THE BEST PLACES TO SEE REGGAE IN SOUTH LONDON
WRITTEN BY JASMINE LEE KENNEDY
Reggae courses through South London’s veins, giving it the burst of cultural life that it’s so famous for. So, there are of course plenty of places to catch bands and DJs booming it through the airwaves, and we’ve listed the Top 5 here.
Any Brixtoner knows that Hootananny is a musically diverse hub of the brilliant and bizarre. It’s open every night with an incredibly eclectic range of music bubbling away on its intimate stage. They host hip-hop, Latin, punk, ska and more – including, of course, reggae. They’re especially famous for their reggae Thursdays, which have live bands and DJs playing ‘till 2am. If you have the energy to stay up on a school night, make sure to check this one out.
95 Effra Rd, Brixton, London SW2 1DF
Fox and Firkin, Lewisham
Go a little more east, and you’ll find this legendary live music pub. It’s become a community well known for its treat-for-the-ears live music events, DJs sets and even its regular knitting classes. Self-proclaimed to be the home of underground music, they play a variety of different genres but are best known for their reggae slots. Here, you’ll find the likes of Prince Fatty, Lutan Fyah and the Deptford Dub Club, as well as many others playing reggae’s younger brothers, dancehall and jungle.
316 Lewisham High St, Lewisham, London SE13 6JZ
The Railway, West Norwood
Found right by Tulse Hill station, meaning it’s the perfect place to drop in for a drink and a spot of live music on your way home from work, The Railway is a local favourite. They host fantastic bands, DJs and solo singers all year round, with a delectable emphasis on roots reggae music. Although it’s a little on the small side, that just means the gigs have an intimate feel to them. And, in the summer, they’ve been known to have gigs outside in their huge garden, where you can enjoy the tunes with a sunny pint in one of their booths.
7 Station Rise, West Norwood, London SE27 9BW
Don’t forget to check out the Hideaway at least once in your South London life; it’s Streatham’s very own live jazz bar, and it’s pretty classy. You can enjoy a couple of casual pints with your friends or even dig into a sit-down dinner with cocktails on a cheeky date. You can enjoy this all while being serenaded by the outstanding records of some of the biggest names in reggae, such as the legendary Marcia Griffiths. They also host amazing music from all over the world, hosting gigs with Brazilian funk legends like Marco Valle and regular Cuban jazz nights.
2 Empire Mews, Stanthorpe Rd, Streatham, London SW16 2BF
The Dispensary, Camberwell
If you love roots reggae and heavy dubplate selections, make your way down to Camberwell and visit The Old Dispensary. Expect sets from Creation Rebel Sound System and The Sisters of reggae, as well as lots of exciting resident DJ sets playing both old and new reggae hits. You’ll find a lot of the friendly Camberwell locals hanging out here, so if you want a true taste of Camberwell, here’s your spot.
325 Camberwell New Rd, Camberwell, London SE5 0TF