Housing two universities and the country’s biggest cruise port, compared to some of the U.K’s other cities Southampton seems small, but it’s bar and music scene are anything but. Whether you’re a local, a student, or just there for a visit – if you’re a fan of live music, a good drink and even better food, then here is 20 suggestions on where to spend your day.
1 – Joiners
One of Southampton’s most well-known venues, The Joiners Arms sits on the end of St Mary’s Street in the city center. After playing host to some of our favourite musical acts throughout the years (Ed Sheeran, Green Day and Arctic Monkey’s to name a few) and winning NME’s award for Britain’s Best Small Music Venue, this 200 capacity venue is definitely worth a visit.
2 – Heartbreakers.
Heartbreakers is a newcomer to Southampton’s music scene and can be found tucked away in the Hanover buildings. You’ll find a nice mix of international and local talent and if that isn’t enough…there’s handmade food and an extensive menu, including cocktails.
3 – Talking Heads
Described as having a ‘legacy of being the South’s most eclectic music venue’ on their website, Talking Heads certainly lives upto it’s reputation with jazz, folk, singer-song writer and open mic nights almost on the daily, so if you’re looking for something a little different or even looking to showcase your own talent, make your way down to The Polygon where it resides.
4 – The Hobbit
The Hobbit’s made a name for itself after, you guessed it, being a Tolkien inspired pub. Despite legal battles over the name, the classic English pub hosts some of the best musical talent, as well as it’s Bagend Burgers and Tolkien-inspired cocktails.
5 – The Stage Door
Southampton’s only fringe theatre and bar sits in the cultural quarter, right across the road from the 02 Guildhall, unlike most of the venues on this list, you won’t just find bands and solo acts – The Stage Door plays host to cabaret, burlesque, comedy and even musicals.
6 – Orange Rooms
Orange Rooms can be a little difficult to find, but hidden away on Vernon Walk (between Bedford Place and London Road you’ll find a retro inspired bar split into three, Room Service, Tiki Lounge and Off Piste. Orange Rooms has staged a number of well-known musical and comedy acts, and with it’s quirky atmosphere and unique cocktails – you’ll be in for an unforgettable night.
7 – The Brook
The Brook is one of Southampton’s larger venues, holding up to 600 people. Located in a beautiful old building, the venue is completed with a wrap-around balcony. With fantastic sound, the venue has featured several internationally known artists and also regularly hosts cover bands and local talent.
8 – The 1865
Another newer venue, despite it’s name, The 1865 was only opened in 2013 and was recently taken over by Guy Benfield (The owner of Talking Heads). The venue, which has a 750 capacity for standing gigs, many of which sell out, also holds comedy, cabaret, DJ sets and jazz.
9 – Mettricks
Less of a venue, and more of one of Southampton’s most popular coffee shops – Mettricks hosts local, acoustic talent weekly and provides specially made coffee and hot chocolate, along with cocktails and spirits put together by experienced mixologists. If you’re looking for something a little more ‘chill’ then this is the place to be.
10 – The Alexandra Beer Emporium
One of Southampton’s only traditional pubs, located just off London Road – not only does The Alexandra host some great live music and DJ sets, but also has a wide range of movie memorabilia, board games, retro gaming, board games along with Star Wars and Game Of Throne’s inspired cocktails.
11 – The Rockstone
Described as a ‘country pub in the centre of town’, The Rockstone hosts monthly events which can include live music. With a menu that is vegetarian, vegan and gluten-free friendly, and an extensive drinks menu including wine, 24 beer and ale taps and over 200 spirits, this pub will have something for everyone.
12 – The Edge and Box Bar
Split into a pre-bar and a nightclub, The Edge and Box Bar is the only award winning LGBT+ club in Southampton. The inclusive, recently refurbished bar has been open for over 20 years and regularly features theme nights, performers and DJ sets.
13 – The Frog and Frigate
‘Southampton’s legendary spit ‘n’ sawdust pub’, recently reopened after being closed for six straight years. Now managed by a musician that regulary performed there, there’s always live music that will leave you dancing on the tables.
14 – 02 Guildhall
Southampton’s most popular venue, Guildhall has hosted some of the biggest names to grace Southampton and sits smack bang in the middle of town center, surrounded by several chain and local restaurants. If you’re into your bigger artists, then Guildhall is the place to be.
15 – Firehouse
Firehouse stands in the heart of Southampton city center, and prides itself on being a rock and alternative bar. With cheap drinks, Firehouse has live music almost every Friday and Saturday and if you ever want a break? Their upstairs room has been recently renovated and has plenty of space to ‘chill out’, with a pool table, fruit machine, and board games.
16 – Rumba
Rumba puts a twist on most bars within Southampton, and rather than just being your regular loud nightclub, or cozy pub instead invites you to experience Cuba from the 1950’s all the way to the 2010’s. With an extensive and authentic drink and food menu, Rumba also hosts live music events every month.
17 – Platform Tavern
Platform Tavern is located within the medieval walls of Southampton and offers a huge menu of classic pub food and vegetarian options, but that’s not the only variety they have. They also have a huge variety for free, live music from Blues to Jazz and Rockabilly, every week.
18 – London Road Brew House
A pub with a twist, London Road Brew House has its own micro-brewery and an open kitchen where you can watch both your drinks and food being prepared. As if that wasn’t exciting enough, they have ‘Sessions’, which is a weekly live music event after work on a Friday night.
19 – The Vestry
Found across the road from the Mayflower Theatre, The Vestry is a restaurant and bar in an old, renovated church. With a warm, formal atmosphere you can enjoy regular live music, and even dinner and dance nights.
20 – The Social
Last on the list is another newcomer, opened in 2015, The Social has a minimalist approach, with exposed brickwork and a unique, rustic menu. They have a weekly open-mic night that showcases some of Southampton’s best, local talent and weekly DJ sets, with drinks offers for local business groups!
Where are your favorite spots to listen to live music in London? Tell us in the comments!
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Alexandra Smith is majoring in Psychology, with a minor in Creative Writing. In her free time, she enjoys running, hanging out with family friends, and roaming the world with her camera in hand.