Serve It Again, Sam! The Best London Restaurants With Live Music

‘If music be the food of love, play on’ said someone once. Maybe it was Lil Wayne? Either way, ‘If music and food be the, um, the food of love, then play even on-er’ (there’s a gravestone in Stratford Upon Avon that’s shaking right now with all the turning going on six feet beneath). We’ve been scouring the capital and we’ve dug out the best London restaurants with live music. Because Mr Wayne’s right, there’s nothing quite like a meal accompanied by excellent live music.

The key, of course, is to get the right amount of music to food ratio. Perhaps you want some light tinkering in the background? Maybe you’re after an eat-in-silence hard core performance? Or you’re all about the party atmosphere? Whichever, we’ve got options. So, serve it again, Sam…

London restaurants with live music: Brown's
Picture credit: Rocco Forte

Charlie’s, Mayfair

Charlie’s is a Mayfair restaurant under the fantastic Adam Byatt (Michelin Star holder at Clapham’s Trinity). Which means that the food is utterly fantastic. As is the setting, the restaurant is beautifully presented and is the very beating heart of Brown’s Hotel.

And that beat really gets going on a Sunday evening. Because that’s when jazz night kicks in.

Spend the evening banishing any sign of the Sunday blues…

Led by Greg Davis, a trio of musicians spend the evening banishing any sign of the Sunday blues, with soothing, joyful jazz.

The trio specialise in the rhythmic and relaxing ‘new jazz’ style embodied by the samba and jazz coming out of Brazil in the late 1950s.

Find it: 33 Albemarle Street, Mayfair, W1S 4B
Click it:
Book it: Every Sunday
‘Gram it: @browns_hotel

The Piano Works, Farringdon

To descend into the ground and be swallowed up by The Piano Works is to immerse yourself in great music. And you know it’s great, because you’ve chosen it!

The subterranean restaurant serves highly satisfying nosh, and then it’s mosh!

Raise a glass to a hedonistic evening of food, drink, dancing and music…

The tables are rolled away and the party ensues. All the while, accompanied by some of London’s top musicians who play wall to wall requests.

Just pop your favourite song on a slip of paper and raise a glass to a hedonistic evening of food, drink, dancing and music.

There are two restaurants one in Farringdon and the other in the West End. Same deal both places. Farringdon is the OG so we’ve added that one. Either way, you’re in for a treat, particularly if you’re heading down for brunch or one of their legendary Bank Holiday blow-outs.

Find it: 113-117 Farringdon Road, (on the corner of Ray Street), Farringdon, EC1R 3BX
Click it:
Book it: Every day apart from Mondays
‘Gram it: @thepianoworks

London restaurants with live music: Piano Works
Picture credit: The Piano Works
London restaurants with live music: Ronnie Scott's
Picture credit: Ronnie Scott’s

Ronnie Scott’s, Soho

For an art form that’s all about going with the flow, don’t expect to be jabbering over your meal during a performance at Ronnie Scott’s. At least, that’s what I found out to my embarrassment the last time I visited, finding myself hushed to high hell for remarking on the tasty steak.

The folks over at Ronnie Scotts are deadly serious when it comes to jazz…

The folks over at Ronnie Scotts are deadly serious when it comes to jazz. But the atmosphere is magical nevertheless.

And the acts are second-to-none. The very best jazz artists in the world line up to play at this globally acclaimed Soho venue.

Find it: 47 Frith Street, Soho, W1D 4HT
Click it:
Book it: Open every day except Sundays
‘Gram it: @officialronnies

One Aldwych, Covent Garden

Syncopate your Thursdays at One Aldwych with live jazz and excellent food.

Jazz Thursdays brings music to the lobby at the very heart of hotel One Aldwych. And the smooth music fills the hotel’s restaurant, Indigo, which is perched just above the lobby.

Add jazz, and you’ve got one of London’s best restaurants for live music…

Overlooking the hotel’s lobby bar, Indigo is a smart neighbourhood restaurant, that happens to be in one of London’s swankiest neighbourhoods. Under Chef Dominic Teague, the food is fabulous.

