Union Chapel, Compton Avenue, N1 2XD (map)
Tel: 020 7226 3750
Nearest Tube : Highbury & Islington
Best pub for a pre-gig drink: The Hen & Chickens is a nice boozer with a theatre upstairs. Alternatively The Library is a reasonable pub exactly opposite the Union Chapel on Upper St.
The Union Chapel is: A 1926 Bentley
Interesting fact: As well as remaining a fully functioning church, the Union Chapel is also a charity helping the capital's homeless, and an award-winning live venue which has played host to acts including Tom Jones and Elton John.
Buy tickets for the Union Chapel
Directions to the Union Chapel: Come out of Highbury & Islington underground station. Turn right and walk 2 minutes up Upper Street. Union Chapel is on your left.
Union Chapel Venue Guide
The Union Chapel is one of London's most characterful venues. A typical gig here involves sitting on a church pew (bring a jacket or jumper for a cushion if you suffer from piles), drinking tea from a slightly chipped mug whilst enjoying an unplugged set in one of London's most beautiful churches.
As you enter the Union Chapel you can literally grab a pew and wait for the gig (seating here is unreserved) or you can head back to the back of the church where there is a full licensed bar on the first floor. The bar also serves homecooked hot food, with proceeds going to help the Chapel's The Margins Project. No alcoholic drinks are allowed in the chapel, but you can buy hot drinks, soft drinks, ice cream and snacks from the kiosk in the chapel foyer.
The interior of the church is beautiful, with the ground floor being a large octagonal shape with a balcony wrapped around above, all stone arches, stained glass windows and the like. The domed ceiling and stone walls mean the acoustics are superb, and every act I have seen here sounded fantastic. I would recommend getting here early enough to get a seat downstairs, as you feel a little bit further away from it all upstairs. Bands play from the stage as if preaching to the congregation.
This is not a venue for home comforts - there is smoking allowed in an alleyway through teh back of the venue, which is also where the portaloos are, but for atmosphere it cannot be beaten.
I love this place! Seeing a gig here is like a religious experience.
Bombay Bicycle Club at the Union Chapel
The view from the balcony at the Union Chapel
Bombay Bicycle Club do an acoustic set at the Union Chapel