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To mark the half-centenary of its Regent's Park home, the Royal College of Physicians is giving delegates the chance to enjoy a picnic in its private gardens. The deal runs from 14 July-31 August and costs £50pp +VAT.
Need more than just a Rich Tea to sate ravenous delegates after a hard day’s conferencing? Order tea, coffee and biscuits for an event in April and May and Regent’s Conference and Events will lay on home-made fruit scones, clotted cream and strawberry jam for just £3pp +VAT.
Book the prestigious 18th-century venue for an event in April, and you’ll only pay half the hire fee for your chosen room. Bookings must be for groups of 50 guests or more.
Urban Soul Orchestra appear alongside Jessie J and Robin Thicke in DJ Cassidy’s latest video Calling all Hearts. The contemporary string ensemble has added the single to its Little Big Band repertoire for events.
The Grade II-listed home of the Royal Institute of Architects has a new package for groups of between three and 30 delegates, who can get meeting space, a three-course lunch, Wi-Fi and refreshments for just £30pp +VAT. The offer is valid until 31 May 2014.
Quote ‘MARCH20’ when booking one of the W1 venue’s late availability slots, and you’ll get 20% off room hire in March. Rooms available include the new 80-seater Wimpole Lecture Theatre and the Max Rayne Auditorium.
Agents booking the conference facilities at Coin Street Conference Centre between 1 February and 31 March will get an increased 10% commission. Quote ‘February/March commission offer’ when booking.
This year’s ‘York Minster to Westminster’ will take place on 5 March. Held at the Houses of Parliament and The QEII Conference Centre, the event will bring together 20 York venues and suppliers with event bookers.
The event staffing company has launched a new competition for both professional and amateur photographers involved in the events industry, as well as social media snappers. The Event Photography Awards 2014 will see entrants compete in three categories, with the winners announced at a ceremony on 8 April at the London Irish Centre. Click here for more information, or emailto enter or register your interest.
Regent's Conferences & Events is offering upgrades to hot fork buffets on DDR packages (£58pp + VAT) booked before 31 March. Packages include a meeting room for 25-370 attendees and all-day catering as standard.
The Canary Wharf venue has a variety of deals running through February and March. Among other things, every direct event booker gets a Links of London bracelet or magnum of Champagne, while complimentary canapes will be served at dinner events.
On 4 March 2014, The V&A, Science Museum and Natural History Museum will open their doors for what is set to be another successful ‘Strictly SW7’. The South Ken trio’s showcase event sees each museum show off what it can do for corporate events, with attendees moving between the venues over the course of the evening. Entertainment, lighting, flower and furnishing suppliers will all feature – catering is always a highlight, with the likes of Ampersand taking the reins at the Natural History Museum.
The Covent Garden venue is offering planners free furniture hire for all bookings taking place in February. Quote ‘Furniture February’ when you call and the venue will help you choose the ideal set up for your event.
The Old Royal Naval College has chosen Ampersand to head up its events catering. The company will look after a vast range of events at the historic venue, from small business meetings to prestigious dinners.
Book a meeting in any of the Clerkenwell venue’s three meeting rooms and take advantage of no minimum hire charge. Spaces include the cosy Library room and the 40-capacity Green room.
A week in the life of team V&E is a mixed bag of eating and drinking, meeting and greeting, dancing, and occasional bad behaviour. Here are some snaps so you can see what we get up to.
Quote ‘Square Meal’ when you book the contemporary string ensemble’s winter ‘Chill Out’ set and you’ll get 10% off hire charge. The quartet can also perform seasonal arrangements for festive drinks receptions.
The Deck at the National Theatre is paying homage to the oyster season by offering 20% off its seafood bars during months with an ‘r’ in them. Book yours in from January-April or September-December 2014.
The Late Night London venue has added a fun new cocktail to its drinks menu. The Avalanche consists of vodka, crème de banana, Amaretto and white cacao, and is garnished with a Lego skier.
A week in the life of team V&E is a mixed bag of eating and drinking, meeting and greeting, dancing, and occasional bad behaviour. Here are some snaps so you can see what we get up to.
Book and travel with King’s Ferry coach service before the end of November, and you’ll receive 20% off the hire charge. The offer can't be claimed retrospectively for bookings made before 11 November 2013.
Looking to book a conference in 2014? Confirm your event at any one of ODEON’s 100 venues before Friday, 20 December 2013 and you’ll receive 20% off room hire.
The Borough Market restaurant is offering an exclusive-hire deal for breakfast events held on any Monday or Tuesday in October and November. Breakfast and venue hire will start at £2,000 based on 100 guests.
The molecular caterer has created three new festive drinks for seasonal events. The offerings include a glow-in-the-dark vodka, a Japanese cherry blossom margarita and Champagne with rhubarb caviar.
The department store has announced its Gourmet Office Delivery service. As well as the express working lunch menu already on offer, catering orders for meetings, canapé receptions and full events are now available.
Following its recent relaunch, Regent's Conferences & Events is offering 15% off meeting room rates for October-November 2013. Its five spaces can hold from four to 370 guests. Email the venue for details.
The City Livery Hall will host a showcase for event bookers on Tuesday 8 October from 9am-5pm. The team from in-house caterer Chester Boyd will be on hand to give guided tours of the venue. Register here to attend.
In celebration of its 500th anniversary in 2014, the Tower Bridge venue is offering two deals for event organisers. All bookers who confirm a private event for 2014 before 31 December 2013 will receive a complimentary bottle of Pol Roger Reserve Champagne. Additionally, all bookings made for May 2014 will also receive a £500 discount on venue hire.
Chef Simon Hulstone has created a menu for the Bateaux London boat. On 10 and 25 October guests will enjoy a Champagne and canapé reception followed by a five-course menu and entertainment during the cruise.
On 1 October, Boyds Brasserie Bar & Lounge will welcome legendary Bordeaux winemaker Lucien Guillemet – one of the most respected producers in France – for an exclusive wine-tasting dinner that will showcase the best wines from his prestigious estate, Château Boyd-Cantenac. The evening will kick off with a Champagne and canapé reception, before guests sit down to a four-course menu specially-prepared for the occasion by Boyds’ head chef Richard Lee. Tickets to the event cost £79. To book your place, email the venue.
We hear the Wapping warehouse will be hosting Taste of Christmas this winter. The event will take place from 21-24 November and will showcase dishes from top restaurants, alongside wine tastings and foodie gift ideas.
The West End hotel has an offer for meetings booked between 1 January and 31 March 2014, when the DDR cost £85pp and include venue hire, Wi-Fi access, a hot and cold lunch, stationery and assorted sweets.
The Tottenham Court Road venue has a new all-inclusive DDR offer of £49pp. This includes arrival drinks, a working lunch, afternoon refreshments, venue hire and stationery. The deal is valid until 30 November 2013.
The football club has late-availability discounts for meetings booked at the club before the end of October. The reduced DDR of £49pp will include venue hire, stationery, a buffet lunch and refreshments throughout the day.
The City restaurant will be celebrating its 30th birthday with 1983 prices on glasses of house wine and select dishes until Friday 20 September. There will also be a three-course set menu at £9.83 and five courses at £19.83.
Greenwich’s original Victorian wine cellar will be opening in a new guise – a subterranean cocktail bar. The Cooperage will open on 25 September and will have space for 200 guests when hired exclusively.
Swizzlesticks Events will host a showcase at one of its City bars on 24 September from 5-9pm. As well as showing off its three venues, the group will also offer a 10% discount on winter events booked on the night.
This October, the Grade I-listed venue is offering eight-hour room hire, catering and AV facilities for £50 per delegate. Refreshments include tea and coffee, along with pastries in the morning and a working lunch.
The west London football club has opened its onsite museum for receptions. For £39pp +VAT, up to 175 guests can enjoy bowl food and canapés while surrounded by memorabilia from the team’s past.
Following last year’s extensive restoration, Kew Palace has now completed the final interior renovations by adding a 10-capacity meeting room. The venue, located within Kew Gardens, offers all the facilities of a modern meeting venue, including high-tech AV, but in an historic Georgian building. Guided tours and the chance to include dinner or a drinks reception in the palace’s other event spaces are also available.
The battleship has launched an exhibition to mark 70 years since the end of the longest military campaign in WWII. ‘Convoy: The Battle of The Atlantic’ will be available during private events until 16 December.
The Piccadilly Circus attraction is hosting its first ever pop-up exhibition, showcasing a series of works by British ‘sleep-walking artist’ Lee Hadwin. It will be open from now until 29 September 2013.
The Georgian townhouse has launched its new private dining menu, the ‘Charlotte Street Banquet’. Diners will enjoy a cocktail on arrival, a three-course pan-Asian menu, plus half a bottle of wine – all for £50pp.
New events confirmed for the month of August at one of Late Night London’s venues will receive a complimentary drinks reception. This offer applies to exclusive-hire bookings for 30+ guests only.
The St Paul’s branch of the French brasserie chain is offering event organisers 20% off food when booking its event spaces. The offer will be valid until 15 September 2013. Contact the venue for further details.
The club has launched a new ‘Motivate Monday’ DDR. A price of £49pp includes room hire, lunch, tea and coffee and Chelsea FC meeting stationary. Its ‘Frivolous Friday’ package (also £49pp) includes an afternoon beer.
The molecular caterer has created an homage to the quintessential summer sip, Pimm's No 1. The ‘drink’ comprises strawberry, mint and cucumber raviolis, lemon foam and orange perfume.
D&D London’s South Bank restaurant is offering 15% off food and drink spend for all private events held in August 2013. email the team for more details about the promotion.
The Searcys venue is offering an all-inclusive day delegate rate of £59pp for meetings held in its auditorium and exhibition space this September. The offer applies to new bookings for up to 300 delegates.
From 12-30 August, 1776 Restaurant at 1 Lombard Street will be available to hire exclusively, accommodating 55 seated or 120 standing guests. For more information, contact the events team.
The west London clubhouse is marking its 75th anniversary with a series of live shows in its Tudor Gardens. We’re most excited about Romeo & Juliet, which will be performed on 6, 11 and 12 August, and is to be served up with a hog roast to keep in line with the Tudor theme of the evenings. Evening events last from 7pm until 11pm, and prices start at £65pp.
On Monday 29 July,the Edwardian town house will showcase its 2013 Christmas offerings. Festively themed for the event, the venue will display the food choices and rooms available for bookings.
Industri’s newest venue Dutch Hall held its inaugural event on 16 July, hosting the ISES AGM and summer party. Incoming ISES president Jane Hague announced its newly-appointed board members for the coming year.
