London is home to so many pubs, bars and venues which look rock’n’roll that it might seem a Mecca for anybody into all things, metal, hardcore, old school or plain mosh-worthy. And it is.
That said, ending up sat beside a jukebox bursting with authentic rock classics or finding some real life punks to skank with and not just ending up drinking in a pub full of strangers at what looks like a Halloween party, can prove tricky.
So, for anyone serious about their rock music and wondering where to look for it in London, here are six of the best places to look, and to stop for a pint if not the evening!
The Electric Ballroom (Camden)184 Camden High Street
A sprawling indoor market by day and rock venue by night, The Electric Ballroom is a truly unique rock nightclub. What is more, The Electric Ballroom is a hub not just for rock and roll lovers living in and around London, but a home for many of the musicians and rock music lovers in and around Camden.
One of Camden’s longest surviving and most famous live music venues, The Electric Ballroom has been around for some 40 years and bands to have taken to its stage hail from just about every country and rock genre and sub genre going, from Sid Vicious to the Smiths and Blink 182 to The Dandy Warhols. As such, events and gigs booked at The Electric Ballroom are worth checking out before heading out and booking in advance when possible, as the calibre of its performers often mean tickets sell out weeks in advance.
To find out more visit electricballroom.co.uk
The Intrepid Fox (Islington)1 Archway Close
In true rock’n’roll fashion, The Intrepid Fox has been ejected from so many premises, after it last relocated from St Giles High Street, London’s rock and metal community took to the internet in a panic, thinking the pub was no more. Fortunately, The Intrepid Fox is about as hardy as Keith Richards and so has since resurfaced, this time occupying the Archway Tavern in Upper Soho.
Speaking of The Rolling Stones, The Intrepid Fox was once one of Mick Jagger’s favourite London boozers and where he recruited Ronnie Woods into The Stones, and remains a firm favourite amongst rock stars, attracting an eclectic host of bands and DJs. So, for anyone on the hunt for a decent rock nightclub in Central London, head along to The Intrepid Fox – just remember, being a nightclub, doors don’t open until 5pm most days.
For more information visit facebook.com/IntrepidFoxLondon
Hobgoblin (Camden)33 Kentish Town Rd
Hobgoblin, formally The Devonshire Arms, lays claim to the accolade of being ‘London’s longest standing goth pub’. As such, over the years it has been a favourite of many a goth and well known rock’n’roller, including The Pogues’ Shane McGowen and Spider Stacy, who first happened upon Hobglobin back in the days when the pub still enforced a ‘strictly alternative only’ dress code.
These days, Hobgoblin is best known for attracting a variety of DJs and bands and putting on some of Camden’s best cyber, punk and death metal themed nights and events. What is more, having been taken over not too long back by the Wychwood Brewery Company, Hobgoblin no longer just serves a great snakebite, but now also offers up a wide mix of real ales.
For more information visit wychwood.co.uk
The Crobar (Soho)17 Manette Street
Open 4pm to 3am every night of the week, except Sunday and located just off Charing Cross Road (by Foyle’s Bookshop), The Crobar is a great rock orientated pub to drop by whilst adventuring Central London. Better yet, The Crobar is also one of London’s most central rock venues, providing London’s rock lovers and visitors with a dizzying array of whiskey, beer and music via its jukebox and odd live gig.
Despite being filled every evening with black-clad and tattoo bearing clientele, Crobar is as famous for its welcoming atmosphere as its surprisingly affordable drinks prices. With a happy hour as rebellious as the tunes that belt out the jukebox, running from 4pm to 9pm every day, it is no wonder its patrons are, despite looking a little mean, prove a rather friendly bunch.
For more information visit Crobar.co.uk
The Underworld (Camden)174 Camden High Street
Occupying the darkest depths beneath The World’s End, there lies The Underworld. The World’s End, for those unfamiliar with London’s pubs and bars, is famous for being Europe’s largest pub as well as one of Camden’s best priced and best located – facing Camden tube Station, this is a pub you cannot miss, literally.
Not just conveniently placed though, The World’s End makes a great choice to head to for true rock’n’roll jukebox tunes and a cheap pint or short. Meanwhile, descend down into The Underworld for live music and chance to thrash it out on the dance floor. The Underworld is best known for its punk and metal, but also puts on nights and DJs whose set lists often include indie, pop-punk, classic rock and electronica.
For more information visit theunderworldcamden.co.uk
The Fighting Cocks (Kingston Upon Thames)56 Old London Road
Every now and then it is well worth venturing beyond zone 3, at least it is when doing so means ending up discovering venues such as The Fighting Cocks. Located in Kingston Upon Thames, The Fighting Cocks is an American looking ‘bar’ featuring a leopard print pool table, free guitar hero and what is said to be the best jukebox in London’s South West.
It is the personality that oozes from The Fighting Cocks that tempts so many Londoners to pilgrimage south of the Thames and to the very fringe of London to drink and take to its backroom to mosh and, get more drunk. ‘[T]he home of modern punk rock in the capital’ according to the Guardian Newspaper, the Fighting Cocks is a rock bar and venue that is as rock’n’roll in its approach to alcohol and partying as it is to music, and as such definitely one for those who don’t just love listening rock’n’roll, but live it.
To find out more visit the-fighting-cocks.co.uk