South London is the place to head to for live music. No, really.

Friendly and accessible gigs from the best new bands, in unpretentious and welcoming pubs and club: those in the know are heading South.

A burgeoning South London music scene is producing hotter than hot new bands like Nova Twins, Ojerime, Fat White Family and Goat Girl, as well as being home to worldclass talents such as spoken-word artist Kate Tempest, supercool producer Paul Tipler (recently of Liines fame but with a heady back-catalogue including Stereolab and Elastica), and Tory-bashing MC Stormzy.

Come festival season, see Brockwell Park’s underground celebration Sunfall fest, family-friendly Camberwell Fair, or release your inner rebel grrrl at LOUD WOMEN Fest.

While shiny North and ironic East London venues are struggling to stay open, relatively hipster-free venues are opening up across SE and SW postcodes. Many offering you change from a fiver for your pint.

And with 24 hour tubes at the weekend taking you even to Morden, no worries if your cabbie won’t cross the river at this time of night.

Here are a few South London gems to check out:

DIY Space for London

96-108 Ormside Street, London SE15 1TF

DIY Space for LondonOpened in 2015, this co-op run cultural centre has become the beating (ethicially-sourced and 100% vegan) heart of the DIY music scene. The Space has hosted rising stars like Skinny Girl Diet and Shopping, alongside regular First Timers workshops for new would-be bands, and affordable printmaking skills training. There’s also an actual record shop – vinyl junkies better bring a shopping trolley.


The Sound Lounge
210-212 Upper Tooting Road, London SW17

The Sound Lounge, TootingOpened in January 2017, this shiny new arts venue was funded by a crowdfunder which raised enough to kit out the 250-capacity space with state-of-the-art sound and lighting. With local (Wimbledon) beer on tap, and a lush vegetarian cafe, keep an eye on the listings for this club: it just may be your new favourite place in London.


The Bird’s Nest
32 Deptford Church Street, London SE8 4RZ

The Bird's Nest, DeptfordHosting folk, punk, blues and ska bands Thursday to Sunday nights, a well-attended regular open mic every Wednesday, and a hiphop open mic night the first Sunday each month. There’s a youth hostel upstairs, a pretty groovy art gallery out the back, and there’s a £2.50-a-pint happy hour. What’s not to love.




The New Cross Inn
323 New Cross Road, London SE14 6AS

newcrossNewly refurbished to create a tidy 250-capacity venue with no sticky floors, but still bar prices the regulars (mostly Goldsmiths students) can afford. Live music six nights a week (with an excellent pub quiz on Mondays), hosting a mix of local and touring DIY bands and more established artists.



The Hand in Hand
61 New Park Road, London SW2 4EN

BrixtonBrixton has long been a hub of live music, and this little gem just off the Hill is fast gaining respect for music ranging from ska to electronica and everything inbetween.

There’s an open mic on Thursdays, and a semi-posh grub menu.


The Bread and Roses
68 Clapham Manor Street, London SW4 6DZ

Bread_and_Roses,_Clapham,Owned by The Battersea and Wandsworth Trade Union Council and run by the Workers Beer Company, The Bread and Roses is a pub with a social consciousness.

With regular live music in the front bar, one of London’s few surviving pub theatres out the back, and a cracking Sunday roast in the conservatory, it’s well worth the trip.


Hoodoos Croydon

Matthews Yard, Off Surrey Street, CR0 1FF

Hoodoos - Matthews Yard CroydonYes, Croydon. Seriously. A trip to Matthews Yard and you’re going to want to live in Croydon. Al fresco burgers and jerk chicken, craft beers, an art gallery, theatre and rehearsal space.

And then there’s Hoodoos, a cosy lounge venue offering local bands and promoters cheap rates for awesome gigs. Some of my faves have played here – Bugeye and Clever Thing.

And if that hasn’t convinced you yet, did I mention that Croydon has an actual tram you can ride home?



All words by Cassie Fox. More from Cassie on Louder Than War in her author archive

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Cassie Fox is the founder of LOUD WOMEN, a collective championing women in music through regular gigs around the world, an annual festival in London, a monthly ezine, and record releases. Cassie plays keyboard in Thee Faction, and bass in I, Doris.


  1. What about Vanishing Point @ The Ivy House. New music first Thursday of every month, lovely venue, cool eclectic nights and it has some link to Fresh on the Net.


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