Live music Bristol

Let’s get loud Bristol! A guide to the best Bristolian gig venues

When it comes to live music, you can’t beat Bristol. From partying on a boat to singing along to a tribute band, Bristol’s got it going on.
If you’re looking for things to do in Bristol, why not go to a gig? The city is full of great live music venues and underground clubs where you can see your favourite group or DJ, or get bragging rights by discovering an up-and-coming band before everyone else. Here’s our guide to what’s on in Bristol.

Party on a boat
An icon on the Bristol party scene is Thekla, Bristol’s famous bar on a boat. A former cargo ship built in 1958, it’s now permanently moored on the city’s Floating Harbour. It was previously a showboat with cabaret, plays, musicals and an art gallery, but today it’s a nightclub and live music venue that has welcomed groups such as Massive Attack, Portishead and Franz Ferdinand onto its stage. On weekends it turns into a club with regular nights featuring R&B, pop hits and Bristol’s famous drum ‘n’ bass. Gigs are held throughout the week and earlier on the weekends, so make sure you check out the website to see who’s on and score your tickets. Parties on Thekla are parties you won’t be forgetting any time soon.
What’s the time Mr Wolf?
When it comes to pop-up Bristol events, you can’t beat Mr Wolfs in its new location on St Nicholas Street. Open seven nights a week, there’s always something happening here, whether it’s live music, stand-up comedy, an open-mic night, or even a poetry reading. It’s open late too (until 3am weeknights and 4am weekends) so if you’re feeling peckish after everything else is closed, pop into Mr Wolfs to party all night and enjoy their famous cups of noodles. The bar prides itself on being the place you go to when you’ve got no real plans, but you’ll end up coming back time and time again.
All aboard the bus
While Start the Bus may be known for its live bands and DJ nights, it’s also worth coming down to this Baldwin Street bar for its American-inspired menu at the in-house Ruby’s Diner. The little stage is a merry-go-round of local indie bands, sp you can get down after you’ve tucked into their infamous mac ‘n’ cheese, southern fried chicken wings, or a 2-for-1 burger special on Tuesdays. The beers flow freely, the music is top-notch and the crowd is as cool as they come. Start the Bus is not to be missed.
A tribute to Britain’s greatest
For indie Bristol gigs, hit up The Fleece, a former Victorian wool hall turned into a popular pub and concert venue. There are often smaller bands who play for free here, or else some more established touring groups are ticketed via the website. However, The Fleece is probably best known for its weekend tribute bands, who play your favourite songs from The Beatles, Oasis, Queen, Bowie, The Clash and other iconic artists. There are also your regular club nights with Britpop, as well as student specials and free events. Check out the website to see what’s on.
Eco-friendly sound bites
If you’re heading out to experience Stokes Croft in all its glory, stop in for a drink and a gig at The Canteen Bar. Right next to a famous Banksy mural, The Canteen boasts a rotating roster of 100% free live music every night of the week, anything from Afro-beat reggae to a Latin-funk hip-hop orchestra! There’s also food available – The Canteen is part of the Slow Food movement which promises “good, clean and fair” food that has been ethically sourced from local producers. The team has even been awarded the highest three star rating from the Sustainable Restaurant Association so you can feel good about dining out at The Canteen every night if you feel like it.
…And all that jazz
Bristol isn’t just about rock bands and electro DJs; there are also plenty of other music venues catering to all different kinds of tastes. Consider yourself a bit of a jazz aficionado? Then you’ve probably already heard of the Old Duke, Bristol’s leading jazz bar. From traditional New Orleans jazz to blues and modern interpretations, there are regular gigs every night and even during Sunday lunch at this legendary pub.
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