When it comes to London, Hackney and Shoreditch still get first dibs on what’s ‘cool’. So if you’re looking to see the coolest new bands in two of the hippest areas of London, our guide to the best music venues in Hackney and Shoreditch is the place to start.
Restaurant, European, $$$
With a varied and interesting musical programme, this repurposed railway station venue ‘drawing on a Nordic aesthetic is sure to intrigue and delight. Next door to Hackney Central on Amhurst Road, Oslo is live and kicking during the day for laid back fun; and at night for, eating, partying and enjoying the vast smorgasbord of music.
Over the years this Dalston stalwart has seen the likes of Bloc Party, Chvrches and The Cribs light up the stage. With regular parties hosted by Land Of Kings and Vice, there’s always a wild time to be had. The food is excellent too, with residencies from street food pop-ups always occupying the ground floor. Let yourself go. Every day is a birthday here.
The hackney branch of the club of a military veteran society (The Memorable Order of Tin Hats), the Moth Club is now run by the folks behind The Shacklewell Arms and The Lock Tavern and has been hosting entertainment for decades. Steeped in history and good music.
One of London’s most unique music performance spaces, this Grade II listed church was built in 1792. The Hackney Parish church and local music scene coexist peacefully in the same space. The echoey acoustics, dramatic architecture and stained glass-filtered light create an epic and reverent feel.
Shoreditch party favourite, Old Blue Last hits all the right notes, with minimal décor, great bands and a well-stocked bar of English and American craft beers. It’s owned by Vice, and we all know they can organise a decent party. An East London must for visitors and locals alike.
You could call it characterful, cosy, or just plain down and dirty, but The Shacklewell Arms is mainly loads of fun. The main bar area leads to the band room at the back, which is a steamy, stinky cauldron of music and beer. To take a break from the intense musical enjoyment, head to the quirky, fairy-lit courtyard with your drink before diving back in. Huge fun in a small venue.
Signposted by graffiti covered train carriages and shipping containers, Village Underground is easy to spot. The vast, Victorian warehouse hosts a huge range of music nights from bands to solo artists to DJs, as well as other performance art, theatre and club nights. Another definite highlight of the Hackney music trail.
As the name suggests, this music hub also boasts some pretty decent eats. DJ Seth Troxler takes the helm of Smokey Tails, the upscale on-site barbecue joint. Grab a bite to eat before heading into the band room to take in music from the next big things in indie, disco and pop, and occasionally bigger acts rocking intimate warm-up shows before their mega tours. Food plus music equals winning.
This jazzy little number has been specialising in music and booze for 20 years. There’s live jazz seven nights a week as well as contemporary folk and world music. It has a strong focus on young up and comers but also boasts bigger acts every now and then. A very cool customer and one of Dalston’s finest.
This gargantuan Shoreditch bar and club is an absolute assault on the senses with neon lit graffiti covered walls, pinball machines and thumping beats. Live bands and DJs fill the venue on weekends. Escape to the rooftop bar for a breath of fresh air (which you will need after the seemingly never-ending ascent on the stairs).
This one’s a little wackier. Mainstream is definitely not in the vocab of this vast airy venue located behind Dalston’s Kingsland High Street. Discover music you never knew you needed in your life, every day of the week. We’re talking improv, free jazz, psych-rock and lots lots more. Weird but very wonderful.