Oxford may be well known for its boutique cafes, restaurants and, of course, Oxford University– but did you know that the live music scene in Oxford is one of the best in the country?
When it comes to live music venues in Oxford, they’re always packed on gig nights. There are plenty of great venues to choose from whether you’re into indie, rock or pop– you’re sure to find a spot that you’ll love.
Ready to rock out at one of Oxford’s music venues?
Best Places to See Live Music in Oxford
Sandy’s Piano Bar
Sandy’s Piano Bar is an underground speakeasy serving original cocktails; this late-night bar is the best place for live music in Oxford.
With live music vibrating through its walls every night– yes, you heard right. Every night of the week this venue accommodates pianists (hence the name). There are also themed nights and open mic nights if you fancy your time on the stage too.
Of course, all good music is enjoyed with a cocktail in hand– we’ll have an Orange Margarita and a Peach Gangster, please.
If you’re a fan of indie bands then head to The Bullingdon. It’s one of the coolest live music venues in Oxford for gigs, bands and jazz.
The Bullingdon is in fact Oxford’s leading independent live venue, with an intimate stage and ambient lighting totally immersing you in the music onstage.
Get ready to rock out to guitar solos and raw vocals with a cocktail or craft beer. Being dubbed the place to be for over 135 years is a good enough reason as any to rock out at The Bullingdon.
O2 Academy Oxford
We couldn’t talk about Oxford’s live music scene without mentioning the O2 Academy Oxford. This iconic Edwardian building on Cowley Road has been hosting live music for decades. It was previously known as The Venue which once hosted Radiohead.
Attracting some of the biggest names in the game, O2 Academy Oxford really knows how to get the party started. Also on hand for your visit is a fully stocked bar with snacks and drinks- if you can tear yourself away from the music for long enough to refuel.
The Wheatsheaf has established itself as Oxford’s leading small music venue- and here’s why.
Holding four live music nights per week, this warm and vibrant old-school pub has regular sets from rock and indie bands blaring through its sound system.
The Wheatsheaf is best known for its contemporary jazz nights that really gets those jazz hands going. Get ready to head bop the night away with one too many lagers– but that’s tomorrow’s problem, right?
The Jericho Tavern
Off-beat bohemian live music venue, The Jericho Tavern is the perfect backdrop to any live music event. The Jericho has hosted the likes of Radiohead, Supergrass, Mumford & Sons and The XX over the years – a line-up that rivals Glasto.
It’s also a venue for local and emerging talent to make a name for themselves, it’s usually filled with up to 150 gig-goers swaying from side to side and bopping to every word.
With regular live music nights throughout the month for you to prime your ears, as well as craft beers and cask ales on tap, what more could you want from a venue?
Now you may have been to other O’Neil’s pubs (we won’t lie, they’re not usually great), but this one offers up some musically talented individuals as a side to your BBQ Chicken Supreme pizza.
Located in the heart of Oxford, O’Neil’s is the perfect place to hang out with live bands booked weekly.
Make sure you don’t miss live music Fridays, there’s always a band playing anything from indie to commercial pop. Or, if Saturdays are more your jam, you’ll be treated to solo or duo artists taking the stage– the best part is all events are free.
Looking for a live music pub in Oxford? The Library isn’t your typical library– it’s full of lots of booze and live music.
This independent pub has a downstairs bar with a beer garden and an underground bar in the basement where gigs are held. Think lots of stairs and squeezing past other fellow music lovers in this intimate venue.
You’re so close to the bands playing on stage that you could touch them (please refrain). Tuesday’s are pizza nights while Thursday’s are fiery Mexican nights… and lucky for you music is hosted throughout the week, so pray for a crossover of events.
The Harcourt Arms
Located at the edge of Oxford on the cusp of The Cotswolds, The Harcourt Arms loves to host a gig.
It doesn’t matter which day of the week it is, The Harcourt Arms showcases bands and solo artists on school nights and weekends (yes, you can pull a sicky again, we won’t tell).
From jazz bands to guitarists, this pub is always busy with music fanatics waiting to discover new and emerging bands. There’s even a secret garden out back to enjoy your real ale, but not for too long – you don’t want to miss the entertainment.
The Mad Hatter
Get the weekend off to a cracking start at The Mad Hatter. This is a live music bar in Oxford that hosts live music every Friday. This speakeasy-style cocktail bar promises the maddest of tea parties with live music that’ll have you dancing until the AM.
Bringing you live acts, both established and up and coming, one Friday you might be bopping to live blues music and the next contemporary jazz-–no two Fridays are the same at Hatters.
Practical Tips for Catching Gigs in Oxford
- Check for live music events on the venues’ websites – they’ll likely have an upcoming calendar so you can carve out dates in your diary. It’s also worth noting that most of these events will be for 18+ but it will be specified online.
- Make sure you’ve checked if the event is ticketed and purchase in advance where you can to avoid disappointment.