Add jazz, and you’ve got one of London’s best restaurants for live music.

Find it: 1 Aldwych, Covent Garden, WC2B 4BZ
Click it:
Book it: Every Thursday
‘Gram it: @onealdwychhotel

London restaurants with live music: One Aldwych
Picture credit: One Aldwych
London restaurants with live music: Boisdale
Picture credit: Boisdale

Boisdale, Belgravia

One of London’s best game restaurants is also well established as one of London’s best restaurants for live music. In fact, the rolling list of performers make Boisdale every bit a music venue as a restaurant.

Jools Holland can, often as not, be found mooching about…

From jazz to blues to Frank Sinatra impersonators, the impressive roster of acts ensure entertainment every night at both the Canary Wharf and Belgravian restaurants. Jools Holland can, often as not, be found mooching about, it’s thats kind of a place.

And the food is unashamedly dead-animal-based with a strong Scottishy-gamey bent. Which is music to our ears. If you’ll excuse the sort-of pun.

The surroundings between both venues vary, as you’d imagine Belgravia is more old-school compared to Canary Wharf’s necessarily modern aesthetic, but the food and entertainment are consistent, and consistently good.

Find it: 13-15 Eccleston Street, Belgravia, SW1W 9LX (or try Covent Garden)
Click it:
Book it: Music every night
‘Gram it: @boisdale_restaurants

Toulouse Lautrec, Kennington

No list of London’s best restaurants for live music could be complete without a firm nod in the direction of Toulouse Lautrec.

The family run French restaurant every bit as atmospheric as you’d imagine, transporting you to the Rive Gauche from the moment you set foot inside.

Transporting you to the Rive Gauche from the moment you set foot inside….

Set over three floors, take a table in the piano room and enjoy live music every night.

A magical experience, and the food is unmistakably French (in the very real Frenchy ah-hon-a-hon sense, rather than the fiddly Michelin-y French way – this is onion soup, foie gras and snails French. Fantastique!).

Find it: 140 Newington Butts, Kennington, SE11 4RN
Click it:
Book it: Live music every night
‘Gram it: @tlvenue

Picture credit: Toulouse Lautrec
Picture credit: Sarastro

Sarastro, Holborn

There’s something gloriously weird about Sarastro. It’s what we love about it. The bonkers interior is perfectly fitting, given it’s in the heart of London’s theatreland, and the drama continues throughout the evening with live music.

After all, it’s named after a character from The Magic Flute.

There’s something gloriously weird about Sarastro…

With its balconies and nooks, there’s plenty of seating options, and the main event is, often as not, the music, which alternates depending on the night between opera and string quartet, Motown, Latin and 70s and 80s hits. I know, quite the shuffle!

Find it: 126 Drury Lane, Holborn, WC2B 5SU
Click it:
Book it: Live music daily
‘Gram it: @sarastrorestaurant

Dishoom, Kensington

Dishoom is already a byword in Indian cuisine, with every restaurant scoring a solid hit. But Dishoom in Kensington is a take on the take. Running with the grand Bombay Irani cafes (think Leopold Café in Colaba) theme, they’ve added in the sultry scene of 1940s Indian jazz.

They’ve added in the sultry scene of 1940s Indian jazz….

The result is delightful. Not only the fantastic food we’ve come to adore from Dishoom, but entertainment and music that’s an experience worth going out of your way to try.

The place looks fantastic too, with spot-on decor and an electricity that’s hard not to enjoy. I really can’t recommend it enough.

Find it: 4 Derry Street, Kensington, W8 5SE
Click it:
Book it: Live music between Wednesday and Friday
‘Gram it: @dishoom

Picture credit: Dishoom
Picture credit: Blues Kitchen

Blues Kitchen, Camden

And I guess that’s why they call it the Blues… Kitchen. Because, in true Ronseal fashion, this small chain of restaurants serves up food and blues in equal measure.

Serves up food and blues in equal measure…

The food is American (unhealthy and delicious – burgers, ribs, bbq and so on) and so’s the music.

