Liverpool is one of the greatest musical cities in the world. From the famous Mersey Beat, to the Fab-Four, Cream and the psychedelic hippy scene, our city is certainly musically diverse. However, it’s not just the genres and artists that make Liverpool’s music scene so eclectic. It’s the city’s cafes, bars, concert halls, warehouses and even churches that are driving Liverpool’s music scene towards the future.
So, to celebrate this, we thought we’d create a guide to all the most amazing venues you can enjoy the best live music Liverpool has to offer. From underground hidden gems, to world-famous arenas and arty warehouse spaces, our city has so much to offer when it comes to watching live music.
Live Music Liverpool
Where: 60 Victoria Street
Describe in three words: Unique, spectacular and cinematic
Set on the rooftop of the famous Shankly Hotel on Victoria Street, Eden is one of the city’s newest and most exciting venues to enjoy the best live music Liverpool has to offer. Hosting monthly music events in the form of Signature Live Sessions, this unique venue offers stunning views over Liverpool’s iconic skyline. Curated and presented by The Farm’s Keith Mullin, they bring together the city’s most influential musicians alongside the brightest new stars, for an unforgettable evening of cinematic music. So far, the venue has welcomed Red Rum Club, alongside The Sums, Sub Blue and The Farm, and lastly Natalie McCool and The Christians. And the very best thing about live music events held on the Eden rooftop is that every gig is completely free! Follow Signature’s YouTube channel to be the first to get on the list for future live music Liverpool events and see some of the amazing past events.
The Jacaranda & Phase One
Where: 21-23 Slater Street & 40 Seel Street
Describe in three words: Iconic, cool and nostalgic
Renowned as being the first club to host The Beatles in 1960, The Jacaranda is a staple of the Liverpool music scene. First opening in the late 1950s as a coffee bar, this legendary music venue is steeped in fascinating musical heritage. After a mysterious closure in 2011 amidst a changing Liverpool nightlife landscape, many wondered if there was a future for the iconic club. However, to the delight of music lovers, it reopened a few years later as a record store, coffee shop, bar and live music venue. Since then, the venue has hosted a number of rock n’ roll artists and indie performers. In the last year or so, The Jacaranda have expanded the brand and opened a brand-new venue in the heart of Liverpool, Jacaranda Phase One. This urban and edgy space boasts a large courtyard, a record store area and unique live music Liverpool set up.
Where: 80-82 Seel Street
Describe in three words: Grungy, underground and rock n’ roll
Situated in the 250-year-old basement of the famous nightclub Heebie Jeebies on Seel Street, EBGBs is a chilled-out biker inspired bar and music venue. Made up of two fabulous rooms, this grungy space is perfect for those who love rock, alternative or dance music. With one of the best sounds and lighting rigs around, watching a gig at EBGBS is certainly one of the best experiences in the city. The ceilings are low and it’s dark and dingy, with skulls and grungy neon signs scattered around to give the room the sort of red light look you’d expect to find in an NYC dive bar.
Invisible Wind Factory
Where: 3 Regent Road
Describe in three words: Unique, industrial and creativeSource: www.facebook.com/invisiblewindfactory/
After the sad closure of the Kazimier on Wolstenholme Square at the end of 2015, the Liverpool music scene was well and truly in mourning. However, it was soon announced that the team behind the legendary venue had a surprise up their sleeve. The Invisible Wind Factory, a much larger and more ambitious venue, was opened near the Kingsway Tunnel, off the North Liverpool docks and the rest is history. Now one of the coolest and most unique live music venues Liverpool has to offer, the former warehouse regularly hosts alternative music festivals, psychedelic and ‘freakscene’ artists, as well as dance music events, underground hip hop acts and much more.
Where: 43 Seel Street
Describe in three words: Popular, established and dynamic
Well-known and respected in Liverpool for providing a platform for unsigned and undiscovered talent, The Zanzibar is set on the lively Seel Street. Offering a 300-capacity live space that mainly hosts rock and alternative acts, the famous venue provides a balance of newcomers and seasoned performers alike. Legendary Liverpudlian artists such as Pete Wylie, The Coral, The Zutons and Miles Kane have all graced the stage at ‘The Zanzi’. The club is divided into two main areas, a long narrow dance floor in front of the stage and a raised seating area, which runs parallel down one side. Perfect for watching smaller bands in an intimate and cosy space, The Zanzibar is a firm favourite in the city and one of the best places to watch the amazing live music Liverpool offers.
Where: Mathew Street
Describe in three words: Legendary, retro and timeless
The Cavern has proudly stood on Mathew Street for seven decades and is the cradle of British pop culture in Liverpool. From The Beatles’ first performance in February 1961 to the Arctic Monkeys pre-breakthrough gig in October 2005, the Cavern remains the beating heart of Liverpool’s amazing music scene. The iconic stage beneath the brick arches is the image most people associate with the Cavern. This is where you can enjoy live music from soloists and cover bands from mid-afternoon until late evening. Open 7 days a week, you’ll experience everything from Rock n Roll to solo acoustic, as well as Cavern Club resident artists and top-class Merseybeat tribute acts. This is the place you need to be to truly experience the evocative spirit of the most famous club in the world.
