Rough Trade East, Brick Lane, London

Even if you don’t own a record player you could spend hours trawling through the vinyl at Rough Trade East. And with lots of free gigs and a cafe, there’s plenty to make you stay here all day long.


31-33 Spear St, Manchester M1 1DF


If you want to see the buzziest new acts in a basement, head to Soup Kitchen. It’s a canteen and bar by day but it’s what happens after dark that has made this place famous with DJs, local indie bands, international acts and more all passing through. It’s busy but it’s one of the best spots in town.


135 Grosvenor St, Manchester M1 7HE


Another Grade-II listed rescue job from Trof, The Deaf Institute is a three-floor one-stop shop…basement drinking den downstairs, a vegan-heavy kitchen and main bar on the ground floor, and music hall, complete with disco ball and tiered seating (which can get a little tricky to navigate after a few bevs), up top. The Deaf Institute is where hip-hop night Gold Teeth started and it’s still going strong, as is the live programme, which has featured the likes of Lewis Del Mar, RY X, Honeyblood and Gengahr.


27 Peter St, City Centre, Manchester M2 5QR


Formerly a Methodist chapel, now a live music venue, the Grade-II listed Albert Hall…pipe organ and stained-glass windows intact…has to be one of the most beautiful concert spaces in the city. The Trof team who resurrected the place have certainly made the most of it with a diverse musical programme that spans indie icons, Ibiza club nights, and a whole load of good stuff in between. If you’ve not got a ticket for a show, fun can still be had on the ground floor in Albert’s Schloss.


54-56 Whitworth St W, Manchester M1 5WW


We find railway arches always make great venues and Gorilla, tucked underneath the Whitworth Street West tracks, is no exception. The 700-capacity performance space holds everything from live gigs to club nights to film screenings and everyone from Bill Ryder-Jones to Pete Tong to The Grinch. It’s even got old BBC gear from the Oxford Road site on the walls. And because doing just one thing is boring, Gorilla is also home to an all-day restaurant and a Gin Parlour, so you can eat, drink and party all under one roof.


64 Tib St, Manchester M4 1LW


Another local institution, Matt & Phred’s hosts gigs six nights a week so you’ll never be short of live music, and in such an intimate space it’s a real treat. Matt & Phred’s is mainly known for jazz but the shows span electro, ska, folk and world music, and with free entry Monday to Thursday, it’s well worth dropping in…you never know who you might discover.


25 Swan St, Manchester M4 5JZ


Band On The Wall turned from pub to jazz club in the mid-seventies and, aside from a brief closure and refurb, has never looked back. Live music, particularly jazz, is still at the heart of the venue…if you get a chance to see local band Riot Jazz live here, do it….but it also hosts club nights and gigs ranging from drum & bass to folk to world music, so the sound system always gets a workout.


5a Stevenson Square, Northern Quarter, Manchester M1 1DN


If you’re a vinyl purist and into electronic music, Eastern Bloc is the record shop for you. They’ve been breaking dance music since the late 80s and their selection covers the spectrum from deep house to drum & bass. Plus they’ve got a cafe in the front so you can enjoy a cuppa and some cake whilst you’re having a browse. The party continues after dark with a late-night bar and regular in-store DJ sessions and flowing booze after dark.


53 Oldham St, Manchester M1 1JR


Established in 1978 and in its current NQ location since 1997, Piccadilly Records really knows what it’s doing. Consistently voted one of the best record stores in the country, even the world, the selection is unsurprisingly excellent, with everything from indie to house to disco and any other genre you can think of. And the staff really, really know their stuff. If you need records, this is where you come.


211 Stockwell Rd, SW9 9SL

Another of Brixton’s iconic landmarks, the Brixton Academy was built in 1929, starting out in life as a theatre. Since then it’s been reopened (in fact, it’s currently closed – here’s more info on that) many different times under many different names but has never lost its musical roots. The venue has had many a legend pass through its doors, including The Smiths, Madonna, The Clash, The Prodigy and the Sex Pistols to name but a few, and is likely to see many more in the future. Rock on!


Carrer Nou de Sant Francesc, 5, 08002 Barcelona

A former flamenco bar turned club, La Macarena is a real underground gem. Tucked away down a side street off Las Ramblas, it has a capacity of just 80 people and the DJ booth is bang in the middle of the floor. Yes, you may find yourself falling on top of the DJ, but the music programming always cutting-edge, the atmosphere is great and the sound is top notch.


La Terrrazza is the kind of venue you’d only get in Barcelona…an open-air club in the Poble Espanyol architectural village on top of the Montjuïc mountain. And yes, the views on the way up are something special. Designed like a Majorcan manor house and host to some of the biggest DJs and club nights, it’s a real mix of old and new. Given that there’s no roof, it’s only open during the summer season, and is home to some of the biggest nights during Sonar, with London’s very own secretsundaze taking over the terrace year after year.


6400 Sunset Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90028, United States


Amoeba Records in Hollywood is a must for music fans. Escape the heat and explore a fountain of musical greatness, but be careful as it might just be dark when you decide to leave.