Where To Catch A Concert With Your Dinner

By Lydia Manch Last edited 11 months ago
Where To Catch A Concert With Your Dinner
Image by Quaglino's, St James's.

Things change fast in a time of coronavirus. Check on venue websites and social media ahead of visiting for the most up to date details.

Balthazar, Covent Garden  

Cherchez vous des vibes? Covent Garden's lavishly French brasserie Balthazar is throwing late night music evenings from Thursday to Saturday. Inspired by Parisian jazz bars, reserve a table from 8pm for moules frites, martinis, and live music — French electronica, jazz drums, percussive disco —  you name it, they're dancing through the aisles playing it on a saxophone.

Balthazar, Covent Garden. Thursday to Saturday nights.

Brasserie Zedel, Piccadilly

Image by Brasserie Zedel, Piccadilly.

This Piccadilly stalwart has its own cabaret room — Crazy Coqs — which is fun in its own right, but your food will be limited to snacks and cocktail garnishes. Head to the main dining room, where you can order Zedel's ridiculously good value set menu — with three formidable courses of French classics for under £15, and reliably nice table wine by the carafe — and settle into the art deco interiors for an evening listening to their house band playing 40s swing. It's loud, and despite the grandeur, raucous, with people shouting over the band, waiters swinging through the aisles with dessert trolleys, and a welcoming rowdiness that being masked up and distanced can't dampen.

For the hattrick — quality of food, loveliness of vibe, and the fact you don't need to financially ruin yourself to have a long, sprawling evening here — this is one of our favourite dinner-gig venues in London.

Brasserie Zedel, Piccadilly. Music most nights.

Quaglino's, St James's  

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Gigs in Quaglino's downstairs dining room feel lavish and intimate at the same time — vaulted ceilings, velvet drapery, huge mirrors, dramatic lighting: it's an art deco meets the-Ratpack-does-Vegas vibe that attracts a stellar line up of artists. You can soak in the tunes from the upstairs bar, which overlooks the downstairs stage — or grab a restaurant table and you'll be within a few metres of the action.

Quaglino's, St James's. Shows every night.

Morito, Hackney

Morito, Hackney Road. Image by Billy Bolton.

The already-alluring North African tapas joint gets extra inviting on Tuesday nights, when the downstairs becomes a small, intimate gig venue — just 14 tables in there — with a nicely eclectic line up, and a sharing plates set menu channelling some of the greatest hits from the upstairs restaurant. On the food front, think labneh with chilli oil and dukkah, fried sprats, and lightly citrusy cakes with yoghurt — along with summery, tart pomegranate and mint gin cocktails, gently orangey martinis, and scatterings of sumac, molasses, and chilli everywhere. On the tunes front, the autumn and winter line up includes Seventies-esque rock with a folk slant from The Gulls, Congolese rumba from Congo Latino, and African-influenced psychedelia from Seb Marx and Annabelle Boissonnet. Tickets are £30 a head, and include the three course set menu.

Morito, Hackney. Tuesday nights.

Blues Kitchen, Shoreditch, Brixton, Camden

You're probably at the Blues Kitchen for the music and the bourbon, rather than the food — their three London venues feel like bars and gig venues first, and restaurants second. The food's not bad, though — think chicken wings, doughnuts, and rich, heavily sauced burgers, weighty enough to soak up all the bourbon cocktails. At time of writing, upcoming gigs include an appreciation event for Prince's Purple Rain, and the New York Brass Band (both in Shoreditch), but all three spots pack their programmes with live bands, DJs, and big names.

Blues Kitchen. Shows most nights.

Little Bay, Croydon

Highly theatrical every night of the week, Little Bay's Croydon branch takes its commitment to kitsch to the next level on Friday evenings, with Opera Mayhem taking to the stage. (And floor, and tables.) You can get a sense of the Opera Mayhem MO in this video — filmed at a different restaurant — but expect big, brash, gaudy fun.

Little Bay, Croydon. Opera on Friday evenings.

Image by Little Bay, Croydon.

Ronnie Scott's, Soho

Photo credit: Shutterstock.

You don't have to be a jazz connoisseur to have a great time at this stalwart of London's live music scene. The rows of velvety banquette seating, mood lighting, perfect views of the stage from all tables, and good cocktails make Ronnie's beloved of datenighters regardless of their jazz appreciation levels. The food tends towards (very pricey) French and British classics, but there's no pressure to be eating if you just want to knock back an old fashioned or four, and enjoy shows from some of the best jazz and blues artists to come through London.

Ronnie Scott's, Soho. Shows most nights.

Last Updated 24 January 2022