big screen and usually attract a good crowd. Sadly the pinball machine is long gone, to my great regret, but there is still a very retro table-style video games table

Dress Code: Casual.

Address: 28-30 Webber Street, London United KingdomSE1 8QA

Directions: From Waterloo Station, walk South on Waterloo Road until you see the Old Vic theatre. Take the street to the left hand side of the front of the theatre and the pub is about 100 yards on the right.

Phone: 00 44 20 7928 8964

Theme: Live Music

Website: http://www.thestagedoor.co.uk/

Review Helpfulness: 3.5 out of 5 stars

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  • Updated Feb 6, 2013
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White Hart pub, Mile End, London, UK. - Mile End

White Hart pub, Mile End, London, UK.

White Hart pub.: About all there is now.

Since the Burns Brothers stopped playing in the nearby Blind Beggar (see seperate tip) and the E1 nightclub closed it's doors, the options for entertainment in the Mile End area are quite limited with the White Hart being about the last bastion.

Murphy's is a proper East End pub and probably not the place to take your maiden aunt although I know several elderly ladies that drink there. The language can get a little fruity, especially when West Ham are playing football on the TV but it is as true a representaton of an old-fashioned local pub as I know.

The White Hart, oddly locally known as Murphy's, used to have weekly live music but has cut down like so many other places due to the recession. The current lineup of entertainment is as follows and current as of February 2013.

Every Thursday is a quiz night, well attended by local students and the medical community from the nearby Royal London Hospital, not to mention a few locals. Run by the entertaining and ridiculously well-informed John, admission is £1 per person and there are various prizes including free pizza, drink and a jackpot that can get as high as £120. Grab a few mates, think of a stupid team name and get along to it, it starts at 2100.

Also, on a Sunday night, various jazz outfits including the Hot Orange Band play here. They are a big band in the true sense of the word and I have counted 19 members onstage at one time which isn't bad for a band playing in a pub. They are really very talented as, indeed, are all the jazz acts here. There is no cover charge but a collection is taken.

Sadly, the excellent Latin nights that used to be a feature here have now gone by the wayside.

Should all the excitement make you hungry, rather delicious freshly made pizzas are available until 2200 hours every night. and yes, both the chefs are Italian! I shall deal with the food in a seperate tip.

On nights when there is no organised entertainment, all major sporting events are shown on a number of large screens and additional entertainment is generally provided by the non-stop banter of the locals, your humble correspondent included. Bring a healthy sense of humour with you and you will have a great time. If you do get this far, I'll buy you a drink!

Dress Code: Casual.

Address: 1 Mile End Road, E1 4TP

Directions: Nearest Tube, Whitechapel. It is at the start of Mile End Road on the North side at the junction with Cambridge Heath Road.

Phone: +00 44 (0)207 790 2894

Theme: Live Music

Review Helpfulness: 2.5 out of 5 stars

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  • Updated Feb 5, 2013
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Burns Brothers, Blind Beggar pub, Mile End, UK. - Mile End

Burns Brothers, Blind Beggar pub, Mile End, UK.

Blind Beggar pub.: Monday night madness.

Update, March 2011.

I do like to try and keep my tips up to date and it is with great regret that I have to tell you that the Burns Brothers no longer play in the Beggar on a Monday. This seems to be part of an ongoing trend to "gentrify" the place and turn it into some sort of winebar. This is a shame but all too common round here now. Fortunately, there is still a little nightlife in the nearby White Hart, see seperate tip for details.

OK, I will be honest. I live in the area and know just about everything that is going on. I have to say, however, that Monday night is hardly party night round here. With one notable exception which I intend to tell you about.

If you take yourself to the wonderful Blind Beggar pub on Whitechapel Road, made infamous by the fact that the notorious Kray twins murdered George Cornell as he sat by the bar. Don't let that put you off, the twins are both dead and the place is much different now. You are more likely to meet a French student than you are a gangster, although there are still a goodly selection of colourful East End characters.

A long-standing tradition is the Monday night gig of the Burns Brothers, who are actually not brothers at all, and not even called Burns to my knowledge! I have been going to see these guys for over 20 years now, and they really are an East End institution in their own right. Playing guitar and sax to the accompaniment of backing tracks, they belt out a mixture of, well just aobut anything really. I have heard them do covers from 50's rock 'n' roll standards, through Led Zeppelin to the Zutons. Madness also features heavily in the set.

The guys go down really well with a mixed audience and there is always a lot of banter with the audience although be warned, being an East End pub, the language can get a little salty at times. It remains one of the classic East End nights out and I thoroughly recommend it.

Dress Code: None.

Address: 337 Whitechapel Rd, London E1 1BU

Directions: On the junction of Whitechapel Road and Cambridge Heath Road. If you are coming from Whitechapel Tube, turn left out of the door and it is about 300 yards along on the left hand side opposite Barclays Bank.

Phone: 00 44 (0)207 247 6915

Theme: Live Music

Review Helpfulness: 2 out of 5 stars

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  • Updated Apr 4, 2011
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Jazz Cafe, Camden, London - London

Jazz Cafe, Camden, London

Jazz Cafe, Camden: Good international acts

The Jazz Cafe in Camden is a very famous live music venue. It is not strictly jazz (I've seen John Martyn there) but it certainly does attract a very good calibre of international acts, as well as some lesser known artists.

Be aware that it is not huge inside (comparatively) and popular acts sell out in advance, so book early.

Also, drink is fairly expensive in there, so "stocking up" in another of Camden's numerous watering holes beforehand may be in order if you're on a budget.

Dress Code: Smart casual.

Address: 5 Parkway, Camden town London, NW1 7PG

Directions: Come out of Camden tube, turn up Parkway (the street directly opposite the World's End pub) and it's about 100 yards on the right.

Theme: Live Music

Review Helpfulness: 3.5 out of 5 stars

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  • Updated Apr 4, 2011
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Constitution Pub, Camden, London, UK. - London

Constitution Pub, Camden, London, UK.

Constitution pub.: Good music venue.

Camden has long been renowned for music, and this is a tradition which lives on in the rather wonderful Constitution pub. Slightly out of the way between Camden and Kings Cross, it is well worth seeking out.

In the interests of fairness, and I do try to make my tips objective, I have to say that I have played here several times and friends of mine run the Folk Club, of which more later.

The pub itself, being on the Regent's Canal, is a very pleasant place for a drink with a delightful outdoor seating / smoking area offering a delightful view of the canal. In fact, the garden has won the title of Best Beer Garden in London for the last 5 years. the staff are friendly and there is a good selection of drinks. Chances are though that if you are reading this tip you will be visiting for the music. The music takes place in the intimate and very pleasant Cellar Bar.

Thursdays alternate between a night featuring new / unsigned indie / rock bands and the Folk in the Cellar Club mentioned above, run by members of the Northern Celts. There are Jazz and Blues nights every Wednesday and Friday night is again given over to new acts. Check the attached website for full details.

Dress Code: None.

Address: 42 St. Pancras Way, London NW1 0QT

Directions: From Camden mainline Station, walk down Royal College Street towards Kings Cross. Turn left into George Street (a small road) and the pub is opposite the far end of George Street.

Phone: +00 44 (0)207 387 4805

Theme: Live Music

Website: http://www.myspace.com/theconstitutioncamden

Review Helpfulness: 3.5 out of 5 stars

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  • Updated Jun 28, 2009
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