The Philharmonic Hall
Where: 38 Hope Street
Describe in three words: Iconic, grand and cultural
The home of the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Society, The Philharmonic Hall is an historic art-deco style music hall at the heart of Liverpool’s cultural scene. Nestled in a 1930s Grade II listed building on the bohemian Hope Street, this spectacular concert hall can seat over 1,700 people on a sold out showing. The venue hosts a huge range of artists and ensembles, from The Waterboys, to Echo and Bunnymen, Jools Holland and, of course, the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra. A fabulous live music venue, The Philharmonic’s mission has always been to promote the love of music and music-making. It is a huge and important part of Liverpool’s musical community and we hope it will remain that way for years to come. And don’t forget, if you’re planning on seeing a concert at the venue, visit the famous Philharmonic Dining Rooms and Pub situated just across the road!
Where: Kings Dock Street
Describe in three words: Impressive, atmospheric and dynamic
The city’s biggest and most impressive purpose-built events arena, the Echo Arena was first opened in 2008 as part of the opening ceremony for the European Capital of Culture. Set on the former King’s Dock in Liverpool, this large venue has a capacity of 11,000 and is renowned for hosting world class events. The MOBO Awards, MTV Europe Music Awards, Davis Cup Tennis, GB Judo World Cup and European Team Badminton Championships have all appeared at the Echo Arena. Plus, international superstars such as Sir Paul McCartney and Beyoncé have also graced the venue’s main stage, along with national comedy heroes like John Bishop and Russell Howard.
The Arts Club
Where: 90 Seel Street
Describe in three words: Versatile, popular and intimate
Set on the hustle and bustle of Seel Street, The Arts Club is a trendy live music venue catering for both established touring bands and those about to break through. Offering gig-goers a number of rooms, this popular space has welcomed the likes of Foals, Paul Weller and Fatboy Slim to its stage. A conversion of the old 1800s Royal Institute of Arts and Science building, this beautiful venue still retains some of the original period features. The perfect place to visit if you love smaller, alternative gigs, the Arts Club is always popular with the local crowds.
Where: 65-67 Bold Street
Describe in three words: Relaxed, vintage and comfortable
Nestled on the busy Bold Street, Leaf is a unique, independent tea shop and bar which is famous for serving countless varieties of loose-leaf teas and wholesome food. However, above the popular ground floor café, this quirky venue is also home to a spacious events space. Decorated with shiny mirror balls, paper lanterns and botanic features, this vintage style hall offers an intimate and relaxed atmosphere. Playing host to folk style artists, open mic nights and acoustic musicians, Leaf is the perfect place to unwind and chill out after a long day.
Where: West Derby Road
Describe in three words: Eclectic, prestigious and decadent
The Olympia is one of Liverpool’s most iconic and grand venues, situated on West Derby Road. Offering music lovers an eclectic array of artists and events, this historic venue is definitely one of the most impressive spaces in the city. The beautiful ballroom was originally known as Locarno and has been a landmark in Liverpool for over 70 years. Designed by the renowned Theatre Architect Frank Matcham, the venue first opened as a Theatre on 24 April 1905. Today, the magnificent former theatre still retains its original ornate features and provides one of the most unique and beautiful venues for the live music Liverpool offers.
Where: 52 Duke Street
Describe in three words: Cosy, friendly and cool
Sound is a very special live music venue set in the heart of Liverpool on Duke Street. It’s a place where you can always make new friends in the smoking area, enjoy a pint in peace and watch some of the most alternative themed nights in the city. When it comes to live music, Sound has a secret underground basement space that has proved to be one of the coolest and grungiest places to play a gig. It’s a bit rough around the edges, with a few wires hanging from the ceiling here and there, but the atmosphere is always electric. Whether its an event or a gig, they are always a bit ad-hoc when it comes to the planning, but that’s the beauty of Sound.
Where: 33-45 Parr Street
Describe in three words: Sophisticated, warm and stylish
Studio 2 is one of those legendary venues you hear about and always want to visit but maybe don’t? But imagine sipping on a gin and listening to live music in the very same spot that the likes of Black Sabbath and The Smiths spent hours perfecting album releases. Surely that’s enough reason to go? Today, Studio2 mainly devotes itself to live jazz nights, swing and blues. It is the modern-day answer for the people of Liverpool to get their fix of the newest and best jazz around. From the outside it doesn’t look like much, however inside, the venue is adorned by vintage wooden panelling with an emporium of gold records decorating the walls. It’s very 70s, with velvet curtains, a strong cocktail menu and excellent sound rigging. If you enjoy live music venues with a little sophistication, Studio 2 is the place for you.
