Hackney top 6: best free music nights

London’s a funny one. Some days, the cost of something as simple as a coffee can literally make your eyes water. And others, it’s hard to believe what’s completely fabulous, totally gratis, and right on your doorstep. Dry your eyes folks, and check out our top 6 places to catch free live music in Hackney.

The Haggerston

Sunday ‘Jazz at the Hagg’ with guitarist Alan Weekes’ band is a long-running institution that has been bringing the house down weekly for years. Traditional blues-infused jazz and superb musicianship, with hot guitar, drum, sax and trumpet solos.

Auld Shillelagh

An authentic Irish boozer with boisterous live folk nights every other Friday and Saturday; squeeze into the narrow space, grab a pint of well-pulled Guinness, and join in the fun.

Mascara Bar

The Mascara Bar hosts live jazz on Sunday nights, and a jazz jam every Tuesday: feel free to bring along your sax and join in.

Old Blue Last

This handsome Shoreditch pub has hosted Hot Chip, Lily Allen and the Arctic Monkeys – plus a surprise appearance by Kylie Minogue. There’s live music upstairs practically every night.

Shacklewell Arms

Well-curated programme of indie gigs seven nights a week in a characterfully shabby boozer – and they’re nearly always free of charge.

Little Baobab

This neighbourhood restaurant serves healthy Senegalese and European food, plus a generous side-serving of beautiful free West African music (Tues–Sun).