Helen True from music blog For Folk’s Sake chooses her 5 secret London spots

Posted at 6:00 pm, December 9, 2011 in Secret London, Top 5
For Folk's Sake music blog  it's Christmas 2011 charity Christmas CD

Following fashion expert Millie Cotton’s recommendations for great places to find in London last week, we are moving on to some more musical spots. For Folk’s Sake is a music blog that focuses on great songs with an allegiance to folk, and though their writers are based all over the UK they have a rather strong knowledge of London, particularly when it comes to gig venues. Find out which their Live Editor Helen True recommends below.


‘We’re not entirely sure how secret any of these places are, not least because we’re not detectives and we found them all unaided.  They are consistently great, they’re in London, and they’re not on major roads.  That’s as secret as we get.  You’ll notice that live music is available at most of these joints, and that’s no accident.  If we can get a bit of cake or a lovely pint with our glorious music, we’re very happy indeed.

The Gallery Cafe
With the added benefit of serving vegetarian and vegan main meals, coffee and cake, The Gallery Cafe is a pretty, friendly little charity-run venue in Bethnal Green which also does a high-calibre line in live music and film nights. We saw Sea of Bees here once, which was superb.

The Water Poet
Not one for live music, but this pub is massive and down a side street, which means it’s never quite as rammed as the more obvious pubs around Shoreditch and Spitalfields. They’ve got multiple big screens for sporting events, a pool table, regular film screenings downstairs, and loads of covered, heated outdoor space.

Cafe Oto
A brilliant independent cafe and a quiet hive of cultural activity – gigs, poetry readings and all manner of other live performance take place here.  They serve loads of different teas, cake and other delicious items and they’re always enormously friendly.  We saw Rachael Dadd here in July.

Brixton Cornercopia
These people can make anything look delicious.  A hyper-local restaurant with deli attached, there’s a clear focus on the local, with most produce sourced within Brixton and South London more generally.  They’re closed on Mondays and Tuesdays for pie and pickle making, but on every other day of the week you’d do well to pay them a visit.

The Betsey Trotwood
A teensy tiny pub in Farringdon with a great underground room perfect for small gigs, with pretty nooks for hiding in.  We’ve put on a few Allotment shows here in the past, and recommend the food and service very highly indeed. It’s also just far enough from tube stations to never be rammed full of people, in spite of being thoroughly beautiful.’ Ashleigh Arnott

Find For Folk’s Sake on Twitter and Facebook or visit www.forfolkssake.com.  

Their Christmas album (pictured above), which features tracks from The Leisure Society and Caitlin Rose, is currently on sale here, with all proceeds going to charity.

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