Bristol has a vibrant music scene beating behind the doors of its many characterful venues. From musical legends in revered concert halls, to 25-piece Samba bands strumming under Banksy-covered walls, from indie hangouts to gigs afloat in old German boats, Bristol’s music venues cater for all tastes. 


Here are 10 of our must-boogie-in music venues in Bristol:

Colston Hall
1. Colston Hall

The largest of all Bristol’s concert halls, The Colston Hall plays host to big names in pop, rock, world and classical music, musical legends, stand-up comedy, light entertainment as well as local orchestras, schools and choirs. Major renovation works in 2009 made Colston hall architecturally significant in Bristol’s skyline. The building’s shiny gold exterior gleams enticingly, beckoning you to see the many fantastic performers who play within its walls. Audiences’ have had their eardrums tantalised here since 1867 and the venue remains a big part of Bristol’s cultural life. Back in the day, The Beatles, Bob Dylan, Ella Fitzgerald and Bowie took to the stage here, more recently Emile Sandé, Damien Rice and Jools Holland have played gigs. A key player in Bristol’s festivals and events, the hall also offers visitors a terrace bar with city views and H Bar Café – which hosts free live music on Fridays and Saturdays. A geometric, music-bearing, gleaming jewel in Bristol’s music scene.
Check their website for a comprehensive list of forthcoming shows, or search for events in our own listings.

The Canteen

2. The Canteen

Street art legend Banksy’s ‘Mild Mild West’ reigns high above The Canteen’s outdoor space.  Once a ‘don’t judge a book by its cover’ kind of establishment thanks to its uninspiring exterior, the venue has become a thriving hub of the community within Stokes Croft, invigorated by greenery, artworks, twinkly lights and people. Home-grown and touring musicians from all genres of music play free gigs to the crowds seven days a week. Anything from a chilled out mid-week solo blues artist to a wild skankin’ Latin-funk hip-hop orchestra! Choose your tipple and enjoy a good munch while you listen or before you boogie on down – the food is delicious, wholesome and affordable. Laid-back, creative vibes and a sense of responsibility radiate from the foundations, this place is all about the people and it welcomes one and all. The Canteen also has links with No. 1 Harbourside – a waterside venue that moonlights as a restaurant, bar, music venue, cake and ferry ticket shop and home to the brilliant Harbourside market, that’s also worth a visit.

St George

3. St George’s Bristol

Standing proud in a leafy setting beneath Cabot Tower, is one of the country’s finest concert halls. A decommissioned church, St George’s Bristol is renowned for its classical concerts and is becoming increasingly popular with world, folk blues and jazz artists. With phenomenal acoustics and a unique atmosphere, this music venue is a little known marvel to non-Bristolians. As well as running a vibrant programme of over 200 events each year including family concerts and talks, St George’s is also a charity that promotes quality music to a range of audiences. The concert hall has exciting plans for its future and is currently fundraising for works that will begin in 2016. The extension project will open up the 19th century gardens as well as transform the visitor experience of the inside spaces.

 Motion

4. Motion Bristol

Named as 19th best nightclub on Planet Earth, Motion Bristol has welcomed some of the world’s leading DJs, artists and music brands. A converted skate park in central Bristol, its distinctive surroundings, old warehouses, cobbled courtyard, cavernous main room and riverside terrace make it a uniquely Bristolian place to party. Aside from the festivities that happen after dark, there’s other fun to be had too as Motion plays host to a ton of other events. These include the family-friendly, Eat-Drink-Dance festival, with its live art, workshops, artists and street food in association with Bristol Eats – the award-winning street food collective. Also nestled within the site is the newly-named Marble Factory, hosting live music, comedy, exhibitions and festivals in addition to clubnights.

Carlos_Blanco

5. The Old Duke

On Bristol’s cobbled King Street do we lay our scene. The Old Duke, named after musical legend “Duke” Ellington, is famous for its traditional live jazz music, played every night of the week. The pub, with its lamp lit, peeling interior plastered with old band posters and newspaper cuttings, heaves with people each night. From musos to alternative students, the Old Duke remains as unpretentious as it is popular. Their creaky stage is also home to a weekly open mic night, a Sunday lunchtime set as well as the annual Bristol jazz festival, and their selection of ales is strong. A great night out.
See their website for listings.