The combo is enticing, and the busy venue is always a fun visit. There are Blues Kitchens in Brixton and Shoreditch too, or in Manchester if you fancy a hefty Uber bill. And the blueprint (bluesprint?) is pretty consistent between them.

Find it: 111-113 Camden High Street, Camden, NW1 7JN
Click it:
Book it: Live music every night
‘Gram it: @theblueskitchen

Quaglino’s, St James’s

Quag’s, in Sloane Ranger parlance, lives on. A restaurant that’s somehow as jolly and happening today as it was in its wartime heyday, Quaglino’s continues to entertain and feed sophisticated Londoners.

As jolly and happening today as it was in its wartime heyday…

It’s a busy place, occasionally you’ll spot a minor royal (it’s round the corner from St James’s Palace) or Prince Andrew (it’s round the corner from Tramp).

The European menu is great (it’s part of the D&D group) and the subterranean art deco venue is forever memorable, as you descend via a sweeping staircase that must be one of London’s grandest.

Find it: 16 Bury Street, St James’s, SW1Y 6AJ
Click it:
Book it: Live music every night
‘Gram it: @quaglinos

London restaurants with live music: Quaglinos
Picture credit: Quaglino’s
Picture credit: Sloane Place

The Roof Terrance At The Sloane Club, Chelsea

We’re bizarrely obsessed with London’s rooftop restaurants, so when the Venn reveals a rooftop that’s also a restaurant with live music then we’re doubly excited. As we are when it comes to The Roof Terrace At The Sloane Club.

As it’s shared with the Sloane Place Hotel next door, non-members can sneak into the rooftop sanctum under the hotel’s protection, and momentarily experience one of the benefits of membership… A rooftop restaurant a stone’s-throw from Sloane Square.

Often reinvented by various takeovers (at the time of writing it’s Berry Bros. & Rudd No.3 Gin for a summer pop-up) there’s a rolling programme of live music events taking place thanks to a rolling set of residencies.

Find it: 60 Lower Sloane Street, Chelsea, SW1W 8BP
Click it:
Book it: Live music on Fridays
‘Gram it:

Strings Restaurant, Waterloo

If you like it ‘no strings attached’ then this one might not be for you. Because at Strings Restaurant it’s going to be stringier than Spiderman’s stringiest string vest.

It’s going to be stringier than Spiderman’s stringiest string vest….

Located within County Hall, one of London’s most distinctive buildings, Strings serves Italian and Spanish tapas while you listen to guitar playing.

Good guitar playing. Not three chords strummed in repeat but live classical guitar performances.

Find it: Belvedere Road, Waterloo, SE1 7GA
Click it:
Book it: Live performances every half hour from 7pm
‘Gram it: @thestringslondon

Picture credit: Strings Restaurant
Picture credit: The Crazy Coqs

Brasserie Zédel, Soho

If you’ve not been to Brasserie Zédel then you should probably just go now. It’s extraordinary.

Descend down into the bowels of the earth below Piccadilly Circus and you’re plunged into a surprisingly light venue with tall ceilings and one of the most impressive art deco interiors in London.

One way it’s the restaurant, a French brasserie that feels, well, very French. The other and it’s the theatre and cabaret, The Crazy Coqs.

You can get food as you watch the show (albeit it’s a rather snacky selection – prawns, frites, etc) or go big in the dining room first then sup the evening enjoying the eclectic music selection in the theatre.

Find it: 20 Sherwood Street, Soho, W1F 7ED
Click it:
Book it: Shows daily
‘Gram it: @crazycoqs

606 Club, Chelsea

It’s pretty clear, by this point of the article, that that there are two quite different beasts at play. There’s London restaurants with live music.. and London live music with restaurants. The latter, more serious, establishments include, foremost amongst their ranks, 606 Club.

The Chelsea jazz club is for aficionados. Like Ronnie Scotts without the tourists. If you’re a regular, then you’re probably not reading frivolous listicles like this one. You know all about 606.

