7 Great Intimate Venues in London
There is nothing like a small intimate gig and finding the perfect venue. Plus going to a smaller venue is almost always cheaper then a stadium tour – and that means more gigs for your money.
Take a look at the list below to find out more about some of my personal favourite smaller venues in the capital.
The Clapham Grand
The Clapham Grand is more than a Victorian-era listed building in London: the Clapham Grand is an icon of the city’s cultural legacy. That legacy is now reclaimed and enriched with a refurbishment and return to form as a live music venue.
Originally opened as a music hall in 1900, the 1,250-person capacity Clapham Grand has previously served as a cinema, bingo hall and nightclub at stages of its history.
But the greatest glories have arguably been through the artists and audiences it has hosted as a live music venue.
Bands that have taken the stage at this celebrated theatre include such luminaries as The Kinks, Chuck Berry, The Temptations, Siouxsie and the Banshees, Echo and the Bunnymen, Madness, through to Public Enemy, Jamiroquai, Chipmunk, Paul Weller, Oasis, Muse, Hole, The Verve and Jamie Cullum.
Scala, Kings Cross
The Scala is a beautiful multi-purpose venue in the King’s Cross area on the north side of central London. The building incorporates four main floors and can hold just over 1,000 people
Scala’s history of live music shows include Coldplay, Foo Fighters, Moby, Super Furry Animals, Chemical Brothers, Kruder & Dorfmeister The Doves, Dido, Outkast, Lionel Ritchie, Stereophonics, Suede, Gomez, Elbow, Robbie Williams, The Rapture, Hanoi Rocks, Kelis and many many more.
Islington Assembly Hall
Islington Assembly Hall is a stunning venue in the heart of Islington, north London.
The Grade II listed building first opened in 1930 and today retains much of its art deco interior and original architectural detail, including its magnificent stage.
Since being extensively refurbished in 2010 by Islington Council, it has become one of the capital’s most exciting live music venues, with a host of big names – as well as up-and-coming artists – playing sell-out shows.
Bush Hall, Shepherds Bush
Bush hall is a listed venue with unique elegant feel – old décor and stylish simplicity with its Edwardian music hall, two bars and a roof terrace.
The small (capacity around 350) but beautifully formed Bush Hall has a fantastic chequered history, surviving not only various incarnations as a music/dance hall in the roaring ’20s, soup kitchen, bingo hall, music rehearsal space and snooker club, but also bombardment during The Blitz.
Located in the heart of Shoreditch, XOYO is housed across two floors (the top being sister-bar The Shoreditch Butchery).
Featuring an expertly-tuned sound system the club has defined itself as a prime late-night destination.
Billed as a club-cum-event space, XOYO lays on parties and gigs in the high-ceiling dance basement, as well as exhibitions in a stark white gallery-like room upstairs.
The downstairs venue isn’t the optimum shape for live shows and there’s always a scrum at the two tiny bar areas, but somehow the jam adds to the feeling of an event.
The Electric Brixton has a long-standing live music heritage and has retained the theatrical structure, with the ground floor and stage overlooked by a mezzanine gallery, which helps lend this large space an intimate atmosphere.
Original features have been retained wherever possible, and the striking shades of blue & gold add to the grandiose classical look whilst modern touches throughout bring the lavish décor up to date.
Under The Bridge
Under the Bridge is a uniquely stylish west London music venue, purpose-built with the highest attention to detail, and featuring stunning, state-of-the-art sound and lighting. And you can find it directly beneath the home of Chelsea FC; Stamford Bridge (Hence the name – it all makes sense now!).
The unique design pays homage to the legendary venues in London’s rock history and the greats of British music, it’s a new club that feels like it’s been around forever. The acoustics in the place are also first rate – A fantastic choice of venue for any audiophiles.
Under the Bridge has been nominated for a Live Music Business Award.
What do you think of my selection? Let me know in the comments below!