Book a private event on the iconic attraction before 26 July and you’ll get 50% off hire prices. With capacity for between three and 25 guests, its private capsules will be half price for events held in July and August. The offer includes capsule hire, the 30-minute rotation on the Eye, entry to the 4D Cinema Experience and drinks, canapés or finger food. The discounted prices start at £30.96pp – don’t forget to quote ‘LESUM13’ when booking.
Game’s on the menu from 20 August at Cinnamon Kitchen’s Butcher Bar. The Anise bar will be adorned with hanging hooks and antlers and will feature game boards to showcase chef Vivek Singh’s Indian fare.
To celebrate the hot weather, the lofty Centre Point venue has a new ‘Iced Tea’ package. The deal includes traditional sweet and savoury treats, along with frozen desserts and a Pina Colada. Prices start at £28pp.
The Kensington venue is taking advantage of the sun with a BBQ lunch offer at £68pp. Packages include use of the gardens, a glass of fizz and lunch. The offer is valid until 31 August, on any day except Sunday.
The Grade-II listed venue is offering a 30% discount on venue hire fees. The deal is valid for all new bookings for events held in July and August 2013. Email the venue or call 020 7514 8514 for further details.
The Mayfair restaurant has launched a new range of gourmet picnic hampers for summer. Prepared to order and priced from £45pp, they contain three dishes per person, as well as homemade bread, half a bottle of Champagne, mineral water, crockery, cutlery, glassware and a blanket. Corrigan’s also offers groups a luxury picnic experience, priced from £1,000, including a personal butler. Picnic hampers can be ordered on 020 7499 9943.
On 30 July The Royal College of Surgeons of England will open its doors for event bookers. The 18th-century venue will show off event space available for both corporate and private events from midday until 6pm.
The five-star West End hotel has a DDR deal starting at £70pp (a saving of £35pp) for events taking place before 31 August 2013. The rate includes venue hire, Wi-Fi, a buffet lunch, three coffee breaks and stationery.
We’re all ready and raring to go for the ninth annual Square Meal Venues & Events Live exhibition at Old Billingsgate in September. Read on for all of this year’s new features.
The restaurant and Picturehouse cinema have joined forces for a weekend of outdoor film screenings on 26 and 27 July. Tickets cost £35pp and include a cocktail, canapés and bowl food. Maximum capacity is 100.
Following the launch of its events division, Swizzlestick is offering Square Meal readers a complimentary cocktail reception for all summer events held in July and August at any of the group’s three bars, Pause, Clause and Patch. Each venue will provide a dedicated events manager, individually catered menus, DJs and late licences. Suitable for birthday parties, corporate events, wedding or engagement parties and more, each of the three venues will also offer the event organiser a £100 bar tab to enjoy at either its Patch or Clause bars. To take advantage of this offer for up to 400 guests, call the venue on 020 7621 0850.
Book a conference for at least 80 delegates in the Thomas Lord Suite and one guest will receive a Mont Blanc pen. The offer is valid for events held from 1 September-31 December 2013.
The Tower Hill venue has launched three new DDRs with its catering partner Payne & Gunter. Prices start at £67pp and include exclusive use of the venue from 9am–5pm, a two-course buffet lunch and drink breaks.
Early birds and night owls can climb The O2 away from the crowds, following the launch of exclusive new teambuilding time slots. Prices start at £500 for a sunrise or sunset session for 15 climbers.
For the first time in the UK, Cirque du Soleil will be doing back-of-house tours of its show when it returns to the Royal Albert Hall in January 2014. The package will include a meet-and-greet with a crew member and Q&A session pre-show, plus a backstage visit and photo session with the artists afterwards. This will only be available for corporate groups of up to 20 guests per night for an additional £100 on top of hospitality prices.
All event organisers who confirm a booking at the Museum of London Docklands will receive a £30 voucher for lunch or dinner in the venue’s resident bar and restaurant, Rum & Sugar. The offer is valid until 2014.
Book an event in September or October and your guest speaker will receive free accommodation the night before. The venue is also offering free use of its award-winning IML handheld audience response units.
The team behind the popular Shoreditch pop-up is opening a permanent restaurant in Mayfair. Set to launch in mid-July, the diner will seat 60 and serve luxed-up junk food. Don’t miss the lobster corn dog.
The Deck at the National Theatre will be hosting ‘Teatro de Alimentos’ – a Spanish pop-up with a six-course tasting menu and matching wines – on 6 and 7 August. Groups of up to 10 guests can book for £89.95pp.
The molecular caterer will be providing food for the ElBulli retrospective at Somerset House on 5 July-29 September. Its chefs will also be hosting interactive teambuilding workshops throughout the exhibition.
The association is inviting meeting industry professionals to join them at its annual Summer Charity Party aboard HMS President on Monday 15 July (6pm-10pm). Tickets cost £40 and are available to non-members.
The central London livery hall has launched a new restaurant in its summer marquee. The Garden Room in The Walks is now open for private evening events for up to 600 guests until 25 July 2013.
The Tower Hill venue will host free ‘River Rhapsody’ rides on the Thames for bookers who have confirmed an event (usually £200). Up to four guests will be able to ride on Trinity Tide on Tuesday evenings this summer.
The all-American boutique bowling chain has revamped the PDRs in three of its central London venues. Following a £35,000 refurbishment, the private spaces have now been individually themed: the Bayswater venue has been transformed into a hunting lodge, an 80s bachelor penthouse is now the backdrop for Brick Lane, while Holborn is styled as a 50s club house. Each space has its own bowling lanes, cocktail bar and karaoke screen.
The west London clubhouse is marking its 75th anniversary with a series of live shows in the Tudor Gardens. Romeo & Juliet will be performed on 6, 11 and 12 August, along with a hog roast. Prices start at £65pp.
Popping up in Covent Garden until 29 June, Pimm's' indoor garden is a top spot for watching Wimbledon. Guests can hire a blanket (with cans of Pimm’s and a basket of traditional picnic food) for £20pp.
The Grade I-listed landmark will host a screening of Breakfast at Tiffany’s as part of a showcase event on 16 July, from 12-3pm. There’ll be canapés and drinks from in-house caterer Benugo, as well as a quiz where guests will have the chance to win a prize worth over £100 from the museum shop. The Powderpuff Girls will also be on hand, providing manicures and make up sessions, to get you looking your best for the Snappabox photo booth. To attend, contact the team here , by 10 July.
Parked outside the South Ken restaurant, Daphne’s ice cream cart will be serving up frozen desserts during the tennis tournament. Flavours will include strawberry and shortbread, and peach and Prosecco.
The Grade II-listed building is offering a 50% discount on room hire for events booked for September 2013. Spaces on offer includes the 320-capacity Great Hall, which has state-of-the-art AV. Email the venue for details.
Now able to accommodate conferences for up to 400 delegates, RIBA has launched an introductory DDR of £68pp. The package includes hire of the Florence Hall and Jarvis Auditorium, plus full AV support and catering.
The creative arts centre is offering 25% off room hire for non-screening events held from June-August. The offer is valid for the venue’s two post-industrial event spaces. To book, email the events team and quote ‘SUM13’.
The five-star Covent Garden hotel has announced a new dinner and movie night season. From 7-29 June, the venue will be screening films such as Flight and Django Unchained. Audiences will also enjoy Lallier Champagne and a three-course modern British dinner in Axis for the all-inclusive price of £42.50pp. Confirm an event worth £2,000 in the Screening Room before December 31 and receive two complimentary tickets to the ‘Film & Fizz’ nights.
The Mayfair restaurant is holding a series of cookery classes from July-October. Each session will feature a different ingredient (such as grouse and crab) and include a three-course dinner. Classes cost £120pp.
Headrooms is a brand new meeting, conference and events venue five minutes from Farringdon station. For bookings of more than 25 delegates, the venue will provide a Champagne lunch prepared by Fifteen chef, Joe Grey. Spaces include the Green room, which has meeting space for 40 people, the Cabinet room with boardroom-style space for 15 and the Snug, best suited to smaller meetings.
The organic liqueur company will host its next event on June 11. The two-hour cruise (at £70pp) will mix five of its summer cocktails with complementary cakes, while guests sail along Regent’s Canal.
The Victoria & Albert Museum has just two dates left – Monday 1 July and Thursday 4 July – for private views of its sold-out David Bowie exhibition and there’s a last-minute discount for anyone wishing to grab them. With 20% off, hire of the museum’s Dome and John Madejski Garden (both able to host 700 guests) starts from £6,400, including exclusive access to ‘David Bowie Is’. Email the venue for details.
Launching this weekend at the Mayfair restaurant is subterranean cocktail and jazz pop-up bar The Hutch Club. The space will be located in the depths of Quaglino’s from 1 June to 31 August and will host an art deco-inspired Martini Bar, a private Drinking Den (available to hire exclusively for 15-25 guests) and London’s first alcoholic Popcorn Bar. The Hutch Club will also be holding masterclasses and tastings. Email the venue for details.
The Covent Garden venue is offering event bookers 20% off all functions booked for the month of August. Its blank canvas space is available for dinners, exhibitions and product launches. Email the events team for details.
The events team at this sleek Mayfair Italian is offering a complimentary canapé reception for any new private dining bookings confirmed for July or August 2013. Contact the venue for further details and availability.
BMA House has unveiled its new summer party package. The ‘Summer Soiree in the City’ deal offers an evening in its courtyard and Grade II-listed rooms, with packages starting at £79.95pp +VAT.
The hotel group is offering a range of upgrade options – from afternoon tea to overnight stays – for DDR events booked before 31 September. Available at all Guoman properties, the deal applies to groups of 10 or more.
Combining Premier League football with a stack of versatile entertainment spaces, Chelsea's Stamford Bridge stadium is an impressive venue for events. From 1 May to 31 Dec this year, the club will give event bookers either £200 worth of Love to Shop vouchers or a Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1 when confirming an event with a minimum spend of £10,000. This offer is valid for non-matchday functions and new bookings only.
Hot on the heels of its first anniversary and the launch of its new brunch menu, the next two months will see Mayfair’s 34 hosting a private dining pop up seating up to 60 guests. For more information,email the venue.
If you are baffled by Brunello or vexed by Vermentino, Davy’s at Woolgate EC2 is offering an Italian wine masterclass on 13 June. The tasting will be followed by a two-course Italian supper. Tickets cost £49.95pp.
Throughout July, the EC4 venue’s 600-capacity marquee will be available for hire. Prices start at £89pp for bookings of 300 people and include a canapé reception, unlimited drinks, giant garden games and a BBQ.
To celebrate British Sandwich Week (May 12-19) Sodexo Prestige will be offering a regional sandwich selection, based on locally sourced ingredients, in all of its venues as part of the DDR.
