The Dublin Castle, Camden
The Dublin Castle is often regarded as a training room for the UK indie scene's biggest acts. Arctic Monkeys, Blur, and Coldplay all played shows here in their nascence. Madness also developed their characteristic sound here, lending this small Camden space a resonance.
The Halfmoon, Putney
Putney’s The Halfmoon was nearly stripped of its music venue status in 2009; a planned refurbishment was to rid the pub of its live music room. Over 6,000 fans took to Facebook to express their displeasure, and the venue was saved. To this day it hosts bands local and internationally renowned and has been gigged by cultural behemoths The Rolling Stones, Kate Bush, and Nick Cave, amongst others since 1963. This comfy Putney pub remains a cornerstone in London’s live music scene.
The 100 Club, Oxford Street
Oxford Street’s 100 Club is another venue that has recently had to fight for its right to exist. This underground bunker is full of character and has been toured by Paul McCartney, Oasis, The Clash, and even Muddy Waters, way back in the day. A trip here is well paired with one of the nearby hotels in Shoreditch.
Bush Hall, Shepherd’s Bush
Bush Hall isn’t inherently a music venue; it has been a dance hall, a bingo hall, a soup kitchen and a snooker club during its long life. In recent years it has hosted shows by REM, Kings of Leon and The Killers, amongst other UK rock giants. It’s an inoffensive hall surrounded by great restaurants and nightlife.
Hope and Anchor, Islington
This venue is pure pub rock, with vestiges of punk also apparent. An early U2 played here, back when they were incorrectly billed as the U2’s. British legends Joy Division played their first London show here, photographs of which are also included as part of the memorabilia that populates the inside walls to show visitors the impressive past of the venue. There are comedy nights here too, so there’s a fair bit of variety.