The Water Rats information

Water Rats is a great live music venue. With regular nights from a whole host of bands, the Water Rats is the best place to go to hear hot new talent, whilst getting a good pint.

Ranked #134 of 2091 pubs & bars in London
"History The site of The Water Rats, has had an impressive legacy as a music venue, but also as a location of historical importance and interest. In December 1962, Bob Dylan made his debut UK performance at the venue. Twenty years later in October 1982 The Pogues (then known as the Pogue Mahones) had their first performance here, Oasis, Katy Perry also appeared here prior to international success. More recently both Marc Almond and Toyah Wilcox have been on stage to an enthusiastic audience who were very happy to be involved in the shows which were filmed by Vintage TV We are happy to say that with it's re-opening in October 2015 under new ownership, after a complete restoration, redecoration and in some places a full rebuild we can proceed to give it a great future, as well as a great past. Previously known as “The Pindar of Wakefield”, originally built in 1517, on the opposite side of the road, it shared it's name with the Pinder of Wakefield (a person whose job was to impound stray animals), supposedly connected with Robin Hood mythology. Having been badly damaged in a thunderstorm in 1793 it was rebuilt at it's current site. The existing building, built in 1878 was once patronised by both Vladimir Lenin and Karl Marx (who apparently boarded in in one of the rooms above). Both were figures, whose ideologies were greatly influential in world affairs throughout the twentieth century, and still resonate now. We serve food from Breakfast to Dinner, have a Cocktail Specials between 4.30pm - 7.30pm Monday to Thursday - offer FREE Wifi - you can even play board games with friends and colleagues whilst you wait to catch your train at the local station of Kings Cross We do a great Sunday Lunch - hold Comedy Events, have new talent appearing on stage in an intimate room where you can really 'feel' the music and atmosphere - come and experience it - you can even drop in just for a cup of tea!"

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Opening Hours
Opening Hours

08:15 - 00:00


08:15 - 00:00


08:15 - 00:00


08:15 - 00:00


08:15 - 01:00


08:15 - 01:00


08:15 - 00:00

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What did you think of The Water Rats?

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The Water Rats reviews

By Andrew M.

Water Rats in Clerkenwell is an ideal place to go to if you are wanting to watch some fairly raw bands play. I've been going to Water Rats for a number of years now and can honestly say I don't like it as a pub but as a live venue it's pretty good. Good prices for booze too!

By J.

I went to see a jazz band play at Water Rats a while ago and I had an excellent night, the ale on tap at the Water Rat is also rather lovely.

By Steve L.

Fantastic refurbishment

Re opened November 2015 after a full refurbishment. Well worth a visit with people like Marc Almond and Toyah Willcox playing.

By Zsjk K.

Great place to meet up with friends

This place changes throughout the day, mornings are totally different to the evenings when live entertainment is on offer - had a club sandwich the other day with a glass of wine for a quick lunch, lovely place to sit and enjoy my meal, clean, well decorated with pleasant staff to serve

By Grayrat S.

Iconic, historic live music venue, comedy, theatre, kitchen all available also

The Water Rats is under new management and ownership and has undergone a complete restoration, refurbishment and in some places a rebuilt - best known as a live music venue, has a huge history - come down and visit us to discover more

By Alison C.

A great concert venue!! The space is intimate, the sound is good, and if you're a fanatic you can get really close to the performers. I liked that the bar was in a separate area away from the stage. I hate nothing more than going to a concert and having to listen to the the people at the bar talk instead of being able to hear the music I paid for. The venue has a meticulous soundman who really knows his stuff, and cares about getting a great mix out of everything. The sound in the venue is simply fantastic. It's wonderful and small and you can pretty much guarantee that who ever plays there will be great. In general you will not see a bad band here. I saw a great show there Karen Elson (aka Ms. Jack White) for £6 and I was about 2 feet from an amazing artist. The acoustics were fantastic, the view was great, and the staff was organized and friendly. Highly Recommended

By Ellen N.

