I love it here! I especially loved drinking tea whilst watching the gig! lol.
The Union Chapel
Compton Terrace, London N1 2UN
- Highbury & Islington Station (0.1 km)
- Caledonian Road Station (1.0 km)
- Canonbury Railway Station (0.8 km)
- Caledonian Road & Barnsbury Station (1.1 km)
- Contact us:
+44 0207 226 1686
25 reviews of The Union Chapel in English
Islington’s lovely Union Chapel is, in fact, first and foremost a beautiful church. Its round chapel area also happens to host frequent performances by acoustic indie stars, secret gigs by megastars like U 2, and a certain breed of folk-rock singer-songwriter. I saw some great acts on the night.
It's seating only, with long, church pews. Artists perform up on the stage, as if preaching to the crowd. You're never far from the performer, which makes it feel very intimate. The acoustics are amazing as well, like many churches. The interior is beautiful (again, as you'd expect from a church), and it really adds a feeling of importance and grandiosity to the show.
There is a café room on one side, and toilets on the other, but don't expect all the comfort and concessions of a purpose-built theatre or music hall. It is, simply, an ornate place of worship that recognises there are things besides the divine that are praiseworthy.
This place is a pleasant surprise I must say-I went here to see Courtney Pine play and the acosutics are pretty amazing given the fact it was a chapel and you are sitting in pews just liek a sunday school event. You can even get a cup of tea in the side hall and no alcohol is allowed in the venue itself.
I went to see a gig here and it was just stunning!!! I LOVED it – plus I could buy a proper mug of tea to drink!
Please just go here – it’s wonderful for a special night out and they’ve so many exciting events.
The Union Chapel is an unexpected venue for gigs, however it’s not an unpleasant one and is one of my preferred venues to see live artists.
So far I have been to 2 concerts in this venue and enjoyed both. The sound quality is very good and you are guaranteed a seat where you will actually be able to see the artist. As it’s seated you won’t have to elbow yourself a space, however in order to get a seat at the front you’ll need to arrive early.
Bring a coat as there will be space to stash it and you can use it if your bottom starts to disagree with the wooden pews!
I also like the atmosphere, the chapel itself is a beautiful building and they usually put candles out which makes it feel homely.
The only downside to this venue is that you cannot bring alcoholic drinks into it (being a church and all). However on the plus side there is a tuck shop where you can pick up cups of tea, coffee, chocolate, crisps and ice cream which you can leisurely eat/drink at your pew (which comes with a very handy ledge/table).
There is also a bar out the back which is worth a visit for the feel/architecture, but which unfortunately is badly stocked without draft beer and with only a limited selection.
I have been here before for jonatha brook! The place is just beautiful.. Sound is amazing… Monteverdi first book of magicals… Well what can I say? Just sublime! Moving beyond words.
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Returned to the Union Chapel again last night to see the wonderful Unthanks sisters, Becky and Rachel, play a set comprised of Anthony & the Johnsons and Robert Wyatt covers.
I think this venue is just a little bit inspirational and it has always brought out something very special in the artists I have seen perform here. Last night was no exception and the music the ladies and their excellent band summoned up was so good it hurt.
Anyway the purpose of this slight refrain of a review was to comment on the café/bar. Having had a look at the food offering on our last visit we decided we should give it a go. We arrived at just after the 7pm opening time and managed to get our coats down, to reserve our seats, on the third pew from the front. Good start to the evening.
The café/bar was already pretty busy and there was a good queue at the food "station". I managed to grab a comfy sofa and B got us a chicken curry and a veggie lasagne. At £6 a plate and with the profits going to the homeless you really wanted to like this food. Well, it filled the gap but the food was very much of the eat to live school of cooking; it reminded me a little bit of school dinners. B was slightly more complementary and declared herself reasonably satisfied.
Perhaps I was suffering from having high expectations but I was hoping for something a bit more authentic and therefore tasty. Having said that I’m not giving up on the café and will no doubt be back next year.
On the drinks front Bishops Finger and 6X were available by the bottle and there were cans of Red Stripe for the larger drinkers. The red and white wine by the glass seemed to be going down very well. All at pretty reasonable prices and if you manage to get a seat it's a very nice space to spend some time pre or post gig.