Thekla

6. Thekla

Once a German sea-faring vessel, the Thekla now resides by the Mud Dock in Bristol harbour under a different pretext. Initially brought to Bristol as a cabaret theatre by a couple of eccentrics, in the 90’s, under new management - she was re-born as a nightclub. Bristol’s most famous street artist, Banksy took to her steel hull, painting his famous Grim Reaper just above the waterline. It was removed to save it from deterioration and now lives in the M Shed museum, just across the water. Thekla’s floating hulk today remains one of Bristol’s oldest and best music venues, for the experience alone. Hosting a range of nights, the ship’s underbelly throbs with anything from house music to break beats, indie, guitar and a good crowd. Great in the summer for chilling on its wide wooden decks, with Bristol’s multi-coloured, sparkling Harbourside as a backdrop. Cosy up with sweaty, gig-going punters in winter.

The-Fleece

7. The Fleece

No-frills and down-to-earth, The Fleece has been a legendary live music venue in Bristol since the 80s. Housed in a stunning Bristol-esque building, a short walk from Temple Meads train station, it has a rich history of live music. Some big name bands have graced its stage – Oasis, Queens of the Stone Age, Radiohead, White Stripes and The Wurzels to name a few. Hosting live music 7 days a week as well as club nights, it’s very popular with tribute bands, music lovers and students. Make sure you choose a spot out of the way of the pillars (which can spoil the view) and it’s only polite to sample their fantastic selection of West Country ciders.

Mr Wolfs
8. Mr Wolf’s

Nicely settled in its new location in Bristol’s Old City, Mr Wolf’s has become a harbinger for up-and-coming talent, including bands, DJs, graffiti artists, poets, stand-up comedians and more.  Bands usually take to the stage around 10 until midnight, then DJs take over to keep the crowds busting moves until the early hours. The range of music is broad, featuring everything from acoustic and punk-ska to funk. If your shape-throwing leaves you peckish, then get your hands on their cheap noodles - provided late into the night. Great atmosphere, decently-priced drinks and an enthusiastic crowd make this little venue a fun night out.

Jeremy-Fennell
9. The Louisiana

Sitting pretty amidst pastel-coloured houses, down the road from Bristol Harbourside’s brand new regeneration project, Wapping Wharf, is 19th Century pub, The Louisiana. A former seafarer’s hotel, the pub’s balconied exterior was apparently styled on an 18th century paddle-steamer and is more reminiscent of classy Clifton Village than Bristol docklands. Inside, The Louisiana sprawls across several levels, hosting bands in one of its cosy rooms. Bristolians come to support the local music scene, serious fans trek from London, all flock for the chance to see the next big thing in an intimate location. The venue is Indie and folk music inclined and has some big names under its belt – Muse, Kings of Leon, Coldplay and Elbow are just a sprinkling of bands that have played here. A quick glance at their ‘Past Acts’ page is like reading a music hall of fame. Recently The Louisiana has added a cellar to its music venue bow where it now hosts intimate acoustic sessions.

Lakota

10. Lakota

Part of Bristol’s nightlife for 25 years, street-art encrusted Lakota is the last remaining slice of the Stokes Croft Brewery and part of the Stokes Croft Conservation area. Inside, its warehouse-style innards contain several dance floors wound round a tall, central atrium. Drum and bass, dub and dub-step DJs rock the galleries several nights a week with the odd techno and house night. Psy-trance is also no stranger to its door – with the psychedelic ‘Tribe of Frog’ playing regular belters here.

Top to Music Venues Pinterest

Related

Colston Hall Bristol
Event Venue
Colston Hall Foyer - CREDIT AARDMAN

Colston Hall is Bristol’s largest concert hall, presenting concerts and entertainment by major names in rock, pop, jazz, folk, world and classical music, stand up comedy and light entertainment.

The Canteen
Event Venue
The Canteen

Nestled in the belly of Hamilton House in the thriving mix of Stokes Croft, Canteen brings you good things like affordable home-cooked food, free live music every night, space for local art and a place to meet, plot and play.

St George's Bristol
Music Hall
St George's Bristol

One of the country's finest music venues, offering the best in classical, chamber, world, folk, blues and jazz

Lakota Bristol
Night Club
Lakota Bristol

The beating heart of Bristol’s rich and longstanding music scene!