The hi-tech conference and events venue has launched a summer DDR offer of £42.50pp. The deal is valid for new events booked between 1 July and 6 September, and includes healthy refreshments and room hire.
Inspired by the warmer weather, the rooftop venue’s event team has created a refreshing new cocktail menu. The drinks are available to anyone who hosts an event in the 120-capacity space.
The Westminster venue has increased its number of spaces for hire from 19 to 21. The venue has added a new boardroom and made the office of the Director General of the ICE available for dinners for up to 16.
After a £250,000 redevelopment, the Corinthian Roof Terrace, which sits atop the OCS Stand, offers views across the Kia Oval’s famous grounds and surrounding cityscape. Developed by Keith Prowse, the space is now available for corporate bookings and offers grazing menus, a DJ booth for post-match entertainment and stylish seating for your guests. Over the summer, the terrace will play host to Surrey’s £99 ‘Raise the Roof’ hospitality package during the Friends Life Twenty20 and, subject to availability, is still available to book for the Investec Ashes, ICC Champions Trophy and the NatWest Series T20s against New Zealand. Packages start at £349pp.
The IoD's private garden and Carlton room can be hired during the summer months for sit-down meals for up to 100 guests and drinks receptions for 300. Drinks and canapé packages start at £55pp +VAT.
The WC2 venue has a new DDR package, starting at £57pp for all events booked before 30 September 2013. This includes lunch and full-day hire of a meeting space, such as the refurbished Great Room, which seats 100.
The Grade II-listed Georgian townhouse has a spring drinks collection to complement its new Health menu. We like the sound of the Green Russian, made with fresh avocado, vodka, pineapple and lime juice.
Event organisers who hire Borough Market restaurant Roast before 31 Dec 2013 will receive a £200 voucher that can be spent on dinner or drinks at the venue after the event. Email the venue for details.
Once the residence of the commander of the Royal Naval College, Admiral’s House in Greenwich has been extensively renovated and is available for private hire from today (Friday 26 April). Having had all its bedrooms removed, the house now offers six event spaces, accommodating meetings, weddings, dinners and drinks receptions for between 10-80 guests. Organisers can choose to book the whole house exclusively or pick individual rooms. We particularly like the oak-panelled Webb Room, which makes an impressive boardroom for up to 30 guests. DDR packages start at £52pp.
For one night only each month, Caprice Holdings will be holding an exclusive dinner at The Mount Street Deli, each hosted by one of the restaurant group’s head chefs. Starting with The Ivy, the first dinner will cooked by executive chef Gary Lee on Thursday 25 April. Available for groups of 10-12 people, a four-course tasting menu with matching wines is priced at £100pp. The dinner will start at 7pm and includes a glass of Champagne and canapés. To book, email Caprice Holdings.
Grade II-listed church Dutch Hall has just opened for corporate events. Built in 1550, the venue is located in Austin Friars and has three spaces available, with room for up to 380 guests for a reception in the Great Hall.
In celebration of the nationwide event, organised by the British Sandwich Association, Chelsea Football Club will add a British sirloin steak sandwich canapé to its meetings and events menu during 12-19 May.
Groups can receive 15% of all afternoon tea bookings on board the Naticia or MV Harmony until the end of May.
The Brunswick Square art museum is offering Square Meal readers a 20% discount on room hire for all events booked in May. Intimate dinners for 40 can be held in the Court Room. For more details, email the venue.
The Georgian town house in Knightsbridge is now available for private hire. Packages include exclusive use of the venue, two nights’ accommodation for 21 guests and a gala dinner. For details, email the venue.
A riverside bar and cafe has opened aboard the London Bridge war ship. Located at the main entrance, the Café Bar, which seats 24 diners, offers modern and seasonal menus and is available for private hire.
Royal College of Surgeons is offering 25% off room hire for bookings made in April. The deal also includes a free PowerPoint package and an increased commission rate for agents. Quote ‘RCSAP13’ when booking.
To celebrate the arrival of its new head chef Jason Marchant (ex-Claridges), the restaurant is running a competition highlighting his Cornish-influenced modern British menu. Typical dishes include pot-roasted chicken with Cornish Mead - a historical West Country, honey-based alcoholic drink which featured in the great halls of King Henry VIII and more recently in the Harry Potter books – and Camel Valley sparkling jelly with ice cream. Click through for details on how to enter the competition.
After nine years of hosting exclusive parties, Swizzlestick has launched a dedicated events arm. With three contemporary City venues (Clause, Pause and Patch) offering a range of options for corporate and private hire, the company will now provide event managers who can create tailored packages with live bands, performance art and late-night dancing. To mark this addition to the Swizzlestick stable, the group will be holding a Champagne reception at Pause Bar on Wednesday 17 April from 6-10pm. Please RSVP to attend.
The art deco venue has a new dinner package for £98 per person. The deal includes a three-course meal, drinks reception on the roof terrace, dining room hire and use of the grand piano. For details, email the venue.
Book a meeting this March and April at One Wimpole Street and enjoy unlimited tea and coffee, along with room hire (up to 30 delegates), for £50 per hour. The offer also includes Wi-Fi and still and sparkling water.
There’s no venue hire fee when you book the 30-capacity private rooms at Bayswater or Holborn from 31 March – 2 April. Each space has its own lanes, private bar, karaoke and food from a seasonal menu.
This week, Square Meal is at ExCeL for International Confex (from 19-21 March). Come and see us on stand K270, where the Venues & Events team will be handing out copies of our 2013 Guide, while Eden, Cinnamon Soho, The Brewery and Party Ingredients dish out award-winning bites from the 2012 Square Meal Canapé Cup.
It’s been 75 years since the WWII warship set sail from Belfast on St Patrick’s Day. To celebrate, all events on board the permanently-moored vessel during March will receive a complimentary celebration cake for each guest attending a daytime do and a free glass of Champagne per guest for any evening event. The venue is also offering its HMS Belfast Experience dinner package at a reduced rate of £75pp +VAT.
The London Bridge wine-tasting destination is offering groups of 10 or more a saving of £12 per person on its Classic Wine Tasting tickets, along with free entry for the organiser. Email the venue for details.
Event bookers looking to hire The Commonwealth Club for a meeting during March can do so at a reduced day delegate rate of £50pp +VAT. For more details email the events team.
Business-focused hotel Crowne Plaza London Docklands, near ExCeL, has created a range of new teambuilding packages for groups. The Regal Package (£143.68pp) includes cable car tickets, a river cruise, clay-pigeon shooting, lunch, a meeting room and a three-course dinner. For something a little more high-octane, check out the venue’s Thrill Seeker Package (£59.00pp), which includes wake boarding on the Thames, zorbing, lunch and use of a meeting room.
To celebrate its 650th anniversary, Vintners’ Hall has announced the opening of The Court Room. Built in 1671, the space has only ever been used by the Vintners’ Company, but is now available for private hire.
Chelsea Football Club’s underground music venue has created a new menu for events, inspired by the latest foodie trends for slider burgers, chicken and doughnuts. The space can be hired exclusively for up to 600 guests.
Vivek Singh’s trio of modern restaurants is celebrating Holi, the Indian festival of colour, from 18-30 March. Five-course festival menus will commemorate the arrival of spring and the passing of winter. To claim a free Holi cocktail at any of the three restaurants, order two courses from the Holi menu and wear bright green to The Cinnamon Club, bright blue to Cinnamon Kitchen, and bright pink to Cinnamon Soho. Private dining is also available.
Rich Mix will be hosting private screenings of the much anticipated film The Great Gatsby from 17 May, with pre-cinema Champagne and canapé receptions available. To book one of the three screens, contact the events team.
The Grade II-listed venue in Bloomsbury is offering hot fork buffet lunches at £20.13pp until 28 March. Meeting rooms are available for groups of between two and 300 guests. Email the venue for details.
DSTRKT is hosting a showcase event on Wednesday 27 February, when event bookers can enjoy cocktails, canapés and a good look at the recently spruced-up spaces from 5-9pm. To attend, contact Emilee Alexson.
Northbank, by the Millennium Bridge, is offering groups of over 25 guests a free glass of bubbly on arrival, plus a free bottle of wine for every 13 sold. There’s also 13% off private hire total spend until the end of the summer.
London Marriott County Hall’s newest restaurant Gillray's is offering a discount on private hire until the end of March. Exclusive use is now £5,000 +VAT, which includes use of its bar and restaurant for up to 120 guests.
All events on board HMS Belfast during the month of March will receive a complimentary celebration cake for each guest attending a daytime do and a free glass of Champagne per guest for any evening event.
A £250,000 roof terrace is being opened on top of the Kia Oval’s OCS Stand. The 400-capacity space will be open from March 2013.
Searcys | The Gherkin is offering reduced room hire for events taking place in March and April 2013. Exclusive use of the top two floors of the Gherkin for evening events will be available at £7,000 +VAT (a £2,500 +VAT discount), while reduced hire between 7.30-10am will cost £2,000 +VAT. Breakfast packages, including unlimited drinks with a Breakfast Club sandwich or croissants, will also be available for £20pp (minimum of 40 guests). For further details, email the sales team.
The large steel façade of Shoreditch’s Rich Mix is now available for outdoor projections. Corporate clients, artists and event organisers will be able to promote events on a large scale by hiring the wall space.
Kornicis Group is opening its latest Jamies Wine Bar and Restaurant in the West End this 27 February. The 150-cover restaurant will serve classic British food. There is also a large bar and private dining room.
The Grade II-listed Stepney venue is set to provide a permanent home for Future Cinema’s immersive screening experiences throughout 2013. Playing host to 90 screenings over the year, it opens with Casablanca on 14 February.
The glamorous venue on the Kings Road is offering groups the chance to book its Private Room for free. The 80-capacity also includes a complimentary bottle of Veuve Cliquot.
The London Legacy Development Corporation has confirmed that music promoter Live Nation will host a run of concerts and festivals at Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park this summer, ahead of its full opening in spring 2014. The deal gives Live Nation exclusive rights to hold major music concerts in the stadium in summer 2013. Wireless Festival and Hard Rock Calling have already been scheduled for July, having relocated from Hyde Park.
Ironmongers’ Hall, in the City, will be hosting The Lord’s Taverners charity Burns’ Night dinner on Wednesday 23 January. The black tie event starts at 6.30pm and tickets are priced at £105 per person.
Sailing day specialist Clipper Events has invested in 12 new, 70ft ocean racers. Designed by naval architect Tony Castro, the new Clipper 70s will be the world’s largest identical ocean-racing fleet. The boats are set to take part in the 2013-2014 Clipper Round-the-World Yacht Race and later will be available to groups for hospitality and teambuilding events. Clipper (based in Gosport) is showcasing its new vessels at St Katharine Docks from 12 to 20 January.