The Shipping Forecast
Where: 15 Slater Street
Describe in three words:Cool, laid-back and vintage
Next up in our guide to the best live music Liverpool has to offer is The Shipping Forecast. A vaguely nautical themed bar, restaurant and events space, this discreet, yet cool venue exudes a retro-chic charm. The interior offers a cross between a stripped back loft apartment and a pirate’s hang out. It is filled with vintage furniture, cosy booths and quirky lighting. Head downstairs to the basement live music venue, ‘The Hold’ and you find a sweaty and dark haven for rock and rollers.
24 Kitchen Street
Where: 4 Kitchen Street
Describe in three words: DIY, edgy and intimate
If you prefer your live music venues a bit grimy and rough around the edges, 24 Kitchen Street is the perfect place for you to watch a gig. Located in the trendy Baltic Triangle area, this independent music and art space offers music lovers a huge range of genres and artists. From sweaty house nights, to jazz fusion acts, old school hip hop and world-famous DJ sets, this former warehouse is certainly one of the coolest venues in Liverpool. With a capacity of just 400, 24 Kitchen Street has an intimate atmosphere that you just can’t find anywhere else.
Where: 11-13 Hotham Street
Describe in three words: Versatile, distinct and popular
Run by the Academy Music Group, the Liverpool O2 offers music lovers two separate spaces to enjoy some of the most popular and current bands. O2 Academy 1 can hold 1,200 people, with both a standing area and a balcony, while O2 Academy 2 can hold 500. But what really makes this live music venue special is the consistently amazing gig listings. From legends like Shaun Ryder, to Slaves, George Ezra, Kaiser Chiefs and tribute acts like The Smyths, the O2 Liverpool always deliverers when it comes to a huge range of genres, artists and events.
Alma de Cuba
Where: St Peters Church, Seel Street
Describe in three words: Historic, atmospheric and impressive
Known as one of Liverpool’s most popular and best loved bars in the city, Alma de Cuba also provides one of the most unique and historic venues to watch live music Liverpool style. If you like a bit of soul, mixed with plenty of funk and some Latin American inspiration, this famous nightlife hotspot is the perfect place to visit. Once known as St Peter’s Catholic Church, this stunning building retains many of the original period features, such as the spectacular altar, grand columns and stained-glass windows. It is definitely one of the most atmospheric and impressive venues to some of the best live music Liverpool has to offer.
Where: 34 Greenland Street
Describe in three words: Modern, loud and electric
Hangar34 was first launched in October 2016 by local promoters with a passion to attract touring bands, showcase international DJ’s and promote local talent. This venue is urban and hosts an eclectic mix of musical genres all year round. Famous for its electric atmosphere and legendary DJ sets, this is one of the coolest and industrial live music venues Liverpool has to offer. Set in the Baltic Triangle at the site of the old Garage nightclub, Hangar34 is a small and sweaty venue that is perfect for those who love a rave or a mosh pit.
The Buyers Club
Where: 24 Hardman Street
Describe in three words: Bohemian, secret and quirky
Situated just off the beaten track of Liverpool’s burgeoning Hardman Street, Buyers Club is one of the city’s hidden gems when it comes to cool live music venues. With both an indoor space and an impressive outside garden area, this quirky bar is a chameleon of a bar that will impress you no matter what type of night or music you’re searching for. Fitted with wooden floors, decorated with Swedish style furniture and plants, it’s like watching your favourite band in one of your trendy friend’s apartments. The live music Liverpool venue is upstairs, a long, rectangle space that fits around 250- 300 people. It is versatile and always has an eclectic list of artists gracing the stage.
Where: 35-39 Greenland Street
Describe in three words: Ground-breaking, diverse and urban
A landmark in the cool Baltic Triangle, Constellations is a self-confessed art installation offering a wide range of art and live music events both inside and outside. Situated in a regenerated warehouse and recycling yard, this award-winning space hosts some of the most innovative and unique events in Liverpool. During the day; this is a place to enjoy fresh, fuss free brunch, catch up with friends, escape the office or simply take time to soak up the sun. As dusk falls, the space is illuminated with events, stories, music and possibilities. It’s certainly one of the best venues to enjoy the unique live music Liverpool has on offer.
Mulholland Singing Diner
Where: 61-69 Seel Street
Describe in three words: Different, theatrical and dazzling
Last but certainly not least on our guide to the venues to enjoy some of the best live music Liverpool has on offer is Mulholland Singing Diner. Yes, you read that right. This American style diner offers guests the ultimate musical experience in the heart of Liverpool. You can enjoy classic diner food and milkshakes, alongside dazzling live performances from their singing waiters. From famous movie soundtracks, to the very best 80s power ballads, and musical numbers, Mulholland is bringing a sprinkle of stardust to the city.
We hope you’ve enjoyed our guide to some of our favourite venues to enjoy the best live music Liverpool has to offer. If you’re exploring the city and are feeling a bit peckish, why not check out our foodies guide to Bold Street. Perhaps you’re exploring during a Sunday afternoon and fancy a roast? We’ve got you covered with our Sunday Lunch Liverpool guide.
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