A GREAT SMALL VENUE about 3 minutes walk from Kings Cross. A two room space, Water Rats often plays host to 4 bands a night, with totally different audiences going in and out of the gig room as each act finishes. You go through the pub to get to the medium sized, dark room. I remember going here many years ago to see my friend's (now defunkt) band and the place hasn't changed at all! Apparently it's always busy here which is good and the crowd are really welcoming to all the bands - even if they're not that great! Chatty bar staff, loud music, normal pub prices. The pub in the front is lively and friendly. It's one of the most consistent places to see better than average live music. In my opinion it has the best room in London. The sound is consistently great, the stage is decent sized and the club's intimate size allows unobstructed views for anyone willing to stand. Their management does a great job of finding some really great local acts and a lot of smaller tours stop there. The bar is a little small, but who cares the music is what its all about. Great place to see up and comings.

By Alex D.

My band was booked to play at the Water Rats. We turned up and were told we wouldn't be allowed to play unless we'd brought 40 guests (which, considering it was our first gig, is a bit unreasonable); that our guests would be charged £8 a head to get in (no guest list); that our time slot had been pushed back from 11:00PM to 11:50PM because some of the bands are friends with the manager; and moreover that they might not even let us play at all. During all of this the staff were incredibly rude and short-tempered. Just because we're an unsigned band who are just starting out doesn't mean that venues should treat us like second-class citizens that they can mess around however they like.

By Amber T.

I love Monto Water Rats. Who doesn't? If you don't love it, there's something wrong with you. This is one of the few remaining classic live music venues. It specializes in intimate performances by well known acts -- it's a respectable place to play and has a good sound system, but only fits about 200 people in the main room and is often sold out. I've never caught a bad concert at this place; that could possibly be owed to Monto's great staff, intimate atmosphere and excellent recognition of up-and-coming acts. It's everything a live-music venue should be: unpretentious, affordable, and a stepping stone venue for artists with growing fan bases and/or a change of pace for artists who will bounce between Monto Water Rats and the next-level venues (like The Scala around the corner). If you're lucky enough to have a band you like sign up for a gig at this venue, jump at the chance.

By Tony A.

Been here a few times and really like it. The sound is great, the space is perfect to ensure a great atmosphere and there are always lots of acts on with lots of genres available to choose from. Sometimes you can come across some great acts you weren't expecting. Last Saturday Basement Nation were sensational and they were only kids supporting the main act. The songs were superb and the water rats allowed us to see them at their best because the set up is so good. I'll be back again and again, hopefully finding more gems like Basement Nation

By Tanya C.

Monto Water Rats! One of my favourite places in london to catch A concert. This is a pretty good music venue! Lots of standing room and a stage big enough to host the typical local or independent band of musicians. I can't stress enough how important it is to have standing room at music venues because fans (like yours truly) love to get way up in the front to be able to see the sweat run down a lead singer's brow. Overall, this was a really cool place to see a show. This may be one of my top favorite venues in London. Small, artists I like come to Water Rats for under £8. Shows sell out fast, so I recommend you buy your tickets early. I guess any venue where you can turn around and see the bar is a win. If you are up front you are up against the stage (if you are in the right spots). Artists seem to interact with the crowd more here.? After the show, enjoy a few drinks. The artist usually comes out and you can chat them up/take pictures/whatever gets you excited.

By Tamara P.

I *L* O* V* E* THIS PLACE! It's cool without the stuck up attitudes you get @ other bars. It's a great place to see a concert of indie bands. The woman working the door was friendly and allowed me to come in from the cold and wait until the show started. The staff were also friendly. The concert space is a decent sise, not too claustophobic, an intimate setting of sorts.?? As I said ...I love this place! If you have never seen a show there, you have to go in for one. For music lovers, the experience is raw and in your face. I love going there, and I will always come back from time to time.

By Lucy B.

We went there to see a concert but had no idea what kind of place we were going to. When we got there we were at bit surprised to find that it was just a pub! We walked in and found the place to be a very charming pub with friendly staff and lots atmosphere. We then found out that the concert room was in the back. We walked up and found a room with a stage, lots of lights and a bar. Concert was great (Patrick Stump from Fall Out Boy!!), and the intimacy of the place (you stand right next to the band) made it even better. Highly recommended :)

By Lucy B.

We went there to see a concert but had no idea what kind of place we were going to. When we got there we were at bit surprised to find that it was just a pub! We walked in and found the place to be a very charming pub with friendly staff and lots atmosphere. We then found out that the concert room was in the back area We walked up and found a cool room with a stage, lots of lights and a bar. Concert was great (patrick Stump ex Fall Out Boy!, and the intimacy of the place (you stand right next to the band) made it even better. Highly recommended :)

By Stani S.

