Gallery: Are these the top 10 live music venues in Ipswich?

Isaacs on the Quay, Ipswich.

Isaacs on the Quay, Ipswich.

With a whole host of local bands on the Ipswich gig scene, and any number of regular live music and open mic nights going on at pubs and cafes, there’s a real appetite for local music in the town.

Each summer, this talent comes together to create the annual Ipswich Music Day, the largest free one0day music event in the UK.

Despite the town’s lack of dedicated venues, small pub venues have been keeping the live music scene alive.

Here then Jason Noble chooses 10 of the best.

The Swan, King Street


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A favourite among Ipswich pubgoers, the charistmatic bar is often packed out on a gig night, and particularly noted for its annual display of local talent at the three-day Swanfest in July, which has become a mainstay in the Suffolk music calendar. Committed visitors to will fondly remember the display of photos of bands to have played in the pub, including a then-up-and-coming Mumford and Sons.

The Spread Eagle, Fore Street

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Situated on the corner of Fore Street and Eagle Street, The Spread Eagle’s charming rustic feel is perfect for the regular open mic nights and acoustic evenings it holds. With a schedule of live music most nights of the week, the pub has become a dependable location for those looking for a local band on a weeknight, with a particular highlight being the blues jam nights on Wednesdays.

The Grinning Rat, St Helen’s Street

The Grinning Rat hosts regular open mic nights and has become a favourite for metal gigs in the town. With a packed schedule of local bands, and run by local music enthusiasts, it is an ideal place to see some of Ipswich’s best rock and metal bands, as well as up and coming talent.

Cult Cafe, University Avenue

Having set up at the hub of the Ipswich Waterfront, Cult Cafe has established itself as a prime location for Friday night live music. The popular cafe draws in up and coming touring bands combined with local musicians for a unique alternative to the other pub and club nights going on around the town.

The Steamboat Tavern, New Cut West

The Steamboat Tavern has long been held in high regard by music lovers and gigging artists alike. Holding gigs across all genres from folk and blues to rock and metal, the friendly atmosphere and keen support for the arts have made the pub a mainstay. Gigs in the height of summer in the outdoor domed stage are a particular treat.

It is famed for hosting Ed Sheeran during the early days of his music career,

The Mulberry Tree, Woodbridge Road

Despite several name changes over the last few years which included stints as The Beer House and The Milestone, The Mulberry Tree is nevertheless known as an energetic live music pub. Holding open mic nights and regular blues and folk jam nights, the Mulberry Tree works hard to keep a full schedule of events on every week.

Isaacs on the Quay, Wherry Quay

One of the bigger bars in Ipswich, Isaacs on the Quay has helped support artists from all disciplines including DJs, singer songwriters, cover bands and original artists. Rarely a weekend passes without some of Suffolk’s talent making waves.

The Plough, Dogs Head Street

The Plough has built up a reputation of hosting good quality cover bands thanks to a committed schedule. The weekend music regularly sees the bar packed as it becomes the soundtrack to all your favourite songs.

PJ McGinty & Sons, Northgate Street

McGinty’s is a charming space for lively music events. As one of Ipswich’s oldest pubs it is a popular gathering point for lovers of the arts. The pub provides an eclectic mix of music including metal nights and jam sessions.

Dance Eats, Foundry Lane

While it may not have the packed schedules of other places across the town, the link-up between Dance Eats cafe and Grapevine Live has made it a charming venue for gigs. Staying open late on performance nights, Dance Eats gig nights offer a chilled out weekend performance specialising in acoustic acts.

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