The Bristol music venues you might not have heard of


By Will Snelling, Deputy Digital Editor

Bristol has a rich and various selection of music venues and gigs. The joys of going to see an 8 minute version of Valerie by the Zutons at Mr Wolfs, or surrendering your body to pounding techno somewhere in Stokes Croft are pretty well-known.

Sometimes, however, you need to break out of your old habits. It’s about time we expanded our repertoire of live music destinations, so here is a list that just begins to scratch the surface of (partly) hidden hotspots in Bristol.

Bristol Fringe

This quaint pub tucked away in Clifton village has been host to an array of jazz, skiffle and other generally more ‘traditional’ musical genres. Don't let the old-timey aura put you off: if you like mandolins, a cosy atmosphere and mulled wine, you’ll love Bristol Fringe.

The Mother’s Ruin

Thinking of spending another Tuesday night at Mr Wolfs? How about crossing the road over to The Mother’s Ruin. Perhaps another seemingly outsider bet, but don’t underestimate this authentic, skuzzy little pub; it hosts a vibrant selection of live bands and DJs, ranging from neo-soul to math-rock to Italo Disco.

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The Blue Lagoon

Blue Lagoon may seem like a bit of a wild card as a ‘music venue’, but the open mic night here is definitely worth checking out. The performers are a cut above the usual open mic fare, and you can even sip a Sex on the Beach as you listen to a thoughtful acoustic rendition of ‘Hey Ya’.

The Old Duke

If you’re in the mood for some rollocking New Orleans-style jazz and blues, look no further than The Old Duke, whose name is a reference to the master Ellington himself. The atmosphere is always electric, even sometimes veering into chaotic as local punters spill in and out of the small pub.

Trinity Centre

One of the bigger names on this list, but still one that can be often unjustly forgotten in favour of flashier venues like Thekla, SWX and The Marble Factory. The Trinity Centre, a repurposed church, has hosted big-hitters like Mitski and Crazy P, but is also an exhibition space and a theatre, and this month it will even host a horticulture conference. The Trinity Centre may be tucked away in Easton, but it is more than worth the trek. The fact that it’s in a church also means that it has more atmosphere than pretty much every other venue in Bristol combined.

Featured image credit: Angel Ganev
What are your favourite lesser-known venues in Bristol?