ANGEL COMEDY CLUB AT THE BILL MURRAY
There are free shows every night at the friendly, intimate venue known previously as the Mucky Pup. This neighbourhood joint is brassy and eccentric, from the painted murals of comedians adorning its façade to the amusing inspiration behind its name. An atmospheric comedy hub, the Bill Murray also offers craft beers and classic pub snacks.
39 Queen’s Head Street, Islington, N1 8NQ
BACKYARD COMEDY CLUB
Owned by British stand-up Lee Hurst, the Backyard Comedy Club has established itself as the home of comedy in the East End. Close to Bethnal Green tube station, it regularly lands TV comedians like Jo Brand and Harry Hill, who you’ll usually see at larger places in the West End. Purpose built and also offering fussball, pool and darts, this is a firm favourite in the comedy circuit. As Russell Howard once said, “If there’s a better comedy club in the world, I don’t know where it is.”
231 Cambridge Heath Road, Bethnal Green, E2 0EL
DOWNSTAIRS AT THE KING’S HEAD
This Crouch End pub is among the city’s oldest comedy clubs, and a bit of a hidden gem. Its ‘Legendary Comedy Try out Night’ is a kind of open-mic night for budding comedians, featuring 16 acts in five-minute slots. You’ll also find more established comics taking the stage for ‘Comedy Cabaret’ on Saturdays. In between, there are comedy events running nearly every day, so this is a good place to keep on your radar for spontaneous midweek activities.
2 Crouch End Hill, Crouch End, N8 8AA
LET’S LAUGH COMEDY CLUB
In between Clapham, Stockwell and Brixton, Let’s Laugh Comedy Club (previously located at The Dogstar in Brixton) is one for the new names in comedy. Rising stars come here to hone their acts, making for an ever-changing lineup of names. Well-known comics routinely perform here too, but the excitement of watching fresh faces experimenting with new material is the draw for its large crowd of weekly regulars.
Café Cairo, 88 Landor Road, Clapham, SW9 9PE
LEICESTER SQUARE THEATRE
This well-known, 400-capacity venue sits right in the heart of Theatreland and draws in some big names. Everyone from Joan Rivers to Stewart Lee has appeared here. If you're looking for a more intimate comedy space, head over to its sister venue, Museum of Comedy, in Holborn to see live improv acts like ‘The Lord of The Game of The Ring of Thrones’, as well as work in progress shows from the likes of Kerry Godliman, Suzi Ruffell and James Acaster.
6 Leicester Place, Leicester Square, WC2H 7BX
This Dean Street venue is one of London’s busiest, with a year-round festival-style programme and buzzing bar where comedy fans can hang out and grab a drink with some of their favourite acts. It has three stages, usually with at least six shows spread across them.
21 Dean Street, Soho, W1D 3NE
THE COMEDY STORE
Another Soho institution, the Comedy Store played a huge part in the rise of the alternative comedy scene in the 80s. Stars like French and Saunders, and Adrian Edmondson used this stage as a testing ground before gaining mainstream success. Today, there is stand-up from prominent comedians, as well as current affairs-based shows from ‘The Cutting Edge’ every Tuesday, and weekly improv nights.
1a Oxendon Street, Soho, SW1Y 4EE
THE COVENT GARDEN COMEDY CLUB
Celebrating its 18th birthday in 2020, this is one of London’s largest and most successful independent comedy venues, with over 200 seats. Set within nightclub Heaven, its stage has been graced by the likes of Jack Whitehall, Michael McIntyre, Jimmy Carr and Rhod Gilbert. Lively and fun, this one is ideal for a special occasion or night out with friends.
The Arches, Villiers Street, Covent Garden, WC2N 6NG
THE TOP SECRET COMEDY CLUB
Not so secret anymore… A cheap bar and catalogue of celebrity acts has proved to be a winning combination for the Top Secret Comedy Club. A no-frills, unpretentious attitude gives it great appeal. Set underneath an inconspicuous restaurant on Drury Lane, it has a dance floor, in case you’re stopping out.
170 Drury Lane, Holborn, WC2B 5PD
THE 99 COMEDY CLUB
Over the last decade, the 99 has garnered rave reviews and numerous awards. With a prime location in Leicester Square, it’s slightly more expensive than neighbouring clubs, but worth the admission price. If you’re a fan of shows like Mock The Week and Have I Got News For You, you’re in for a treat – guests from both of them regularly appear here.
Ruby Blue, 1 Leicester Place, Leicester Square, WC2H 7BP