What are the best pubs in London for experiencing live folk music?

London, a city bustling with life, offers a vibrant tapestry of cultural experiences. This bustling metropolis is home to a fascinating diversity of pubs and bars, each exuding its own unique charm. Among these, some truly stand out for their distinctive character. The city has an array of pubs that not only serve as the perfect place to unwind with a pint but also offer an authentic experience of live folk music. Here, we will delve into a selection of the best pubs in London where you can enjoy exhilarating live folk music.

The Harrison, King’s Cross

Located merely a stone's throw from King's Cross Station, The Harrison is renowned for its authentic live music sessions. This pub, tucked away on Harrison Street, has earned rave reviews for its intimate atmosphere and superb blend of food, drink, and music.

The Harrison boasts a unique charm that combines the traditional allure of a London pub with a distinct bohemian vibe. With its wooden interiors, cosy nooks, and warm lighting, you can settle into a comfortable armchair and let the harmonious melodies of folk music transport you to another world.

Their popular folk sessions usually take place in the basement venue, which transforms into a lively club every night. The music here ranges from traditional Irish tunes to modern folk renditions and even experimental sounds.

Ye Olde Cheshire Cheese, Fleet Street

One of London’s oldest pubs, Ye Olde Cheshire Cheese, is a must-visit for any folk music enthusiast. Resting on Fleet Street, this pub, rebuilt after the Great Fire of London in 1666, reverberates with centuries of history.

Stepping into Ye Olde Cheshire Cheese, you are greeted by low, timbered ceilings, narrow stairways and a labyrinth of rooms, each with its own story to tell. The pub is also known for its hearty traditional British grub, which complements the old-world charm perfectly.

Music nights at Ye Olde Cheshire Cheese are rather special. The pub’s wooden-panelled rooms echo with the vibrant strains of live folk music, lending it a magical aura that is hard to resist. Though it's not a regular venue for live music, whenever it does organise a night of folk tunes, it becomes a memory to cherish.

The Bunch of Grapes, Knightsbridge

Perched near Knightsbridge station, The Bunch of Grapes is an East London gem. This delightful pub, situated on Brompton Road, provides a cheerful ambience where one can enjoy a relaxing night accompanied by live folk music.

The Bunch of Grapes has an excellent reputation for its traditional British food and cask ales. The pub’s décor has a modern touch, with tastefully chosen artefacts and lively colours that create a vibrant atmosphere.

The pub is particularly known for its live folk music sessions that happen every week. It's a place where you can immerse yourself in the invigorating rhythms of folk music while enjoying a fine evening with friends.

The Lamb, Holloway Road

The Lamb on Holloway Road is yet another charismatic pub offering a lively music scene. With its close proximity to Holloway Road station, it is a favourite among locals and tourists alike.

The Lamb exudes a distinctly Irish charm. It is famed for its range of craft beers and a well-curated menu that boasts traditional favourites. The wood-panelled walls, engraved mirrors, and vintage lamps lend it an air of timeless elegance.

The major draw, however, is the live folk sessions. The Lamb is renowned for hosting some of the best local and international folk bands and artists. It's a venue that rings with the rich tones of Irish folk music and draws a diverse audience.

The Prince Alfred, Queen’s Park

Last, but by no means least, on our list is The Prince Alfred. Situated on Formosa Street near Queen’s Park station, this pub brims with classic Victorian charm and has been serving patrons since 1856.

The Prince Alfred is known for its exquisite stained glass windows, intricate woodwork, and its authentic Victorian-era bar. It curates a fine selection of ales and spirits, alongside a delightful menu that features traditional British fare.

The pub regularly hosts live folk music sessions. The artists who perform here charm their audience with a wide repertoire of folk tunes. The music, combined with the stunning architecture of the pub, creates an enchanting atmosphere that is not easily forgotten.

In conclusion, London's rich pub culture offers numerous opportunities for experiencing live folk music. These venues, by offering a blend of great music, food, and drink, provide the perfect setting to enjoy a classic London night out.

The Spice of Life, Soho

Located in the heart of central London, The Spice of Life is another must-visit destination for the lovers of folk music. Situated in Soho's bustling neighbourhood, this pub is just a short walk from Covent Garden and Leicester Square.

The Spice of Life radiates a welcoming and relaxed atmosphere, making it a favourite amongst locals and visitors alike. Its interiors exhibit a perfect blend of modern and traditional elements, offering a comfortable space to enjoy a night out.

The pub is located at 6 Moor Street, London Postcode W1D 5NA, and can be easily reached from various parts of the city. They regularly host live folk music sessions, featuring both established artists and up-and-coming talents. What adds to the appeal of The Spice of Life is its exhaustive menu, featuring a wide array of dishes and an impressive cocktail bar, where you can enjoy a refreshing drink while listening to mesmerising folk music.

The Monarch, Camden Town

Situated in the vibrant area of Camden Town, The Monarch is a North London gem that treats patrons to a lively atmosphere of live folk music. You will find this pub at 40-42 Chalk Farm Road, London Postcode NW1 8BG, easily accessible from the Camden Town station.

The Monarch offers a distinctive music experience with its diverse live gigs. Known for hosting folk music performances from local and international talents, it's a place where you can add a gig to your memorable experiences in the city.

The pub also houses a restaurant that serves a wide variety of delectable dishes, making it a perfect venue to indulge in a gastronomic adventure while enjoying a folk music performance. The Monarch is a venue that caters to different tastes, making it a favourite among music enthusiasts.


London, with its pulsating life, is a city that offers a rich tapestry of cultural experiences. Its vibrant pub culture, particularly the ones offering live folk music, adds to the charm of the city. These pubs, each with their distinct character, offer the perfect backdrop for a night of great music, food, and drink. Whether it's the bohemian vibe of The Harrison, the historic allure of Ye Olde Cheshire Cheese, the modern touch of The Bunch of Grapes, the Irish charm of The Lamb, the Victorian elegance of The Prince Alfred, the welcoming atmosphere of The Spice of Life, or the lively scene at The Monarch, each venue offers a unique experience.

Regardless of whether you're a local resident or a tourist, exploring the city's folk music scene should definitely be on your list. These pubs, located in various parts of the city, from East London to West London and from North London to South London, not only provide a platform for talented musicians but also serve as places for people to unwind, celebrate, and create beautiful memories.

So, next time you're in London, remember to drop by one of these pubs to enjoy a night of live folk music. You never know, you might just discover your new favourite folk band or artist!

Copyright 2024. All Rights Reserved