is synonymous with nightlife, pride and having a good time. It’s also a great place to see live music. Here’s a run down of 8 of the best places to see some.
Ronnie Scott’s stage | Courtesy of Ronnie Scott’s | Courtesy of Ronnie Scott's
In the Jazz world, Ronnie Scott’s is nothing short of legendary. Since 1959, it has hosted the biggest names in Jazz, from Chet Baker and Ella Fitzgerald, to Katie Melua and Jamie Cullum. The cosy and plush interior is the perfect bunker to pass an evening, soaking up some smooth sounds. You can imagine the room shrouded in cigarette smoke so thick you could barely see the glint of the saxophones on stage. Thankfully the air is now as fresh as the jazzy licks on offer.
Ronnie Scott’s, 47 Frith St, Soho, London, England, +44 20 7439 0747
Diversity is the order of the day at this much-loved Soho institution. For the past two decades, it’s been serving up the best in established acts and new and upcoming talent. Come for rock, metal, indie, blues, country and folk acts. With a capacity of under 300, things get pretty intimate, but don’t let that stop you strutting your stuff and enjoying a classic Soho evening.
The Borderline, Orange Yard, Manette St, Soho, London, England, +44 20 3871 7777
Another London legend. Everyone who is anyone has played here, from The Clash to Oasis. It has hosted live music since 1942 when it was known as the Feldman Swing Club. As with many of the thousands of acts who have performed here over the decades, this one goes down in history as one of the city’s greats.
100 Club, 100 Oxford St, Fitzrovia, London, England, + 44 20 7636 0933
Pizza Express Live
Pizza Express Jazz club | Courtesy of Pizza Express | Courtesy of Pizza Express
This intimate basement pizza-based jazz club has presented the cream of musical talent since 1976 in the heart of Soho. It’s won an armful of awards as one of the best jazz venues around and has hosted a dizzying roster of performers including Norah Jones, Gregory Porter and the late, great Amy Winehouse.
Pizza Express Jazz Club, 10 Dean St, Soho, London, England +44 20 7437 9595
Jazz After Dark
It may be known as Jazz After Dark, but this lively gem also hosts blues and acoustic acts. It’s a late night cocktail bar and restaurant as well, so all your needs are catered to. With live acts every night and late opening during the week and weekends, it’s a favourite haunt for many a musician, including once upon a time Mr Pete Doherty and The Libertines.
Jazz After Dark, 9 Greek St, Soho, London, England +44 20 7734 0545
Ain't Nothing But Blues
Bar, American, $$$
Ain’t Nothing But Blues
Live music rocks a saloon style back room in this Kingly Street blues bar, named after the timeless Georgia White song. Caricatures of blues legends like Muddy Waters and Lightning Hopkins adorn the walls and the well stocked bar is sure to cater for all tastes. As long as you’re a blues lover, you’ll love it.
Ain’t Nothing But Blues, 20 Kingly St, Soho, London, England, +44 20 7287 0514
Spice Of Life
Spice Of Life Stage | Courtesy of SOL
This listed Soho landmark plays host to great Jazz names from Darius Brubeck and Soweto King, to Jamie Cullum himself. There are events every night of the week including Open Mic spots if you’re feeling particularly brave. Cheap drinks, great food and ice cool music make this one a real local star.
Live At Zedel
Enjoy dinner and a show at the acclaimed Brasserie. The house bands will serenade you as you devour your coq au vin in classic French surroundings. There’s gypsy jazz, Latin, New Orleans soul and cabaret acts. The tunes are as saucy as the food.
Brasserie Zedel, 20 Sherwood St, Soho, London, England +44 20 7734 4888