Christmas may be over but the celebrations just keep on going. Butchers’ Hall will be hosting a shared night to celebrate the great Scottish bard on 25 January. Groups can book tickets for a five-course meal with pipers, haggis and all the trimmings for £80pp.
The overindulgence that comes with the Christmas party season may not have reached its peak yet, but Coin Street is thinking ahead. Book an event at the South Bank venue between 2 and 11 January and receive a free three-day pass for its gym in the Columbo Centre in Southwark
Shiny new kitchen for Senate House The Bloomsbury venue has just completed a £600,000 refurbishment of its kitchen. The renovation aims to increase the service speed, menu choice and quality of food at the listed building, as well as increasing the seated capacities to 350 in the Beveridge Hall, 240 in the Macmillan Hall and 120 in the Chancellor’s Hall.
Having been opened by none other than the Duchess of Cambridge, the Natural History Museum’s new Treasures exhibition is ready for viewing. The display is located in the Cadogan Gallery and can be seen in conjunction with private events held in the 700-capacity Central Hall. Within the retrospective are 22 specially selected specimens, spanning 4.5 billion years of nature, each with its own story to tell. Expect to see the dinosaur teeth that led to the discovery that the giant reptiles once walked on Earth, as well as the first edition of Darwin’s ‘On the Origin of Species’.
The St James’ restaurant has teamed up with Mastercard to offer sushi and sake masterclasses. The sessions, which groups can book on any afternoon or evening, see guests learning how sake is made (and tasting some of it, of course) in one of the restaurant’s PDRs, before heading to the kitchen for a how-to in crafting perfect sushi. A 90-minute class usually costs £25pp but, as Inamo is feeling full of festive cheer, there’s a 20% discount on all bookings between now and the end of January.
Inspired by the golden age of cinema and created by acclaimed Indian designer Sabyasachi Mukherjee, the new Cinema Suite at 51 Buckingham Gate Taj Suites & Residences combines vintage design with modern facilities. The 1,832 sq ft suite, decorated with film posters and Asian artefacts, comprises two bedrooms, a study, powder room, kitchen, dining room, plus a lounge with a 85-inch plasma TV and 3D home theatre system. Use it to host private screenings with dinner for up to eight guests.
Check out this new bit of interactive kit from event techies Luma. YrMoves sees two dancers competing against one another for points by throwing their best moves in front of an augmented reality screen. A depth camera tracks the wannabe Travolta’s movements, while LED moving head lights, smoke and strobe effects create a night club environment. We’re going to give it some ‘Tried and tested’ treatment soon, so we’ll let you know how we get on.
The Chelsea Gardener has appointed Bubble Food as one of its preferred caterers. It’s a fitting partnership, given that Bubble’s molecular menus include a number of floral-inspired dishes such as gold lavender jellies.
Happy birthday Mr Churchill! And what better way to toast the big man himself than with a drink at the Hyatt Regency Churchill’s eponymous new bar? The venue, which opens today, takes inspiration from all aspects of the former PM’s life, with decor that draws on his love for art, travel and animals, plus a cosy cigar terrace – a nod to one of his most famous vices. Alongside the list of fine whiskies and Champagne (Churchill’s other weaknesses) is the bar’s own brew of Churchill Craft Gin, used in signature cocktails that are mixed under the watchful eye of Alex B Cook, former bar manager at The Ritz. While the space can’t be hired exclusively yet, groups can reserve the six-seater Snug, where they can enjoy platters of smoked salmon and oysters.
Ever wanted a glimpse behind the scenes at London’s top restaurants? Mayfair stalwart Corrigan’s is offering groups just that with its cookery lessons, to be held once a month from 1 December. The £250pp price includes a Champagne reception before your lesson, followed by a four-course lunch of the food you’ve prepared with matching wines, and a souvenir goodie bag. Meanwhile, Richard Corrigan’s other London restaurant, Bentley’s, is hosting cigar nights on its terrace. Each masterclass will showcase a different Cuban cigar, which will be paired with a specially selected whiskey, rum or sweet wine and canapés. Tickets cost £35pp and the next event is 5 December.
This month, the glamorous Winter Bar opens in the Courtyard at Bluebird. The pop-up space has been designed by Conran & Company so you can expect a polished look. Filled with cosy seating areas and flickering tea lights, the heated structure can hold up to 50 guests for a reception. Serve Moet & Chandon Champagne and classic cocktails along with snacks from the restaurant, or warm your cockles with a glass of mulled wine. The venue will be available until 2 January
The Natural History Museum, V&A and Science Museum joined forces to showcase their talents and their suppliers.
King’s Place has opened its Art Gallery for events this autumn. The space, which renews its exhibits every eight weeks, comprises an intimate gallery and large open balcony. The enclosed gallery is ideal for a private sit-down dinner for 60 guests or cocktail receptions for 100. The balcony works for larger functions, holding up to 400 standing guests or 120 for dinner.
Whether you’re homesick for the great US of A or have an early hankering for turkey, Thanksgiving (22 November) is just the holiday to feed those cravings. You don’t need to cross the pond to take advantage of a good old-fashioned American feast. Grab a group, get your elasticated waistbands and forks ready, and dig into one of London’s Thanksgiving menus.
‘There’s no such thing as bad weather, only inappropriate clothing,’ said someone, who might have been Billy Connelly and might have been Sir Ranulph Fiennes. Whoever it was, we applaud the sentiment. This year when the mercury drops, instead of diving for cover, we’ll be sipping hot cocktails under sheepskin rugs at one of London’s increasing number of alfresco spaces.
Church House Conference Centre has invested in faster internet connection for events. The installation of a 100MB per second broadband line follows a £100,000 refurb, which saw the venue’s AV equipment and furniture updated.
SW1 will be welcoming a new five-star neighbour at the end of the month, courtesy of the team at InterContinental. Located on Broadway near St James’s tube, the hotel clearly has business events in mind, with free Wi-Fi throughout and eight meeting spaces seating 10 to 300 delegates. V&E had a pre-opening tour of the venue last week and loved look of the 24-seater PDR in The Blue Boar Smokehouse & Bar, a space that can also be split to suit two groups of 12. The restaurant’s bar area is well set up for intimate gatherings with a private drinks space and alcove-style seating. Our pick of the bunch, though, was the dramatically designed Emmeline’s space – complete with a mural of St James’s park – which can be hired exclusively, holding up to 70 for a drinks reception. Keep an eye out for the hotel’s provocative art collection too – the sculpture of Tony Blair with weapons of mass destruction in his eyes is likely to turn heads.
One of the most important Hindu festivals, Diwali (from 13 November) – known as The Festival of Lights – celebrates the victory of good over evil and light over darkness. It’s a time when families and friends come together over a big meal, so it seems fitting to take the opportunity to get a group together and indulge in one of the many special menus available in Indian restaurants across town. Here’s our selection of PDRs embracing the spirit of Diwali.
Guoman Hotels we salute you. The portfolio of central London properties has announced that it will be offering free Wi-Fi for all guests and visitors, which gets a big thumbs up from us. Wireless internet is available in all the bedrooms, public spaces and function rooms of venues including The Royal Horseguards, The Cumberland and Charing Cross Hotel.
We at V&E HQ make no secret of the fact that we love sausages, so we’re welcoming National Sausage Week (5-11 Nov) with forks at the ready. Apparently we aren’t the only fans – as a country we chomp through 200,000 tons of them a year. If you want to dish up a tasty chipolata or two at your event, The Great British Sausage company will set up its 12ft barbecue (come rain or shine) and cook award-winning bangers for up to 5,000 guests. All its produce is handmade from organic pork, reared on Knebworth Estate in Hertfordshire.
Bourne and Hollingsworth has opened Reverend J W Simpson, its new underground cocktail bar in Fitzrovia. The Prohibition-style venue mixes shabby chic, kitsch decor with high-end furnishings and glassware, and there’s a strong focus on the quality of the cocktails. The intimate space will work well for private drinks receptions – it holds up to 50 standing guests.
…Gun powder, treason and plot. Or how about fireworks, hotdogs and sparklers? Next Monday, London’s skyline will be alight in an explosion of pyrotechnics. Rather than huddling together in a crowd of strangers, watch the displays from the comfort of an indoor event space. Check out our picks here.
Nightclub power-duo Nick House and Piers Adam have brought a slice of Austria to Kensington with the opening of their new venue Bodo’s Schloss. The restaurant, bar and disco holds up to 350 guests for a reception.
The Euston Road venue has announced plans for a £17.5m development that will see its event space increase dramatically. A new gallery, the expansion of old ones and a spiral staircase to interconnect them, as well as a new restaurant, are all part of the project. The spaces, which are set for completion in 2014, will be available to hire for evening receptions and can be used together with other function rooms, such as the tiered auditorium.
Chelsea Football Club has launched a new event space in its Millennium & Copthorne Hotel. The Delta 360 Lounge, sponsored by the American airline, has its own entrance, bar and dining area, as well as TV screens. It will be used for events for up to 50 guests on non-match days and for VIP hospitality on match days.
Team V&E attended Heineken's exclusive Skyfall screening party.
With the most anticipated film of the year out now, we look to James Bond’s London for inspiration for a 007-style event.
Tenter House at 45 Moorfields in the City is the latest offering from conference specialist etc. venues. Metres away from Moorgate tube, the venue offers 14 naturally lit rooms – the largest holding 70 seated delegates.
Alfresco film screenings aren't just for summer. Wrapped up in a blanket with a mug of hot chocolate for warmth, you can enjoy outdoor cinema on the frostiest of night – and Hush Mayfair is offering groups the chance to do just that. Its pop-up 'Classics in the Courtyard' series is running from 31 October until the beginning of March, kicking off the season with Scream on Halloween. Book a table and settle down to a good movie, a Winter Warmer cocktail and pack of gourmet popcorn, or choose dinner from the full à la carte menu. Tickets are £10pp, excluding food and drink.
Judging from the 8am turnout at Fortnum & Mason last week, breakfast is the new power lunch. The department store’s elegant Fountain Restaurant is now open from 7am for early bird business meetings.
The V&A hosted a dinner to celebrate the opening of the museum's new exhibition Hollywood Costume on 15 October. The exhibition will open on 20 October.
Following head chef roles at 1 Lombard Street, Claridge's and Café Royal, Herbert Berger - responsible for gaining a Michelin star three times during his career - has taken over the catering at Innholders' Hall.
Vinopolis has reopened its doors following a multi-million pound refurbishment that’s made its Wine Experience even better for teambuilding. Packages start from £27pp.
