Located off the ever-hip Upper Street, Angel Central Shopping Centre (formerly known as The N1 Centre) has a vibrant and stylish collection of shops, cafes, restaurants, cinemas and music venues under its roof. Whether you want to watch the latest movies and share a family-sized popcorn snack, or dine out for two on something more extravagant, Angel Central offers you that choice.
Everyone loves a great night out, and the key to a successful night on the town is quality entertainment. With multiple shows happening every night all across the city, a great band is usually only a stone’s throw away.
North London has always been an immensely popular place for live entertainment, so we’ve decided to list some of the best music and comedy venues in Islington. How many of these have you visited?
O2 Academy Islington
It would almost be a crime if we didn’t start this list off with our very own resident live music venue, the O2 Academy Islington.
The O2 Academy hosts a variety of gigs and club nights throughout the year, ranging from grime acts to disco nights to tribute bands.
The venue has been open since 2003 and has a capacity of 800 people in the main room and 250 in the O2 Academy 2. Our beloved venue has seen some legendary artists play sets, including Kings of Leon, My Chemical Romance, KISS, Fall Out Boy and Rick Astley (no, we aren’t “Rickrolling” you).
We actually wrote an entire article recently listing 15 bands that you might not know have played at the O2 Academy Islington over the years. Click hereto read more.
Angel Comedy Club (The Bill Murray/Camden Head)
Angel Comedy Club is Islington’s famous spot for quality comedy, and has now branched out into 2 venues, Camden Head and The Bill Murray.
Camden Head provides free comedy 7 nights a week, ranging from new acts to veterans of the craft. It has been open since 2010 and is located close to Angel Tube Station.
The Bill Murray is the combination of a club, a pub and the Angel Comedy HQ, located not far from Camden Head at 39 Queen’s Head Street.
Some of the previous acts who have appeared there include Russell Howard, Dara O’Briain, Rob Delaney, Ardal O’Hanlon and Romesh Ranganathan. You will often see popular acts trying out new material at The Bill Murray.
The Garage is another staple of live music in North London ever since opening back in 1993.
This great venue has a capacity of 600 people, with the upstairs room (Thousand Island) holding up to 150 people. You can find this venue on Highbury Corner, located about a minute away from Highbury & Islington Station.
Predominately a rock and indie music venue, The Garage has hosted bands such as Muse, Arctic Monkeys, Oasis, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Green Day and The Killers over the years. Essentially a who’s who of modern rock music.
Recent times have seen Harry Styles, Jack White and The 1975 all grace the stage and a good night is always guaranteed (with a great soundtrack).
Union Chapel is a combination of a working church, award winning music venue and home to The Margins Project for the homeless in London.
It is a truly unique venue that often provides a more relaxed, chilled listening environment, with delicious home cooked food available at all gigs. It is often praised for its breathtaking structure and fantastic atmosphere and you can find it on Compton Terrace.
Union Chapel has seen performances by the likes of Elton John, Ellie Goulding, Florence & The Machine, Ryan Adams and Beck since opening and continues to put on great shows all year round.
A popular nightclub and music venue located only 15 minutes away from Angel Central, The Scala holds a lot of music history in its walls.
Scala’s doors have been open since it’s re-opening in 1999, and the venue has a capacity of 1,145 people.
Since then, there have been a number of notable guests at the venue, including Foo Fighters, Ed Sheeran, Kaiser Chiefs, Rihanna, Maroon 5, Jessie J and Lana Del Ray.
They also host regular club nights, with a range of DJ’s and MC’s and even have a Garage Nation event coming up shortly celebrating 20 Years of Scala.
Islington Assembly Hall
Islington Assembly Hall is a Grade II listed music venue located on Upper Street and has a capacity of 800 for events (including 200 seats).
This venue hosts a variety of upcoming bands and well established acts, with multiple events a week. You will often hear praise for the venue being big enough to house a large audience whilst keeping an intimate setting.
After reopening in 2010, this Islington venue has seen the likes of Johnny Marr, Tom Chaplin, Adam Ant, George Ezra, Charlie Simpson and Foo Fighters (as part of a secret set) all perform on its stage.
And that is our list. With such a demand for quality music and a large variety of places to play, it’s easy to see why artists keep coming back to Islington to host concerts and perform.
Have we missed any other great spots for quality music or comedy? Be sure to let us know!