From party places to family shows, Leamington has a great range of destinations. Despite being a relatively small town, it has a lot to offer visitors and residents in the way of culture, including some amazing live music venues.
Leamington Assembly and Zephyr Lounge
Leamington’s most well-known venue, Assembly is the go-to for any big name stopping in. There seems to be a show on any given night, ranging from frequent appearances by rock tribute bands belting out beloved classics, to musical giants such as Kooks and Patti Smith. Rock isn’t all that’s on offer – they host artists from other genres, and club nights are on the bill as well, with the poppy ‘Mixtape’ drawing in crowds every Saturday. Hidden in a basement directly underneath Assembly is the Zephyr Lounge, which is the perfect place to continue your night.
This cosy, friendly pub which doubles up as a live music venue has a personable vibe about it. Attending a live performance here will not only mean seeing a great acoustic band; you’ll wind up making friends with a bartender, hearing a new joke to re-use, and absolutely wanting to go back.
A student favourite every night of the week, Kelsey’s can always be found full of young people drinking the famous ‘Eliminator’, a bright-green concoction with ingredients that are hard to put your finger on. They host live music semi-regularly and when there is a show, expect the pool tables to take a knock or two from the dancing regulars rocking out.
Once the site of grand public baths, the landmark building was redeveloped in the 1990s to become a local hub of sorts. It boasts a brilliant museum, an art gallery, a visitor information centre, and music venue The Assembly Rooms. Don’t make the mistake of confusing it for the Assembly mentioned earlier, for here you’ll find a much more classical roster of performances, rather than music to dance to.
The Clarendon usually plays live music on the last Friday of every month. Some of the defining features of this quirky bar are the consoles they have in each corner, and their unique menu. Get here a little earlier than you plan to, because there’s no better way to spend the time waiting for an act to begin than playing classic games and trying their delicious doughnut burgers. The atmosphere at The Clarendon alone makes it worth visiting.
Cosy and calm, the Lief Tea Rooms are perfect for wandering into on a lazy afternoon. This is a music venue with a difference – should you find yourself with a couple of spare hours, their live pianist’s mood-setting music can be heard between 12.30pm and 2.30pm on any given weekday. Order a tea you’ve never tried, kick your feet up, and relax to the sounds of the beautiful melody.
The Centre and Town Hall have seemingly shunned the grandiose traditional leanings you’d expect from this venue. Rather, their ambition seems to be having something for everyone. Their schedule is worth checking whether you want to see your favourite comedy rock band, or watch a ‘Battle of the Bands’ between jazz orchestras. Stand-up comedy, talks and films are also hosted.
The taste of Bedford Street Bar leans towards the American; it can’t be missed by anybody with a fondness for jazz or blues. Performances take place five days a week, so whenever you feel like a cocktail, simply drift down to the most music-focused bar in Leamington Spa to enjoy some incredible live music and drinks.
A microbrewery that also boasts ‘Warwickshire’s largest gin selection’ sounds like the ideal venue to spend an evening. These brightly coloured and rustic rooms are the scene of all sorts of fun, including karaoke nights, making it the ideal spot for music and beverage connoisseurs who want to let their hair down.
Only a short bus trip or drive from Royal Leamington Spa is the University of Warwick’s campus, which shouldn’t be overlooked as an option for visitors in the area. It certainly isn’t overlooked by local creatives; the Arts Centre hosts both a gallery and a cinema, as well as regularly showcasing theatre and comedy. The live music is often orchestral, but often includes contemporary or pop artists, so checking the schedule is worthwhile regardless of taste.
Also on the University of Warwick’s campus is Curiositea, a cute café offering sweet tidbits alongside an assortment of teas and coffee. Each Thursday afternoon this spot on the ground floor of the Students’ Union building turns into a campus haven. They are a host of the ‘Coffee House Sessions’, an independent set-up which gives opportunities for up-and-coming acoustic performers to play at universities across the country. Artists who have previously played include Seafret and Izzy Bizu.