Top 6 Indie Venues in Southampton

Top 6 Indie Venues in Southampton

Punters at The Alex enjoying the selection of retro gaming. (Photo by Alice Penney)

With a constant turnover of young adults moving to Southampton, a lot of quirky “hipster” hangouts are now in high demand.

Whether you love old vinyl, (Vinolo record store is the place for you), or prefer to pick up some “wavey garms “at beatnik emporium, you have come to the right place. There are many hidden gems around the city that I feel need some more gratification for their hard work.

The Art House

Southampton’s very own hippie hideout, the art house caters for vegetarians and vegans alike with a spectacular heavily plant based organic menu.

The art house hosts many events, including poetry classes, regular acoustic nights, and art groups. This place is an all-rounder for creative types.

Adele Smith said “The Art House is a wonderful, warm and colourful cafe with a friendly and creative atmosphere! Their amazing events run most nights and the food and drinks there are delicious! I love that it’s such a supportive place for people to express themselves in any way possible – be that art, music, poetry… or just being! Beautiful staff, cosy and cute venue and just the best cafe in Southampton in my opinion! Magic happens here!

The Alex

Oh the beloved Alex, my second home. A nerdy haven full of Star Wars merchandise, old school games consoles, tasty pint cocktails and to top it off it’s an intimate independent gig venue, being able to hold a crowd of 140.

The venue often hosts an array of raw local talent with weekly open mic nights and successful local bands playing regularly, including hip hop collective Route2Roots and the sassy female trio The Lounge Kittens.

Nancy Ashcroft a multimedia journalism student said “I like the Alex because of the atmosphere. It just feels like the kind of place you can have any kind of night you want, and the live music is always really great to just listen to over a few beers, but it’s also a great place to see small bands”.


The newest of all the venues in the city, this is definitely not one to miss! In the 6 months of it being open, heartbreakers has grown a massive following, striving to support local talent, and provide the city with a vibe that was somewhat lacking. The late-night bar, with Instagram worthy neon décor, regularly hosts gigs, with three or four events each week.

Lauren Richardson said “Great tunes, great decor, great cocktails! Had a fab night here, it was so good that I forgot I was in Southampton. So pleased there’s now somewhere decent to go out when I’m back home. Can’t wait to return!”

The Bookshop Alehouse

The venue name really hits the nail on the head with this one. A quirky micro pub “library” some could say. The staff definitely know their stuff about the ales which is refreshing. With different beers being put on all the time, there is always something new to try.

Sam Morrisby said “It’s a really cosy place, the rustic furniture made out of pallets is different but I really like it. It’s a second-hand bookstore so you can just read anything on the shelf when you are there. The staff let you bring your own food in too which is pretty cool.”

Amongst all this, the pub recently became crowned the Regional runner up for Wessex and Channel Islands at the National pub of the year award hosted by CAMERA. (Campaign for real ale)

The Frog & Frigate

What a pub! If you want to let your hair down and dance on the tables to indie-rock classics, then look no further! The pub located opposite Ocean Village is the perfect hangout for alternative types, with live bands often playing too.

The drinks are dirt cheap and the staff are more than happy to let you enjoy your time to the full potential.

Borgar Thorisson a music production student said “I used to go there almost every week and I’ve had some great nights there. For a small club it’s surprisingly big and you always feel like you know everyone there.”


Mettricks is a family run independent chain of cosy coffee shops with a creative twist. Both branches in the city centre are available to host live music, with the Guildhall branch hosting regular Jazz nights. The menu is impeccable too with 2-for-1 cocktails, vegan options and decent priced food. Mettricks really is the full package.

Richard Lloyd-Williams said “I love this place. Actually, love both locations in town. Great coffee, lovely staff and great food! Always a friendly atmosphere and full of cool people enjoying themselves.”

All I can say now is, why are you still sitting here reading this? Go, get out and experience one of Southampton’s hidden gems

Originally written by: Alice Penny