After my third visit to this beautiful venue last week to see an absolutely storming set by 'I am Kloot' (previous gigs have been very special outings by Laura Marling and Max Richter - I think this venue brings out the best in pretty much any perfomer) I am fast coming to the conclusion that this is my favourite live music venue in town. In general you will have a great view of the act at reasonably close quarters; the sound quality is awesome (and that's a word I hardly ever use); and atmospheric doesn't even begin to describe the vibe. Worth bearing in mind at this point that in my "youth" I was very fond of the Brixton Academy.
Anyway, I thought I would share a few tips and general musings with fellow qypers:
Get yourself on the mailing list, in my opinion they have a great booking policy and no shortage of acts that I am keen to see. Getting a ticket can be a problem if you are not qucik off the mark!!
Its a working church so bear this in mind, seating is un-allocated and is in pews. Picture a church in your mind and you will soon realise that if you turn up late in the day you will be left with seating on the sides with the (relatively) limited view etc that entails. Although as it's a church, the view is pretty good wherever you sit and it's on a slight rake towards the back which helps too.
However, on the three occasions I have had the pleasure of watching live music at the Union Chapel, a quaint but lovely old-school tradition still holds good - the 'bagsy-ing' of your spot by leaving a coat, jumper or whatever on the pew while you trot off to the bar for cold refreshments. Much to my amazement this arrangement is respected and you can be sure of your spot only ten feet from the stage on your return. How much do you love our London ways!!!!
Food and the bar in general seemed very, very much improved from my visit earlier in the year. B and myself had already eaten some pretty bog standard pizza in town before we headed over to the gig, but the guys had a constant queue for their curry, lasagne, and quiche, which looked and smelled very tasty - on my next visit I will definitely give it a run out, and for well under a tenner it looked to be great gig food. Seating and general ambience in the bar was lovely, think members' club crossed with a youth club, and is a great place to spend an hour or so. Some decent ale on tap and this could be totally divine.
So to sum up my advice would be to turn up early, doors seem to generally open at 7pm and on this occassion 'I am Kloot' were on stage at circa 9pm after an excellent support act, bagsy youself a primo spot in front of the stage and then head off for some tasty food and a cold refreshment of your choice. Then, sit back and imbibe the music!
I am completely in awe after my first gig at the Union Chapel.
I paid my visit to it on last Friday and trust me, a lovely band* playing an acoustic set with the last rays of daylight coming through the stained glass definitely make up for a busy week.
One of the best good-mood music venues ever.
*Bombay Bicycle Club
Love this venue, has sooo much character (basically a converted church). It retains much of its former life (classic wooden benches) which I feel adds to the quirkiness of it all. I was here to see a screening of Dracula which was very apt.
What an amazing venue!
The acoustics are very tight for minimal un-plugged(haven't been to a loud one yet) gigs and the decor is old theatre like - in an old church house.
Great ambience as well as a good location which is easy to get by tube.
Fabulously atmospheric venue that works brilliantly for some gigs. I've seen both music and comedy here, and was not remotely put off by the fact of being 'in church'.
At one memorable gig, the audience were happily dancing in the pews amid smoke and strobes (which work a treat at the chapel) and for comedy, it feels very surreal to be 'preached at' by your chosen performer.
The bar is roomy and has a wonderful shabby-chic vibe about it that's quite unlike anything else you'll find in Islington. In fact, the entire venue feels very uncommercial and is very laid back as a result.
I went to Union Chapel over Halloween weekend for the Jameson Cult Film Club screening of the zombie-perspective film, Colin. I loved the movie and thought the venue was ideal for such a film. It was soooo creepy in there. I'm sure the chapel can be done up less Halloween-ily but if you're looking for a spook-fest, Union Chapel's a good one. It's massive, in a great part of town (I love that stretch of Upper Street) and is a much more interesting space compared to most other events venues.
Beautiful building which for most of the evening is darkly lit. I just wish they would display more of the intricate ceiling which seems to amaze me every visit. From Kate Walsh to David Gilmour (with Amadou & Mariam) this place has fantastic acoustics that bellow around at any pew or up in the circle.
The Union Chapel is a functioning church at the top of upper street in Islington (nearest tube Highbury and Islington). Gigs here are often special due to the atmospheric surroundings. The venue is seated with church pews, and seating is unreserved so get here early to get a good view and bringing a cushion might be a sensible idea!
The annual LittleNoise sessions are worth looking at. These are a week long minifestival of performances for charity (Mencap) which attract several big artists performing acoustically. This year Adele, Razorlight and the Stereophonics performed here.
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