Founded in 1976, the club showcases the best of British jazz, soul, groove, Latin, R&B, funk, gospel, blues and groove artists. The venue is open seven nights a week, as well as Sunday lunchtimes, and it’s a delight.

Along with grown up music, there’s food, thanks to Head Chef Jean-Pierre, a mixture of European and British. The club is keen to stress that they don’t have a microwave. A bizarre disclaimer that’s either encouraging or discouraging, depending which way you want to read it. At least the ‘ping’ won’t be throwing the syncopation.

Either way, you’ll be too busy with the mesmerising music to be too fussed.

Find it: 90 Lots Road, Chelsea, SW10 0QD
Click it:
‘Gram it: @606Club

Picture credit: 606 Club
Picture credit: Brilliant Corners

Brilliant Corners, Dalston

Music is truly revered at this Kingsland Road restaurant. While most venues will simply stick on Spotify playlist and focus on the kitchen, Brilliant Corners is a place for genuine audiophiles.

Which is obvious from the McIntosh sound system, the vinyl store and the fact that its very name, Brilliant Corners is named after the Thelonious Monk album.

Brilliant Corners is a place for genuine audiophiles…

Along with a permanently manned DJ booth the restaurant runs numerous jazz nights.

And we’ve not mentioned the food yet. Which is Japanese (like the hi-fi bar concept that’s proven so popular). The nightly a la carte menu sits alongside a 5-course set menu inspired by the izakaya of Japan. They both include sushi, sashimi and dishes focussed around traditional Japanese techniques.

Brilliant Corners was Thelonious Monk’s first real commercial success. It seems an inspired name because Brilliant Corners has been joined by sister-venue Mu, a few doors down.

Find it: 470 Kingsland Road, Dalston, E8 4AE
Click it: (annoying website alert!)
‘Gram it: @brilliant_cnrs

Boisdale, Canary Wharf

Enigmatically, the Canary Wharf iteration of Boisdale couldn’t be more like its sibling, but the surrounding skyscrapers couldn’t be a bigger contrast to the Belgravian townhouse that OG Boisdale occupies. But what’s most important is the music.

And the venue manages to retain the atmosphere and amplify it given there is far more legroom when you’re not constrained by the Victorian floorplan of Elizabeth Street.

Along with the decor and menu the other immediate similarity to Belgravia is Boisdale Canary Wharf’s music schedule. This generally mirrors its West End lineup, with acts often appearing at both.

Find it: Cabot Square, Canary Wharf, E14 4QT
Click it:
‘Gram it: @boisdale_restaurants

Picture credit: Boisdale

PizzaExpress Jazz Club, Soho

I think this may be a Sauce first, PizzaExpress don’t normally make it into our listicles. Not that we don’t approve, order me a Sloppy Guiseppe on a Romano base with a side of doughballs and I’m a happy man. But The Sauce is all about discovering new places to eat, and we’re guessing you’re well aware of PizzaExpress.

However, you may not be aware of the small number of music-focussed PizzaExpresses. And PizzaExpress Soho, on Dean Street, is a genuine music-lovers’ haunt.

A genuine music-lovers’ haunt…

Peter Boizot founded PizzaExpress in the late 1960s and was a huge jazz afficionado. He always wanted music in his restaurants and the Dean Street flagship has been hosting live music since 1976.

And today the venue hosts musicians seven days a week. They are ticketed, normally around £20-£30, but you’re unlikely to break the bank eating PizzaExpress food so an affordable night can still be had.

Find it: 10 Dean Street, Soho, W1D 3RW
Click it:
‘Gram it: @pizzaexpresslive

Wait! Don’t Go, Let Us Help You Get The Best Out Of Life

Never miss out again! Make sure you’re up-to-date on all the latest food, drink and travel news. Sign up for our free weekly edition.

No, thanks!

Sign Up To Our Free Newsletter!

It’s a weekly drop of the best of London, of food and drink and travel. Plus exclusive competitions and offers sent direct to your inbox…

No, thanks!

Sign Up To Our Free Newsletter!

It’s a weekly drop of the best of London, of food and drink and travel. Plus exclusive competitions and offers sent direct to your inbox…