Essential Live Music Venues in Bristol

Mar 14, 2018

Bristol is arguably the UK’s music capital. This boisterous city has one of the best live scenes in the nation and plenty of venues showcasing all manner of genres from afro-beat to orchestral classical.

The likes of Portishead and Massive Attack started their respective journeys to super-stardom on the streets of this hip city and now Bristol is the go-to place for music lovers and all-night partiers.

With so much going on in the city, it might seem a little overwhelming when trying to choose where to hear the best tunes. Handily, we’ve whipped together this list to give you the lowdown on the essential live music venues in Bristol.

Thekla

Don the boat shoes for this banging music venue experience. Thekla is rock music heaven on a boat. Though its days of delivering timber to the Bristol docks are long gone, the German vessel has found a new lease of life as one of the city’s premier rock joints. Moored up on the riverside, Thekla is a must for music fans. Did we forget to mention that it’s an actual boat?!

The Grove, East Mud Dock, BS1 4RB (thekla)

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Colston Hall

Bristol’s biggest venue is also one of its oldest, having first opened its doors to the city’s music lovers in 1867. Set in an imposing Victorian concert hall, the Colston is a stalwart of the British music scene and one of the most important venues in the long history of UK rock music. Nowadays, it still attracts the biggest and best names on the circuit and regularly hosts festivals and comedy peformances alongside an eclectic calendar of music.

Colston St, Bristol BS1 5AR (colstonhall)

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The Fleece

You’ll always find something on at The Fleece, which proudly claims to have a live act on every night of the week. A former Victorian wool hall, this imperial looking venue has hosted the likes of Oasis and Radiohead over its nearly 40-year history. These days, there’s a healthy selection of tribtue acts filling the stage, so you can still catch the sounds of the British greats ringing out from The Fleece’s soundsystem.

12 St. Thomas Street, Bristol, BS1 6JJ (thefleece)

The Tunnels Bristol

Bristol certainly has a thing for unique venues. If you’ve finished with boat parties, why not head underground to catch the latest and greatest in underground and upcoming music? The Tunnels is tucked away in two former railway arches and is a great place to catch the next big thing.

Exeter House, Lower Station Approach, Bristol, BS1 6QS (tunnelsbristol)

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Motion

Allegedly one of the top 20 nightclubs in the world, Motion is a permanent fixture in clubbing tours of the UK. No surprise, then, that this fabled venue attracts the biggest and best DJs on the circuit, putting on some unforgettably high-octane evenings. The main room also doubles up as a performance venue for more conventional bands and acts when the bass isn’t pumping, so you can catch a few traditional guitar groups here too.

74-78 Avon St., Bristol, BS2 0PX (motionbristol)

Cosies!

Humble Cosies! (yes, the exclamation mark is essential!) is probably the only place you can sip wine pretentiously and jive out to the latest dub and reggae beats. Swanky wine bar by day, buzzing music venue by night, Cosies! sports everything from grime and reggae to turntables and dubstep.

34 Portland Square, Bristol, BS2 8RG (cosies)

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The Old Duke

The home of Bristol’s jazz scene. The age-old Duke has been hosting music for half a century and more. A traditional British boozer tucked away on the cobbled King Street, the Duke has a stacked calendar of New Orleans style classics and more modern grooves. A must for jazz fans, this pub is another that claims to have music of every night of the week.

45 King St, Bristol BS1 4ER (theoldduke)

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St George’s Bristol

The impressive former church building of St George’s Hall now plays host to some of the most elegant music events the city has to offer. More of a place for reserved classical and niche genres than the banging club nights that Bristol is known for, St George’s is a place for appreciating the finer things in life.

Great George St, Bristol, BS1 5RR (stgeorgesbristol)

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