The best clubs across the country to hit when you want to strut your funky stuff, come awn!
Ah, indie clubs. The stench of stale snakebite, the roar of ‘The Only One I Know’, the romantic intermingling of mad-for-it Oasis fan and Tranquility Base sophisticate. A place of dreams and possibilities – and quite a lot of Blur – but where can you find the very best? Follow our guide to the best of the UK’s indie cubs, and you’ll be pogoing clean out of your Converse to ‘A Punk’ in no time. Missed your favourite? Drop us a line on Twitter!
Pressure at Rescue Rooms
The history: Rescue Rooms has been a bastion of Nottingham alternative music since time immemorial, and this weekly Tuesday night bash is where local heroes D.I.D. (formerly known as Dog Is Dead before, we can only assume, they got a new dog) pump out indie, rock and party faves while hip-hop heads are catered to in the upstairs bar.
What they play: Old school bangers from The Smiths, New Order, Prince and Blondie alongside more modern treats from Alt-J, Arctic Monkeys and Bombay Bicycle Club.
What they say: “Nottingham’s top-notch house-party hot-spot.”
Dirty Dancefloors at 42’s
The history: Formerly known as Slack Alice, the low-ceilinged indie nirvana that is 42’s was something of a ‘60s legend, now retooled for the millennials with a range of nights for all alternative tastes. Chief amongst which is the weekly Friday party Dirty Dancefloors.
What they play: Indie, rock, dance and “cheese”, which to these chart-averse types will generally mean ‘Teenage Dirtbag’.
What they say: “A friendly nightclub for friendly people. We play alternative music with a nod to Manchester’s past and an ear in the future.”
Sonic at The Leadmill
The history: A Sheffield institution, the Saturday night post-gig indie shindig at the legendary Leadmill now goes by the title Sonic, having dropped the Boom when somebody, presumably, shook shook the room.
What they play: An ever-evolving indie and rock playlist, which now includes Wolf Alice, Slaves and Rat Boy amidst the classic ‘00s and Britpop names.
What they say: “Make sure you do your Saturday night right at SONIC!, with the best music in town. From Arctic Monkeys all the way through to The Stone Roses.” Because chronology doesn’t matter when you’re pissed.
This Feeling at Monarch/Water Rats
The history: A club night championing future rock’n’roll and tipped by the likes of Kasabian and Noel Gallagher, This Feeling has branched out from straight-up East London club-and-band nights to put on national tours of upcoming acts, start a radio programme and even its own TV show.
What they play: Ladrock anthems in all their many hues, plus rising guitar rock.
What they say: “The UK’s most rock’n’roll night out, where to see the next big things first.”
Antidotes at Old Blue Last
The history: Shifting to the Old Blue from Birthdays in Dalston, the monthly Antidotes has hosted secret gigs from the likes of The Cribs over the past five years and maintained an eclectic alternative edge that has made it the go-to indie cult club in London.
What they play: The cutting edge alt-rock sounds of Pond, Tame Impala, Fat White Family and The Big Moon alongside indie rock classics and new bands as on-the-ball as Canshaker Pi, Black Honey and The Magic Gang.
What they say: Antidotes don’t need to blow their own trumpet.
Rehab at Snobs
The history: Four years ago, after 40 years in Paradise Circus, the long-running Birmingham indie rock retreat relocated to Smallbrook Queensway at a cost of £2 million. And they told you rock was dead, eh London?
What they play: Friday night down Rehab is a revolving cast of specials, with retro nights, Britpop monthlies and guilty pleasures taking over the middle room while everything from The 1975 to Arctic Monkeys and Kanye gets pumped out downstairs.
What they say: “If you like Indie Beats mixed with Funky & Retro stuff then welcome to Heaven.”
Camden Rocks at Firewater
The history: Firewater has been hosting some of Sauchiehall Street’s rowdiest aftershows since 2001, and now holds Glasgow’s dedicated indie rock party every Thursday, in tribute to the Home Of Britpop.
What they play: Who cares? It’s 89p for a shot of vodka.
What they say: “Best indie student club night in Glasgow!”
Propaganda at The Liquid Room
The history: Started by DJ Dan at Bristol University, Propaganda grew to become the UK’s biggest alternative club brand, with nights across the country drawing 25,000 a week. Edinburgh’s branch is a fine example, with its parties themed around pirates, dinosaurs, unicorns and other such fantastical nonsense.
What they play: Libs, Wolf Alice, White Stripes, Florence, all the indie big hitters.
What they say: “Your rock’n’roll party every Friday”.
Bigmouth at The Key Club
The history: There are big boots for this newcomer to Leeds’ alt-night scene to fill, since the city’s Kaiser-led ‘00s indie explosion was one of the loudest in the country.
What they play: Modern indie and pop – think Lorde rubbing up against Dream Wife. Now stop thinking that, you pervert.
What they say: “INDIE BANGERS! EVERY WEDNESDAY!” Can’t argue with that.
Hey Scenesters! at The Head Of Steam
The history: Another brand new night helping spark rumours of a nationwide indie club revival after its first edition earlier this year hit capacity by midnight.
What they play: A pretty thorough summary of the past two decades of alt-rock, including Future Islands, Catfish, Chvrches and Royal Blood amongst the major indie rock names of the century thus far.
What they say: “The 00s wave is our bedrock whilst also dipping into the classics as well as the current generation of torchbearers.”
Electric Fridays at Sugarmill
The history: Indie thrills have been pumping out of Staffordshire’s indie Sugar Daddy every Friday night since Alex Turner was knee high to a martini policeman. Plus all-nighters once a month.
What they play: Since one of the club’s lead Facebook photos is the one of Arctic Moneys dressed as country gents, assume they’re pretty fearless in playing all the latest indie tunes.
What they say: “Electric will always play the very best in cutting edge independent music (electronic or guitar) whilst never forgetting its Britpop roots.”
Pressure at Thekla
The history: Rocking Bristol’s famed boat-based disco Thekla every Thursday for almost ten years, Pressure is a Brizzle indie institution, with a punk rock and metal room up in the ship’s cabin.
What they play: A broad-minded lot this – their facebook mentions James Blake, SBTRKT, best Coast and The Killers in the same sentence.
What they say: “Expect the finest cuts from the contemporary counter-culture, indie bangers and alternative classics, plus some curve-balls to keep things interesting!”