This month sees a fresh new opening from City institution 1 Lombard Street. On 22 October, 1776 will open its doors in what used to be the venue’s dining room. The 55-seater restaurant is set behind the brasserie, with its own entrance on Mansion House Place and decor that draws on the history of the building, with crystal chandeliers, large windows and banquette seating. The a la carte menu focuses on modern British dishes with global influences.
Late Night London’s Grace Bar has just emerged from a full refurbishment of its restaurant and event spaces. Three new private dining rooms have been added, each with its own quirky design and space for between 10 and 16 guests. The main bar area has also been given a new look, with crystal chandeliers and vintage wallpaper, while the Cocoa Club has been fitted with comfy new booths.
Next month sees the opening of the ME London in Aldwych. Brought to us by the trend-setting Spanish hotel chain ME by Melia, the property will include a whole crop exciting event spaces, including a wraparound roof terrace, designed by Foster & Partners, which will hold up to 140 guests for drinks receptions. Also on offer will be a two-storey event suite for 20 with its own entrance to the terrace, a 16-seater private dining room in the hotel’s STK restaurant, and seven meeting rooms with space for up to 200 delegates.
London’s two L’atelier des Chefs cookery schools have just announced a programme of 16 new classes, including a bang-on-trend burger-making course. Make like Meat Liquor and serve up perfect patties after taking part in one of the fast-paced sessions, which are available to book in 30, 60 and 90 minute varieties. Among the other new courses for groups are cupcake baking, bread making and French patisserie.
London’s most sustainable venue 15 Hatfields is hosting a showcase on 30 October from 6pm. Organisers are invited to check out the event spaces, as well as sample canapés by Square Meal Canapé Cup winners Eden Catering and enjoy a glass of English sparkling wine. To RSVP, email Matilda.
After much anticipation, The Crystal opened to the public last weekend in Royal Victoria Docks. The multi-million pound development includes exhibition space, two auditoriums with space for up to 276 delegates, as well as offices and a café, with catering by Sodexo Prestige. Designed by Wilkinson Eyre Architects, the glass-structure is one of the world’s most sustainable, using solar power, focusing on locally sourced food and adopting a zero-waste policy.
The owners of Hush Mayfair have revealed plans to open a new brasserie in St Paul’s by summer next year. This will be the third site from the restaurant group, following the launch of Hush Holborn (pictured) in June. The 140-cover venue will be based at 1 St Paul’s, a new development containing 60,000sq ft of new offices. Full details are yet to be released but we do know it will be open all day and is being designed by Alex Michaelis of Michaelis Boyd, who worked on the group’s other two properties.
Searcy’s celebrated a £500,000 revamp of its reception spaces this September, with a showcase at the handsome Knightsbridge townhouse. The Georgian features have been slicked up throughout – with the corporate market in mind – and there’s a smart new bar upstairs. The rolling refurbishment will now take on the upstairs bedrooms and 70-capacity roof terrace, set for completion in 2013.
The building may have been around for 200 years but Tobacco Dock has only recently become available for private hire. Situated just a few minutes away from Tower Bridge and one stop from Bank Underground station, the venue has over 50 characterful rooms – the largest holding up to 2,000 guests – and so is able to cater for just about any event you can dream up. It is hosting an open day on 11 October: to register your interest, email your details with ‘invite’ in the subject line.
An interactive Swedish restaurant and cooking school has just opened in Farringdon. The venue brings a new concept in group dining to London, which sees groups of up to 12 prepare four-course menus alongside Michelin-starred chefs, before enjoying the food in the kitchen’s adjoining dining rooms. Also on site is a Food Studio, with space for up to 80 for a reception, as well as a bar, which is used for wine and Champagne tastings.
The hip new hotel near Liverpool Street is now fully open, following the launch of F&B options including an all-day brasserie, sheltered garden bar and top floor restaurant. V&E tried fine-diner Angler last night and loved its fish-focused menu. The likes of scallop and lobster ravioli, ray wing with brown butter and slow-roast brill are best enjoyed at the 10-seater semi-private Chef’s View table, which overlooks the Gherkin and Tower 42.
The National Theatre’s roof-top venue The Deck has announced that it has been granted planning permission to run for another five years. The ultra-modern event space was designed in 2006 to make the most of its front row views of the Thames. Its retractable glass walls make it popular with summer entertaining, but it works just as well in winter – particularly for Christmas parties – and has a wedding licence for up to 120 guests.
Sustainable catering bastion Eden . has taken home the Canapé Cup at this year’s Venues and Events show 2012 at Old Billingsgate in the City. Its winning bite, the Hansel and Gretel-inspired Black and Blue, was made of Kentish blackberries, Oxford Blue cheese, hazelnut praline in a London honey – made using their own bees – and sugar spun caramel, as decoration. Runners up were new comer The Brewery and the ever-popular Cinnamon Soho .
Harrods Food Halls welcome another big name: Bentley’s Sea Grill. It’s good news for those keen to hire – the store’s ‘Dine Around’ concept allows them to select which concessions do the catering.
Restaurant and cinema Electric House in Notting Hill will be reopening its doors just five months after the venue was destroyed by fire. The extent of the damage caused means the venue will have to be completely refurbished. The good news is the private members’ spot will come back better than ever, with a redesign of the brasserie, a restoration of the screen room and a brand new bar and terrace.
Cheltenham Racecourse will play host to the Kaiser Chiefs, who will play in the venue’s 4,000 standing capacity on 21 February 2013. Tickets will go on sale at 9am on Wednesday 29 August.
City-based bar and restaurants, The Folly and The Drift are offering groups mixology classes. Guests will have a chance to try their hand at perfecting three cocktails. Classes cost from £25 per person.
Altitude London at Millbank Tower has launched Skyloft, its new pop-up space, available for private hire until the beginning of 2013. The whole floor holds 600 guests for a standing reception or 270 guests for dinner.
Crowne Plaza London Docklands has announced a special rate for Venues & Events readers. Prices start from £39pp, just make sure you quote ‘Square Meal’ when booking.
Watch the latest Bond film Skyfall on 26 October in a private screening at the Aubin Cinema. Up to 46 guests can sit back and enjoy the movie, from the comfort of the theatre’s luxurious sofas and armchairs. Then head down the road to Shoreditch House for a Martini (shaken, not stirred) and a game of bowling in the Biscuit Tin.
Adjacent to the Riverside Walkway on the South Bank is a 600sq m site available for hire throughout the Olympic period. The grass-covered space overlooks the Thames and would lend itself to styling as an English garden or riverside beach for entertaining. There is also space for a marquee in case of rain. Prices start from £5,000 +VAT.
This autumn, the V&A will bring a touch of glamour to Exhibition Road. From 20 October, the museum will display more than 100 iconic costumes from cinema – from the genre’s golden age to the newest releasea. Among the collection will be the pinafore Judy Garland wore in The Wizard of Oz, Scarlett O’Hara’s green ‘curtain’ dress from Gone with the Wind, Johnny Depp’s outfit from Pirates of the Caribbean and Peter Parker’s Lycra suit from Spiderman. Private viewings of the exhibition cost from £9000 +VAT.
Guoman Hotels and the Thistle group are offering one free delegate for every five when booking a meeting at any of its 37 venues. The offer applies to delegates on daily or 24-hour packages and free Wi-Fi is included.
The London Hippodrome, on Leicester Square, is now open. The £40m Grade II-listed casino includes a restaurant, two bars and a host of private dining rooms, event spaces and private gambling rooms.
Hello. Just a quick one from the V&E team to say the Venues & Events summer issue is out and if it isn’t already sitting on your desk, it will be soon. In this issue, we celebrate the arrival of the London 2012 Olympics with a look at the best hospitality options, zip around the capital’s new hotel openings and even squeeze in a quick chat with Mayor Boris. If you fancy a quick flick straight away, check it out here.
The V& A’s revamped Fashion Galleries hosted a private view of the ‘Ball gowns: British Glamour Since 1950’ exhibition, as part of Mastercard’s Priceless London event programme. Click here for the event review.
The Southbank is welcoming The Cube by Electrolux this summer. Positioned atop the Royal Festival Hall from June to September, the 18-seat private dining space will offer views across the Thames.
Lighting specialist amBX has teamed up with 8 Northumberland to offer a permanent interactive lighting system. Organisers now have the power to light its Old Billiard Room to any colours best suiting an event.
Having sailed over from Copenhagen, the MV Harmony, Bateaux London’s latest addition, is making its maiden Thames voyage this June. The Scandinavian-designed boat features a 250sq m open deck (the fleet’s largest) and will hold up to 200 guests for dinner or up to 300 guests for a reception. For a more intimate event, her bespoke private dining rooms are ideal for parties of 12, 20 and 30 guests.
The international cookery school has opened an event-friendly venue in the City. Unlike its older brother on Wigmore Street, the Foster Lane venue has a dedicated conference room, seating up to 20 delegates.
The classic Parisian-style brasserie Incognico is offering guests a free glass of prosecco when booking the venue’s party menu or a free glass of Champagne when ordering the a la carte party menu.
A brand new meeting and training venue has opened in Birmingham, in the shape of De Vere Venues Colmore Gate. There are 18 meeting rooms, the largest of which has capacity for a 150 delegates.
The Barbican is marking 50 years of James Bond films with an exhibition of the franchise’s most memorable paraphernalia. Groups can book private viewings with hospitality from 6 July to 5 September and its £195pp +VAT.
Following the success of The Wedding Industry Awards launch this year, the organisers have announced the opening of the 2013 entry process. There are five new categories for you to vote for. For more info, click here.
So here they are – our two latest magazines. Our Venues & Events Spring issue of offers a stack of advice on making the most of this special summer and there’s the latest events and hospitality news. What you might not have been expecting is our first-ever Square Meal Weddings magazine. Here you’ll find a comprehensive look at the latest trends and venues, with some handy practical guides too.
Our Venues & Events Spring issue offers a stack of advice on making the most of this special summer. What you might not have been expecting is our first-ever Square Meal Weddings magazine. Check them out.
Inamo St James, has teamed up with Mastercard offering sushi and sake masterclasses, available for groups. The sessions are bookable on any afternoon or evening and it’s £25pp and classes last 90 minutes.
The penguins at London Zoo have been kind enough to allow events beside their pool. Penguin Beach is available for barbecues or drinks receptions from 6.30pm to 9.30pm. Packages include a private penguin show and the chance for up to 12 guests to meet the waddling locals. The zoo’s resident meerkats and armadillos are open to a meet and greet too, which works well as a breakout activity.