Rude staff! Went to the gig last night and couldnt believe how rude they were. After the gig they basically told the band to get the hell out of there cos they wanted to close while the band was packing their gear. They manage to insult them as well. Maybe the fact that staff was drunk didnt help. One of them claimed that she owns the pub but with her poor people skills she should stay as far as possible from the premises. Overall great gig that was spoiled by two drunken barmaids! Stay away from the place!

By Ray R.

The Water Rats is one of my favourite places to go and have a drink and watch a band.

Though it has got more expensive to get in recently it is still a great night out.

In the summer the tables outside are a good place to hang out between bands and have a drink whilst watching the world go by.

The sound is excellent.

By Jafar H.

I went to the water rats with a few mates a couple of months ago for a drink and maybe check out a few bands. There were a couple of same old indie bands with skinny jeans and floppy hair that sounded a lot like the killers, but the sound in there is terrific. The headline band were called Blue Condition, the highlight of the evening. They sounded a lot like cream or hendrix. Shows you can get a few surprises at this place.

By Jafar H.

Water Rats is something of an enigma; by day it’s a very quiet, very ordinary pub, but come the evening it transforms into a music venue exhibiting the best of London’s emerging musical talent. This tiny but legendary venue has hosted the likes of Bob Dylan and Oasis, so this is the place to be if you want to catch a glimpse of the next big thing.

The Venue
Grays Inn Road is one of the less popular avenues in Kings Cross for a night out as it lacks the bars and clubs of Pentonville Road and the restaurants of Caledonian Road; however, Water Rats helps to bring some much needed sparkle to this often overlooked area.

Virtually empty in the day, evenings here radically transform Water Rats into a buzzing live music mecca, although it does retain the nice touches of its daytime facade such as the red curtains, TV screens and cabinets displaying various rock memorabilia. Due to the small stage and cosy standing area things can get very intimate, allowing fans to feel the live music as it was meant to be felt. The sound is fantastic and betters many of the bigger, more established music venues across London. The only problem is, if it’s a full house there’s restricted viewing, although this doesn’t matter too much thanks to the bands being so close to the audience.

The Atmosphere
When the music promoters arrive, Water Rats is lit up by funky red lampshades and the entrance is paved with red carpet as DJs spin tunes whilst the bands set up. From its quite bleak and ordinary look in the day, there is a very trendy, lively bar atmosphere in the evening. However, it does occasionally falter when it comes to the turnout as most punters are friends and relatives of the bands, although the bar staff help to add a friendly edge to proceedings.

The Music
Most evenings see four or five indie rock bands playing with a few acoustic acts opening each night. The live music scene in London is thriving with raw talent but only bands on the way up play here, so expect far more polished performances than the ones you’ll catch at your local pub.

From time to time more recognised acts play the Water Rats such as Kate Nash and Just Jack and more recently Black Kids and Newton Faulkner, so it’s a good idea to keep an eye on their listings.

The Food
Water Rats is rarely busy in the day so the kitchen staff sometimes leave well before the music starts, so if you plan to eat it’s recommended you get here before 4pm. A small selection of sandwiches and baguettes are available as well as typical pub grub such as burgers, steak, and sausages and mash ranging in price from £5-£10.

The Drink
Drinks are a little over £3 and there is a decent range of beers available such as Leffe lager and Spitfire real ale amongst the more popular selections such as Kronenbourg and Guinness. The wines and spirit choices could be wider but music fans are hardly going to be deterred by a lack of their favourite South African red. Unlike many music venues, all drinks are served in glasses and can be taken into the music area.

The Last Word
Entry to most nights is £6, and depending on the bands and the turnout it could feel like a bargain or a slight letdown. Nevertheless, Water Rats is one of the better small music venues in London and it takes a significant place in the city’s rock music history.

By April R.

I went to Water Rats a few weeks ago to see Puggy and although they were great as were most of the support acts a few words of warning: its a pretty grimmy venue, theres nowhere to put your coat/layers not even clean safe looking corner and take some change 'cause last time I was there the bar ran out of change although I did get a free drink out of it after waiting about 20 minutes.

By C.

Water Rats is really, really grimy but it's also one of the best places to see live music. The bar staff at Water Rats do killer shots too.

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