As the iconic A. J. McLean (Backstreet Boys to the uninitiated) once said; “Music is love, love is music, music is life”. For real Muso’s, it is the key to the soul and, a lot of the time, one of the major keys to an exciting and successful relationship.
As a Londoner, you are spoilt for choice when it comes to finding good venues to see some of the best music on the planet. In your case, especially if you’ve just gotten into the olde dating game and want to prove your exceptional taste to a fellow muso.
Now, where to go?
You’ve only gone on a couple dates with said muso, so it feels too soon to spend big on one of the city’s premier venues – your O2’s Arena’s or Academy’s of the city. At the aforementioned venues, you’re also likely to struggle to get any conversation heard in such a crowded space. On the other hand, you also respect your date too much to invite them to your local that has an OK open mic night, but never smells that great.
We’ve got you covered. Here are our 5 best small venues to impress your music lover date with.
The Popular One: Oslo
Right next to Hackney Central Station, Oslo has quickly become one East London’s most popular haunts. If you’re looking to add a touch of hygge to your date, Oslo* is the place to go. The downstairs bar and restaurant has its own Nordic look and feel to get comfortable before your gig of choice. The actual venue itself is a redeveloped railway station that has an incredible sound system. Oslo is known to bring some stellar acts and bands in. From rising stars like Zak Abel to more established indie acts like Spoon and TV on the Radio. Given the nature of the space, it definitely has a more clubby feel, which is ideal if you want to continue your night, especially on weekends.
*the city isn’t bad for it either, to be fair.
The Pub-ier One: The Waiting Room
The Waiting Room feels like all the venues you used to go to when you were younger, but a lot better. Think ‘your cooler local, where your cousin and his bandmates probably wouldn’t just walk in and get a gig’. It’s directly below the ever so hip and trendy Three Crowns pub in Stoke Newington and, as such, attracts a lot of blossoming acts to the very cosy environment. Only fitting 120 people, The Waiting Room really puts you at head level with you and your date’s act of choice, thanks to its low stage.
The Unexpected One: St. Pancras Old Church
By far the most intimate of our venues listed, St. Pancras Old Church is a true gem of the North London music scene. At 120-person capacity, there are honestly few more special venues that come to mind. As a seated space, it hosts a range of upcoming bands and more established acts in the atmospheric setting. As the oldest site of Christian worship in the country the atmosphere definitely sells itself, but the acts help. Sound wise, it’s needless to say that whatever act you take your partner of choice to will sound incredible with the churches resonatory roof. This all said, if spirituality isn’t you guys’ thing, you needn’t be worried. The church is fully stocked with alcohol for gigs and it’s a few minute walk from Kings Cross, Euston, Mornington Crescent and Camden.
The More Out There One: Moth Club
Opened only back in 2015, Moth Club has quickly become another stalwart of the Hackney music scene. It is the ideal venue to show off your eclectic taste. The ex-servicemen’s member’s club is covered in tinsel and glitter, with its very own photobooth to capture the memory of your interest’s night on the town. The venue originally sought out to provide a diverse showcase of acts and events and it has 100% stuck to that. You won’t have to ask many locals to hear a glowing review of the club. Its consistently quality line up and infamous monthly ABBA night are often sell outs. Not to mention Lady Gaga, who did a surprise set there in 2016, is also a fan, so what more do you need?
The All Rounder: Omeara
Located near London Bridge, Omeara is owned by Mumford and Sons’ very own Ben Lovett. It’s ornately designed stage and 350-person capacity make it the perfect venue for everything from raucous indie to more low-key singer songwriters.
If you and your date want to take a break and get to know each other sans blaring speakers, Omeara has A LOT to offer. The concert hall sits atop the Omeara Cantina, a fantastic laid-back bar, as well as one of London’s latest cool hangout spots, Flat Iron Square. Set yourself up for the rest of the gig with a Savage Salads or Motherclucker. Not to mention if you’ve got down especially early, you can pick up some swanky new garms from Flea.
A BONUS PICK! (Cause we’re nice like that): The Hospital Club
The BEST date night in London returns this weekend as The Hospital Club opens its doors to the public for its monthly team up with Secret Sessions. You and your chosen company can get an awesome, exclusive night of new music by signing up online. As one of the established members clubs in the city, you’d be daft to not try and pick up some of the final 50 tickets for the night. Click on the link below for more details.
So there we go. Whether you’re looking for a lively club feel, wanting something more intimate or fancy a bite to eat between sets, we’re certain you’ll be able to show your date an unforgettable gig. Now ROCK ON!
By Lucas Galley Greenwood