BEST known as a restaurant and evening event space, Vanilla has now moved into daytime hire, offering a trendy location for business meetings of up to 30. A cool LED lighting system allows you to choose the room’s hue and there’s a brand new sound system in there too, ensuring delegates can hear those motivational speeches.
World-famous royal residence Kensington Palace has been given a £12m refurbishment, with a whole new event space now on offer. The Hub on the ground floor (reception capacity 300) has a clean, contemporary style, contrasting dramatically with the rest of the historic venue. New exhibitions Victoria Revealed and Jubilee – a View from the Crowd, will also be available for private viewings.
The Tower of London has announced the opening of a new exhibition of the world-famous Crown Jewels. The Jewel House can be booked for drinks receptions or private viewings, with space for up to 80 guests.
Late Night London’s Gow’s Restaurant in the city is relaunching this week, following a light redecoration. As part of the revamp, the 200-year-old restaurant will be offering a new menu, focusing on locally sourced, fresh fish.
Creative industry hang out The Hospital Club has reopened its fourth floor, following a three-week revamp. Non-members can book private events in The Loft Lounge – formerly the Games Room – for receptions for up to 60 guests. Also part of the refurb is the 12-seater Chalk Room, a great space for blue-sky meetings or intimate dinners. On the ground-floor the Gallery will be hosting the $40 and a Stratocaster: Henrdrix in London exhibition, which celebrates the icon’s time in the city and the effect it had on his music. The display is open for private viewings, suiting groups of up to 100 guests.
Soho House has refurbished its Dining Room. The space, which is available to non-members, will seat 20 guests on a long table or 42 over three tables. To accompany the refurbishment, there is a new menus.
Turner Prize winning artist Martin Creed has transformed the Gallery restaurant at Sketch, blurring the boundaries between the venue’s menu, design and functionality. There’s room for 250 standing guests.
Eventprofsindex.com launched this week, offering the industry a directory of event professionals on twitter. To get listed alongside @squaremealvande and other industry tweeters, click here.
The Home of Cricket has launched a teambuilding package, offering groups access to the world-class facilities at the venue. Delegates will have the chance to get involved in indoor cricket net sessions.
Arsenal goalkeeper Wojchiech Szczęsny was at Wembley this week to kick off Powerleague’s corporate events programme for 2012. Combine a tournament with a lunch or dinner event at Wembley Stadium.
As we suspected, wedding fever has struck the capital in the wake of Valentine’s Day this week. With showcases popping up all over the place, we’ve compiled a list of our favourites coming up in spring. Check it out here.
The conference facilities at Balls Brothers Minster Exchange have had a facelift to the tune of £250,000. The 250-seater Minster Suite can now be split into three separate spaces for smaller events.
The Design Museum has announced plans to move to the Grade II*-listed Commonwealth Institute in Kensington. Its early days though – it opens for events in 2014 and bookings will be taken starting next year.
City institution 1 Lombard Street threw open its doors to press on Tuesday to show off its freshly spruced-up brasserie and bar. Elegant oak panelling, art-deco mirrors and striking modern art light up the handsome room. A new all-day bar menu accompanies the restaurant’s signature modern European dishes. Now you can enjoy a glass of Champagne or an expertly made Martini at the bar, or take one of the group-friendly booths for a casual lunch meeting.
Organisers booking meetings at the famous Cotswold racecourse will be treated to one of a range of spa treatments, courtesy of Ellenborough Park hotel. The deal is available for bookings of 30 or more delegates.
The world’s most famous racecourse has updated its dress code ready for the 2012 Royal Meeting (19-23 June). Ladies must now wear hats or headpieces in the Royal Enclosure and Gents must sport black shoes and a tie with morning dress.
Warming up for The Games, the Grade II-listed conference centre in Westminster is offering delegates the chance to play Wii Olympics 2012 in breakout sessions throughout meeting days.
Organisers can take a 360˚ virtual tour of the hospitality on offer at some of the UK’s most iconic sport venues thanks to Keith Prowse. Facilities at Wimbledon and Lord's are among the venues that can be explored.
The new year brings a modern new look for Tom Aikens’ eponymous Chelsea restaurant. After six months of closure, the doors opened last week to reveal a pared-back dining space complete with 12-seater PDR.
For corporate screenings where a pack of Jelly Babies just won’t do, Odeon is offering a mid-movie gourmet menu at its new-look Whiteley’s cinema in Bayswater. Teaming up with Rowley Leigh (chef-patron at neighbour Le Café Anglais), the cinema is offering the in-seat meal service in each of its five screens, with waiter service available at the touch of a button.
Be the first to see the famous chef’s newly refurbished Chelsea restaurant ahead of its public opening next year. From now until 23 December, groups of between six and 30 guests can enjoy set menus from £48pp
London’s largest temporary Christmas venue opened its doors for the season with a Cirque de Noel-themed showcase party this week. Read all about its impressive catering and entertainment programme here.
It’s the Agency has teamed up with Master of Wine Isabelle Legeron to offer wine packages exclusive to the agency’s venues. Packages on offer include a Wine Tasting Reception, where guests try 12 selected bottles and the Wine Games, which incorporate blind tastings and trivia. There are also Tutored Tastings for guests keen to gain a greater knowledge of wine and a Food & Wine Matching package with lunch or dinner.
QHotels can give itself a tap on the back, ranking as the top hotel group in the latest Carbon League Table. The company is now second only to Center Parks in hospitality companies ranked in 2011/2012.
Moving Venue has launched a canapé delivery service, aimed at companies wishing to hold informal events in their offices. Orders are supplied within a two-hour timeslot and deliveries to London addresses are free.
It seems we’re all about molecular food of late. Hot on the heels of last week’s Heston Blumenthal-endorsed party at Royal Albert Hall, the team was invited to try some typically outré creations by event caterer Bubble Food, who served up pick-your-own canapés in a Halloween tree, ahead of dinner in a cloud-themed dining room. The black truffle risotto mousse was our favourite. Full event review here.
The Strand Palace Hotel’s Conference & Events Centre refurbishment is now complete. Its state-of-the-art facilities comprise of 11 meeting rooms, accommodating groups of 15 to 200. View all the latest images here.
Jamies wine bar on St Mary at Hill, just off Eastcheap, is offering great deals on food and drinks between 5-7pm, Monday to Friday.
The Royal Albert Hall hosted a fittingly glamorous gathering this week to celebrate its partnership with event caterer “rhubarb”. The V&E team, never shy of a little glitz, were invited to sample some of “rhubarb’s” latest creations – the liquid-nitrogen-poached Gin Fizz was a highlight. We were also delighted to bump in to Heston Blumenthal, who has recently begun working with the caterer. Find out what he had to say here.
Established event organiser The Ultimate Experience has scored a further three-year tenancy at The Artillery Garden at The HAC. The contract with the 2,000-capacity, City-based venue includes the summer and Christmas seasons, typically playing host to high-profile hospitality, fund raising and staff entertainment events. Next year will see the summer season at the venue extended until August for the London 2012 Olympics.
The Livery Room at Pewterers’ Hall has reopened after a £250,000 refurbishment. The revamp combines traditional craft techniques with state-of-the-art lighting and audio visual solutions.
Glaziers Hall has added the award-winning caterer Mosimann’s London to its preferred supplier list in good time for the 2012 Olympics, when the venue will play host to chef Anton Mosimann’s home country Switzerland.
This week saw the official launch of Northall, a 185-cover British restaurant with two handy private spaces. Read more about this and this London’s other hot openings in our Restaurant Roundup.
If it’s good enough for Prince William, it’s definitely good enough for us. Furniture rental company Velvet Living has launched a new range & this summer it was spotted at a dinner for the future King’s charity, ARK. Among the products are Linear Light Bars & Infinity Seating, both of which can be slotted together to create never-ending bars & sofas. Also fresh from the design factory is the colourful Tic Tac collection - lime green & orange poufs, just the ticket to brighten up any event space.
Head chef Abdul Yaseen beat off stiff competition to win the prize for best canapé at our recent Canapé Cup, for the third year in a row. To see pictures from the event, visit our Facebook page
The Saatchi Gallery is to be completely art free for a short time during October and November this year and is available to bespoke events in its 12 gallery spaces. Call 020 8968 9331 to book.
We’re delighted to announce that for the seventh year running, the Venues & Events exhibition has again reported growth, this time showing a 12% increase in visitors. The show was undoubtedly the best yet, with the new-look terrace a huge hit with guests and exhibitors reporting that the calibre of guests was better than ever. Thanks to all 7,821 of you that came along. See you next year!
The stands are built, the visitors are streaming in and Old Billingsgate looks better than ever for the 2011 Square Meal Venues & Events show. This year we welcome JJ Goodman, owner of the London Cocktail Club and winner of TV series The Restaurant, for the brand-new Mixology for Events tasting sessions and Charlotte Lurot, the events guru behind London Fashion Week, for a creative workshop. It’s not too late to sign up, or you can register on the door.
City favourite Jamies has just opened an event-only venue next to its Fleet Place property. The space, christened Jamies Too, is available to hire seven days a week.
Church House Conference Centre has upped its sustainability credentials by installing a water purifier at the venue. All H20 will be bottled on site.
This year's Venues & Events exhibition is now less than three weeks away &, just in case you haven't already decided to join us at Old Billingsgate on 21 & 22 September, we thought we'd serve up ten good reasons why this really is the event show you can't afford to miss. From news on all the latest venue launches to free food, networking opportunities and hands-on event advice for the year ahead , we'll have it all covered.
Still not booked your office Christmas party? Struggling for inspiration? Worried that you’ve missed out on the best dates? Then head to Square Meal’s Venues & Events exhibition on 21 and 22 September for the top Christmas party organisers and venues all under one roof. For a free ticket, register here.
YOU MAY be more familiar with St. James’ Inamo restaurant for being the only venue in London where you can have interactive games like Battleships beamed onto your table top while you wait for food. Well now it’s been brought to the next level for events, as the venue has launched the technology that allows interactive company branding to be projected onto the table. It allows guests to use the software to choose bespoke canapés and cocktails.
To celebrate the opening of a new Powerleague venue in the shadow of the stadium, Wembley is launching teambuilding packages for corporate five-a-side matches. The Premier Package costs £150 per team of seven players, where each team gets a minimum of three games. Choose from add-ons including stadium tours and lunch in one of Wembley’s pitch-side facilities.
Surrey’s gorgeous Foxhills resort has just had its bedrooms upgraded. It also has a brand-new driving range for golfers to use before playing one of the top courses on site.
