The 5 best venues for live music in London

1) Wilton's Music Hall

Tucked away behind a row of terraced houses this historic East End music hall dates from 1859 and is the oldest surviving example of its type. It has recently been refurbished, but with care not to diminish the wonderful atmosphere and sense of age. They put on a distinctive range of concerts and events including opera, piano sonatas, musical theatre, swing dance, cabaret and magic.

Wilton's Music Hall

2) Cafe Oto

Undoubtedly one of the most exciting venues with an amazing experimental music programme. It’s an intimate space with low ceilings, brick walls and no raised stage. Local and international acts perform free jazz, avant-garde, psych rock, folk, noise, improv, electronics and world music. By day there’s an excellent cafe kitchen serving Persian food and great cakes. There’s also a small record shop.

performance at Cafe Oto

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3) The Vortex

This community-minded and non-profit little jazz venue is one of the best jazz spots in the country. The diverse and innovative programming nurtures new talent and features jazz in its many varied guises including contemporary, improv, free, fusion and gypsy. There’s a bar cafe downstairs in addition to the small upstairs main room.

The Vortex Jazz Club

4) MOTH Club

The Memorable Order of Tin Hats is a bizarre and exciting new venue housed within the confines of a still functioning military veterans club. The glittery update of the traditional interior is magical. Entertainments vary from the latest avant-indie and pop to themed quiz nights, bingo and film screenings.

performance at MOTH club

Old Trades Hall Valette Street, Hackney

+44 (0)20 8985 7963


5) King's Place

Located in the redeveloped King’s Cross area and sharing a building with The Guardian newspaper, this venue has a modern, purpose-built concert hall with amazing acoustics and a stunning oak veneer décor. The hall is moderately sized with the programming weighted towards chamber and classical music but also including world, folk, jazz, choral and poetry.

 music performance at King's Place

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