Where to catch future stars and famous names in intimate spaces
It’s great when an amazing band hits the big-time and can fill huge arenas but our Music team and many of our members also like heading out to smaller venues where you can get close to the action.
Our specialists have put together their pick of the UK and Ireland’s best small spaces including one that holds only 65 people and has seen performances by Amy Winehouse and Ed Sheeran.
Contact us to book tickets for concerts at any of these venues.
Òran Mór, Glasgow
This Kelvinside parish church is now a highly regarded arts venue, with its Gaelic name appropriately meaning ‘great melody of life’. Developers were keen to turn the ornate building into luxury flats but thankfully it was saved from this fate by Glasgow District Council and it re-opened in 2004.
Who to see: Brandy Clark (21 September), Gavin James (20 October) and Lake Street Dive (7 November)
King Tut’s Wah Wah Hut, Glasgow
This club in the city centre has played host to some of the biggest names in music and is renowned for being the place where Oasis were signed by Alan McGee in 1993. Today it continues to attract emerging talent and even those who could fill venues five times its size can’t resist the lure of this basement hideout.
Who to see: Ben Caplan and the Casual Smokers (17 November), The Men They Couldn’t Hang (25 November) and Larkin Poe (7 December)
Established in 1989, this serves as both a pub and a setting for fantastic live music. At the age of 11, Ed Sheeran saw Damien Rice perform here and credits the experience with changing his life. It offers the chance to see the likes of The Corrs, Hozier and Bloc Party in intimate confines.
Who to see: Buckcherry (13 October), Sara Watkins (2 November) and The Cadillac Three (14 November)
Albert Hall, Manchester
In spite of its larger size, this converted Grade II-listed Methodist hall manages to maintain an air of intimacy. After extensive refurbishment it re-opened in 2013 and quickly gained popularity among artists, with many adding it to their tours, including Primal Scream, Manic Street Preachers, Sam Smith and Chvrches.
Who to see: Goo Goo Dolls (12 October), Jack Savoretti (13 November) and Wilco (18 November)
The Deaf Institute, Manchester
Home to a music hall, three bars, a roof terrace and a kitchen, everything a gig-goer could need is on site. This building has retained the name of its original 19th-century purpose and now hosts a succession of live gigs. Beneath its domed ceiling and glittering mirror ball, you can dance the night away to your favourite band’s hits.
Who to see: Augustana (12 October), Sound of the Sirens (15 October) and The Dunwells (14 December)
The Cluny, Newcastle
Originally a mill, this venue takes its name from a later incarnation as a Scotch whisky bottling plant and is today known for great music and local ales. Many acts have cut their teeth here with some concertgoers being lucky enough to catch Mumford & Sons, Arctic Monkeys and Seasick Steve before stardom struck.
Who to see: Skinny Lister (6 October), Los Pacaminos (14 October) and Will Varley (10 November)
The Leadmill, Sheffield
The city’s longest running music venue opened in 1980 and has seen a parade of acts pass through its doors. A visit to the official website allows you to trawl back through its 36-year history with every gig listed – standout names include Pulp, Culture Club and Simply Red.
Capacity: 250 (Steel Stage) and 900 (main room)
Who to see: Afro Celt Sound System (5 November), Laura Mvula (25 November) and Lissie (12 December)
Bush Hall, London
Having been a 1920s dance hall, a Second World War soup kitchen and a snooker hall, this is now one of London’s best music venues. The atmosphere beneath its sparkling chandeliers and ornately corniced ceiling is hard to beat and the Bush Hall Dining Rooms next door are well worth a visit for some pre-gig sustenance.
Capacity: 425 (280 if seated)
Who to see: Vonda Shepard (4 October), Kevin Garrett (2 November) and Bright Light Bright Light (4 November)
The Green Note, London
Launched in 2005 by two friends with a penchant for live music, this Camden venue has established itself as one of the UK’s best for Americana, folk and country. Lifestyle writer, Erin Spurling says: ‘As a country and bluegrass fan, I love this venue for its intimacy and the incredible calibre of acts that it attracts, but make sure you arrive early if you want to get a pew in the tiny seating area.’
Who to see: The Coal Porters (23 September), Boo Hewerdine and Dan Whitehouse (9 and 10 October) and Underhill Rose (12 November)
The Jazz Cafe, London
Following extensive refurbishment at the start of 2016, this north London site opened its doors again in May. The mezzanine restaurant has remained and we like it for a great view of the stage while enjoying a delicious meal. Although jazz is favoured, the owners also make room for blues, soul, rap and hip-hop.
Who to see: Alexander O’Neal (4 and 5 November), Roy Ayers (5-7 December) and The James Taylor Quartet (20-22 December)
Pictured: Bush Hall – photo credit CMA World