The good weather is no doubt sending event planners into a frenzy as they look to source the hottest rooftop spaces for summer events over the coming weeks. One of our favourites at the moment is Vista at The Trafalgar (tel: 020 7870 2900), which opened last month with a lavish party. As the name suggests, the view is pretty stunning, looking out over Trafalgar Square and beyond. Book the space in its entirety for 200 stand-up guests, or take smaller tables and sip Pommery Champagne cocktails as the sun goes down.
The multifaceted east London event venue has just announced that it has implemented a food-recycling scheme that will see 100% of its food waste composted. It already boasts some of the greenest credentials possible, with BS8901 accreditation and a policy that all food served comes from within 250 miles of the venue. The addition of the new pledge makes it one of the eco-friendly venues in town.
London’s Met Bar has put its interiors up for sale in an eBay charity auction, this morning. In preparation for a total refurbishment, the legendary watering hole is selling off furniture including private booths that Kate Moss & Johnny Depp huddled in, DJ decks Kings of Leon mixed on & stools Liam Gallagher perched on. The starting price for the entire collection is £5000, with all the proceeds being donated to Teens Unite Fighting Cancer. The venue will be closed from 31 July until September while the renovations take place.
We’re pleased as punch to report that our sister publication, on-trade drinks bible Imbibe, has just posted rip-roaring figures for its second ever exhibition, Imbibe Live. Held at Earl’s Court 2, visitor numbers were up 64% on last year, with buyers and exhibitors alike lavishing praise on the layout and calibre of attendees. Over 1,500 drinks brands were on site, including the biggest names in the business. The show returns next year on 3 and 4 July.
Tottenham Court Road’s Dominion Theatre has just unveiled its new Boardroom space, fresh from a £200k refurbishment. The room hosts 28 delegates with a break-out area and has power points at every seat, with Wi-Fi, projector and Sonos wireless music system. The theatre takes its conferencing credentials seriously, with seven other spaces available for myriad size events. DDRs start from £59.95 in the new Boardroom, which includes lunch, selected from a range of menus.
Docklands premier event venue East Wintergarden has successfully cut its energy use through the implementation of ‘smart glass’ technology.
Fast becoming the largest venue group in town, etc.venues has this week launched its 11th location with a plum location in Victoria. One Drummond Gate comes hot on the heels of its venue in Paddington Basin, which opened back in April. The venue has 11 bright-and-airy meeting spaces, styled in the group’s trademark colour scheme. Conferences are available for up to 250 theatre style, with reception events of up to 350 catered for in the on-site restaurant. A real boon is the property’s outside space – a rarity for this part of town.
Just launched with an ‘industrial and elegant’ vibe is SOCIeTY Bar and Restaurant, set next to Blackfriars tube. It’s a flexible venue happy to accommodate a range of group options, be it parties and launches for up to 400 across the whole venue, or smaller, yet still sizable, gatherings of up to 150 in its subterranean private room. An outside space is available for all patrons to use, but can’t be hired independently.
Tuesday night saw the launch party for Pontoon, a luxury yacht moored at St Katharine Dock that’s going to double as an exclusive events venue for the summer. Guests sipped on Pommery Champagne & grazed on canapés including grapes in goats’ cheese & pistachio while a jazz quartet provided the tunes. Pontoon can be booked for events till September & can pipe aboard up to 60 guests (10 of whom can sleep on the boat).
In an event industry first, Altitude has opened a shop on Facebook to sell packages. Customers can make bookings through the store and take advantage of promotions.
The rapidly expanding Grand Union chain have just launched a sprawling bar, just around the corner from Edgware Road station. It can hold up to 400 for receptions, with extra space outside by the canals of Paddington Basin if things get too sweaty. Menus major on towering burgers and well-turned-out pub staples, and there's a late licence where DJs pump out funk, soul and indie hits into the wee small hours. Call 020 7723 5106 to book.
Jérôme Ponchelle, head chef at The Capital, has just launched a menu to celebrate the hotel’s 40th birthday. It will feature the restaurant’s favourite dishes from the last four decades, with input from The Capital’s previous head chef, Brian Turner. The menu is priced at £70 per person and available in the light-and-airy, 25-seater Cadogan Suite, as well as the two smaller private rooms, hosting 14 and 10 respectively. Check out the menu
Last night saw the Concerto Group add yet another iconic events space to its empire, with the launch of OXO2 on the South Bank. Formed as a joint venture between the industry giants and Coin Street Community Builders, the venue has been transformed to accommodate conferences, dinners of around 100 and receptions for up to 400 guests. More than 300 agents and corporate buyers enjoyed flavoursome spring season-inspired canapés and zesty cocktails, courtesy of preferred caterers Create Food and Party Design. Miniature tartlets of caramelised onion, feta and oven roasted cherry tomato; the verrine of seared trout nicoise and steak tartare with horseradish crème fraiche all proved particularly popular. Subtle column lighting complemented the venue’s pared-back interior and stunning vista across the Thames, while the adjacent balcony provided a haven for guests to soak up some spring evening warmth.
We’ve just unveiled our glossy new look, with an intuitive search engine and more user-friendly venue pages. As you can see the pictures are bigger, giving you a better idea of the space available, with easy access to a virtual tour of the venue. The new filtering facility allows event organisers to pinpoint suitable venues quickly and easily, just by entering one or two keywords. We’ll keep you updated on new features we add to the site during its development. For now, try entering your favourite location into the search bar and see if we can come up with anything you didn't know about.
Fun-time bar and nightclubs purveyor Late Night London has just launched a new outpost in the heart of Covent Garden. Called Foundation, the new bar will specialise in quirky cocktails, serving mixes in teapots, smoking beakers, mini barrels and jam jars. Food will be more upmarket than its other venues, with steak, lobster and sea bass well featured. The whole bar can be hired out for 500 guests, with smaller spaces available for around 45. Call 020 7836 5005 to book.
The 87-bedroom Jumeirah Lowndes Hotel has just revamped its terrace space, bringing with it a Pommery Champagne bar and a summery new look. Hosting a maximum of 48 guests, the area has sprawling views over the surrounding area and with a location a stone’s throw from Harrrods and Harvey Nicks, it’s sure to be popular with thirsty shoppers as the weather hots up. A range of BBQ sharing menus and cocktails work perfectly for groups.
New head chef at The May Fair Hotel, Silvena Rowe, is launching a range of indulgent packages for corporate groups, pairing exclusive drinks with top-end food. Named ‘150’ after the 150cl of fizz in magnum of Champagne, the tasting experiences are designed for groups of 12, including four bottles of vintage bubbles matched with four canapés for each guest. The Dom Pérignon Vintage Rosé 1998 menu follows the canapés with delights like diver-caught scallops and West Mersea native oysters. Sevruga caviar and foie gras are also features. The top package comes in at £4,400 for a group.
Arguably the most exhilarating teambuilding experience on the market has just launched its summer sailing series. Clipper Events is inviting companies to take control of one of its 68-foot, round-the-world calibre yachts and race against other firms on the Solent. Packages are priced at £3,500 per 12-man vessel, which includes all food for the day, full training and three races in the afternoon against nine other identical craft.
The Piccadilly venue, just across from The Ritz, is launching a wine tasting package for events. In partnership with Hamish Anderson, head sommelier at Tate Britain’s award-winning restaurant, Audi quattro rooms has developed a list of top-end wines to be tasted in groups of around 125 guests. Prices start from £100 per person for a tasting session and canapé receptions, but extras can be added on. See the wines.
Cookery teambuilding is all the rage at the moment and no one does it better than Wigmore Street-based L’atelier des Chefs. In a light-and-airy, custom-built learning kitchen which can host up to 50 students at a time, guests can either learn to cook a pre-ordained meal under the tutelage of an experienced chef or take part in a fun menu-planning and design session. Until the end of April, bookers are also being offered a free ‘dinner in an hour’ course for two people.
Fast becoming one of London’s most all-encompassing venues, Chelsea Football Club has just launched the latest in its lineup of stellar spaces. Under the Bridge is a nightclub-style, exclusive-use space, perfect for parties of up to 600 guest, or dinners of 300. It comes with a funky industrial look, seriously top-end AV kit, full-length bar and stage setup. Launching last week with a top set from BRIT Award-winner Ellie Goulding, it's clear the venue’s perfect for concerts, product launches and awards dinners.
Being one of the most popular places to see modern art in London, The Saatchi Gallery rarely comes available to the events market to hire as a blank-canvas space. When the opportunity does arise between artwork changes, event planners jump at the chance. The gallery has availability coming up this year, with a few dates in May, October and November. The modern venue can host up to 1,500, but is equally at home with hosting smaller meetings and receptions. Call 020 8968 9331 to enquire.
The City’s latest vertigo-inducing event space launched last night with aplomb. Set at the summit of Nido Tower, Sky Lounge can host 150 guests for a reception or dinner for about 50. The white-walled, split-level room has floor-to-ceiling windows, offering up pretty spectacular views of the Gherkin, Tower 42 and the Inside-Out (Lloyds) Building. Break-out space is also available, doubling nicely as meeting or presentation space. Top drawer caterer Nomad provides the food, while Fisher has been installed to do the production. Call Industri on 020 7269 7935 to book.
Harrods’ new Tasting Room, hidden within The Wine Shop on the Lower Ground Floor, has opened its doors. As you’d expect from the location, it’s an ideal venue for a wine tasting, with over 3,000 different lines available from the famous shop, which can be enjoyed with a corkage fee of £15 across the board (the store’s sommeliers are delighted to help you choose bottles). There’s room for up to 16 guests to enjoy a sit-down lunch or dinner, too, with menus created by Harrods’ own chefs. Full conference facilities are available on request.
Last Thursday, 423 of the Square Mile’s finest joined together at Guildhall for quite possibly the City culinary extravaganza of the year, with 12 of the world’s top chefs each designing and making a dish for a five-course banquet. Square Mile Salute was designed to raise money for a range of soldiers’ charities, including Help for Heroes and The Royal British Legion. Mayor of London Boris Johnson introduced the night, before Jeremy Clarkson rounded it off by introducing a charity auction. The auction raised a whopping £240,000, with the top-earning lot going for £60,000.
All Star Lanes is turning its bowling-gloved hand to meetings, with fantastic rates, starting from £23pp, including lunch. Bowling and/or karaoke is extra. MORE
Square Meal is happy to reveal that Matter in The O2 Arena, London’s largest superclub, is to be redesigned and reopened as Proud2, following in the footsteps of the Camden nightspot. The club will first open to the public with its Bacchus night on Saturday 5 March, showcasing its brand of Ibizan-style ‘experience clubbing’ on a huge scale. Expect fire breathers, trapeze artists and snake charmers throughout – worlds away from the previous incarnation’s raw, stark and industrial style. All levels of the club have been re-worked, with various snugs and VIP lounges dotted around the venue available to private hire.
