Ain’t Nothin But Blues Bar
In the heart of Soho, this snug bar packs in as much soul as its walls can contain every night of the week. The small stage at Ain’t Nothin But Blues Bar is slightly off the ground, inviting the crowd to dance as close to the band as the instruments will allow. If you go before 8:30pm on the weekends, you can hear the roaring horns, drums and strings for free.
20 Kingly St, Carnaby, London, United Kingdom, +44 (0) 20 7287 0514
Servant Jazz Quarters
As Southerners love their cocktails as much as their music, so too does the Servant Jazz Quarters in Dalston. The small performance space hosts jazz singers and blues bands as well as up-and-coming DJs and artists. Its 1940s flare and modern approach to mixology gives its guests a delightful taste of now and then.
10A Bradbury Street, Dalston, London, United Kingdom, +44 (0) 20 7684 8411
The Blues Kitchen – Camden, Shoreditch, Brixton
There’s no excuse for not trying jambalaya, gumbo or Southern fried chicken in the mother country with three Blues Kitchen locations to choose from. Their live music shows and slow-cooked BBQ are equally divine, set in a cool, colourful venue with paintings of the baddest blues musicians in history – Freddie King, Lead Belly, Buddy Guy and Muddy Waters.
111-113 Camden High St, Camden Town, London, United Kingdom, +44 (0) 20 7387 5277
134-146 Curtain Rd, London, United Kingdom, +44 (0) 20 7729 7216
40 Acre Ln, Brixton, London, United Kingdom, +44 (0) 20 7274 0591
The Jazz Cafe
This is where you’ll catch some of the funkiest acts from New Orleans to Houston, up to North Carolina. With bands like Royal Southern Brotherhood, The Suffers and Jocelyn Brown, The Jazz Cafe is soulful to its core. You can also get your groove on at one of their regular music events like “Live Renditions of Classic Jazz Albums” or “R’n’B Club Night.” To make it a full evening out, check out their Southern-infused restaurant.
5 Parkway, Camden Town, London, United Kingdom, +44 (0) 20 7485 6834
Vortex Jazz Club
Opened in the ’80s by former taxi driver David Mossman and businessman Irving Kinnersley, this music institution started as an art gallery on Church Street. The Vortex Jazz Club is now a full-fledged jazz venue in Dalston, dedicated to spreading traditional and offbeat interpretations of the New Orleans-born genre. As a host of the London Jazz Festival and blues masterclasses, this avant-garde spot is the real deal.
11 Gillett Square, London, United Kingdom, +44 (0) 20 7254 4097
Ronnie Scott’s Jazz Club
Originally a place where locals could go and jam together, this cozy club in Soho has become a world stage for some of the biggest jazz players in the business. Blues greats like Miles Davis and Ella Fitzgerald have performed at Ronnie Scott’s Jazz Club, but new Southern sounds from Marcia Ball to Booker T. Jones bring down the house routinely. Don’t forget to check out the upstairs where they host their “Funky Nation!” and “Viva Cuba!” nights.
47 Frith St, Soho, London, United Kingdom, +44 (0) 20 7439 0747
Want a little bit of everything? Hideaway is the place to seek. It’s not only a music bar and restaurant, but also a good spot for some stand-up comedy. An intimate space with an easy-going atmosphere, it draws in funk and jazz lovers alike. Head to SW16 if you need more laughter and loud music in your life.
2 Empire Mews, Stanthorpe Rd, Streatham, London, United Kingdom, +44 (0) 20 8835 7070
Alleycat Bar & Club
Jam sessions and late-night shows at the Alleycat Bar & Club are perfect for soaking in the laid-back, laissez-faire vibes of the South. It’s also a dream destination for those who bask in the glory of musical greatness – the Rolling Stones recorded their first album here. This basement venue has been cranking out famous tunes since the ’60s and has no intention of slowing down anytime soon.
4 Denmark St, London, United Kingdom, +44 (0) 20 7836 1451