Pictures just in of the 10-seater private dining room at Dinner by Heston Blumenthal. The room reflects the restaurant's traditional British style, with leather-padded walls, wooden ceiling beams and an antique oriental rug. The three-course set lunch starts from £28, featuring dishes such as Ragoo of Pigs Ears and Orange Buttered Loaf. To be one of the first to book the space, call 020 7201 3833.
Last Thursday saw Banqueting House in Whitehall taken over by the Scottish Exhibition and Conference Centre for its annual Burns Night celebration. Over 150 guests including members of the press and top industry buyers enjoyed a slap-up, four-course Scottish supper underneath the Rubens fresco, in the venue where Charles I ended his days, hung from a second-floor window. Rabbie Burns poetry recitals were regular throughout the night, with the evening finishing on a traditional ceilidh dance.
Cantonese restaurant the Grand Imperial launched last night as part of the £18m ongoing refurbishment at The Grosvenor Hotel in Victoria. The 143-cover restaurant is available for private hire, with vaulted ceilings, intricately crafted pillars and an elongated marble bar serving a range of Asian-inspired cocktails. The 20-seater private dining room is the stand-out space, put together in tandem by a top Chinese interior designer and Feng-Shui master. We’d recommend the cracking dim sum selection for business lunches and the hand-rolled Peking duck for decadent dinners.
The classically-styled Biscuit Pin bowling alley at meeja favourite Shoreditch House is offering all-inclusive parties for £2,500 a night. The two-lane alley can host a maximum of 70 people, with the price including a hand-picked selection of party food from the venue’s hearty Bites & Tubs menu and an all-night open bar offering unlimited beer and soft drinks. The offer is open to club members and non-members alike, along with the rest of the exclusive fourth-floor event space.
Voted Ireland's most romantic hotel, The Ritz-Cartlon Powerscourt has just unveiled its new Romantic Suite in time for Valentine's. A trip to the hotel makes the ideal incentive trip or employee reward. MORE
Michelin-starred chef Tom Aikens is launching the eponymous Tom’s Events, to be based at Somerset House. Coming off the back of four venue openings at the Grade I-listed, 500-capacity venue, Aikens’ company will team up with experienced event organisers to provide a bespoke event-planning service to make the most of the venue’s myriad rooms. Menus on offer will showcase Aikens’ traditional British style, with ingredients sourced from regional suppliers.
If the annual January detox is starting to grate, head down to Bentley’s on Swallow Street for a bit of virtuous decadence. The Oyster Bar and Grill is offering half-a-dozen oysters (less than 10 calories each) and a glass of Muscadet (100 calories a glass) for just £9.95. Group bookings are available for lunchtime and evening sittings, with the 60-seater Jameson Room ideal for working lunches and early-year morale boosters.
The Westminster venue has just announced that free Wi-Fi is available for all conference clients throughout the 400-capacity venue, as well as Brasserie One. MORE.
The spanking-new Mint Hotel, Tower of London is now open for business. The hotel boasts iMac computers in each room, fresh, contemporary design and light and airy bedrooms. MORE
With London doing a passable impersonation of Narnia, The Phene in Chelsea’s Winter Garden, which launched in flurry of snowflakes last week, couldn’t have been better timed. Frosty white sofas sit beneath heated canopies, where guests can enjoy hot whisky toddies and mulled wine. If you start to chill out too literally, retreat inside to the stylish bar and lounge – the Phene recently reopened after a tasteful refurb, so think clubby townhouse rather than local boozer.
Book an event on selected dates at one of the five Cavendish Conference Venues across town and receive a free iPod Nano. Agents are also being offered 20% commission. MORE
The ice rink, Skate, has just opened for its winter residency at Somerset House, with tickets available from £10.50. For team outings, we’d suggest a couple of winter warmers Tom’s Skate Lounge après skate. MORE
The latest link in Tommi Miers’ Mexican chain is the first to offer event space. Its basement bar can be hired for groups of 60 guests, with room for drinking, dining & table football. The food lends itself perfectly to sharing (ask for large platters of tacos, quesadillas & taquitos) & we loved the new tequila flight, which sees El Tesoro’s blanco, reposado & aňejo varieties served on a wooden presentation board with a shot of sangrita – it will change the way you look at tequila forever. Call 020 7734 0195 for reservations.
Every winter the five-star Berkeley hotel in Knightsbridge opens a rooftop cinema for guests. This year though, non-residents can come and enjoy the line up of winter classics, like It’s a Wonderful Life and Miracle on 24th Street, while snuggling under Mulberry blankets and sipping on hot chocolate. The cinema package costs £50pp, which includes access to the movie theatre, heated swimming pool and health club for the evening. Call 020 7201 1699 to book. The cinema’s open until 15 February 2011.
The Kitchen Library chef’s table launches this week at Corrigan’s Mayfair. Beautifully styled with dark-wood paneling, it can seat eight in the heart of the kitchen. MORE
Masculine afternoon teas are popping up all over London. Latest to eschew clotted cream and fairy cakes is the Hyatt Regency London – The Churchill, which has just introduced a Churchillian High Tea. Served from 3pm to 7pm, it runs through the full gamut of the great man’s favourites: potted shrimps, cheese on toast, crumpets, smoked salmon, shepherd’s pie, roast beef and Yorkshires, followed up with treacle tart, éclairs, fruit cake and sherry trifle. For the full Churchill, opt for a Martini or glass of Chablis or Pinot Noir at £35, over the standard £29.
Anyone stuck in the snarled-up traffic in southwest London late last night will have been cursing Agatha Christie. The grand dame of crime fiction would be 120 this year, so to celebrate Orient-Express has transported a 1928 carriage from its British Pullman train to the South Bank for the BFI’s Agatha Christie Weekend. You can step aboard from Thursday through to Sunday, under the watchful eye of a Poirot lookalike. The British Pullman train is, of course, available to book for corporate days, but please don’t base a teambuilding exercise around doing away with an annoying colleague. Call 020 7921 4000 for more info.
Just released to the events market, INC Space in Covent Garden is one of the hottest new venues in town at the moment. Originally a members’ club, it has some awesome facilities for brainstorming sessions, creative meetings and receptions. A DDR of £65 is competitive for this part of town, with some exclusive add-ons, like a concierge service and gym facilities that you’d struggle to find outside a members’ club of this quality. Maximum capacity is 200 for a reception.
Tucked away in Soho’s Kingly Street, sleek private members’ club Bureau is now available to private hire for the first time ever. Available seven days a week for a maximum of 120 guests, the once-nightclub is perfect for upmarket receptions. Its discreet location – you may’ve walked past many times without realising it was there – makes it ideal for product launches and intimate events. The event space is seriously service driven, with innovative tableside mixology delivered from a roving cocktail trolley for private groups. For more information, call Claire on 020 7494 4386.
It was all hands on deck this week for the relaunch of HMS President 1918, which was celebrating its recent refurbishment and appointment of sole caterer Dish. President has six event spaces, but our tip is to grab the President’s Suite, comprising three areas – The Wrennery, Captain’s Quarters and Foredeck, with dramatic views of the London Eye. President, which is a stone’s throw from Temple Tube, can accommodate groups of eight for meetings, up to 350 for a reception and 240 for sit-down dinners.
One of London's leading caterers, Rhubarb, has just been announced as the official provider at The Royal Albert Hall. Already installed at the London Eye, it's a great coup for the firm.
Self-styled meeting gurus etc. venues has added a seventh London venue to its London line-up. 120 Moorgate is now open.
Well established in the on-trade for providing top-end training to some of the best bar tenders in the world, Shaker is offering its hi-tech Hoxton HQ to the events world. With a high-spec meeting and training facility hosting 60 to complement its 10m-long boutique bar, it makes a perfect City retreat for meetings followed by booze-based teambuilding. We recommend the Molecular Mixology classes… become the Blumenthal of the bar world in no time
This year’s Venues & Events exhibition couldn’t have been better. An awesome 7,129 of you came out to play and enjoy what’s now described as ‘the Glastonbury of the events industry’. We’re already planning 2011 and have plenty more fun things in store, with the Terrace expanding and even more new restaurant clients on the Gallery level. Thanks to everyone that showed up to take part in the two days – look forward to seeing you next year!
After a couple of minor delays, the Hotel Verta was opened by Von Essen hotels today next to the Battersea Heliport – London’s vertical getaway. After an exclusive tour last week, we can tell you that it looks absolutely stunning. A stylish black and chrome theme runs throughout the hotel, from the meeting suites to the restaurant, right down to the subterranean spa. The bedrooms are kitted out with the latest AV kit: all rooms have TVs in the bathroom, touch-sensitive heating and lighting with Wi-Fi throughout. Check out our picture tour in the autumn magazine.
Quintessentially Soho at The House of St Barnabas has extended its licence until December. Check out the new afternoon tea. MORE
Head to 116 Pall Mall - Home of the IoD for an easy option party. For £65pp, unlimited drinks and nibbles will be provided MORE
London’s most iconic landmark has called in the big guns to look after its sky-high catering. Renowned for its funky food designs at some of the most high-profile parties in town, rhubarb has put together a canapé list for The London Eye to go with individual capsule hire for private events. On top of the £440 capsule hire cost (which holds 25 guests), a selection of canapés are available for £320. Other popular corporate packages on The Eye are: Campagne Cocktail parties, Green & Black’s Chocolate Tastings, Vinopolis Wine Tasting and Pommery Champange Tasting.
The Victoria-based Grosvenor Hotel is just about to undergo an £18m investment programme. Taking the same approach to modern design and large-scale entertaining that made it the go-to hotel for big events, the refurbishment will see a restyle of all bedrooms, restaurants and bars. A new Cantonese restaurant, The Grand Imperial, is also set to open in autumn, with a state-of-the-art gym set to follow close behind.
The party was in full swing last night as 280 Square Meal readers joined the team at No.11 Cavendish Square for a celebration of all things summertime. No.11 opened up its glass-roofed atrium and terrace space to partygoers, as caterer Ampersand served up some seriously innovative canapés and other tasty treats. Lashings of fruit-laden Pimm’s followed fizz on arrival, while a swing band banged out tunes to get everyone in the mood. For anyone looking to book the newly refurbished space for Christmas parties, there a still a few dates left.
Rooftop bars are all the rage at the moment, springing up all over town. The latest one to join the high-rise hierarchy lies on the sixth floor of the Trafalgar Hotel, suitable entitled Vista. Kitted out by the same design agency that did Whisky Mist, the bar has a Mediterranean feel, with stunning viewing points to look out all over town. A partnership with Pommery sees the Champagne well taken care of, while a light-bites menu is available specifically for the bar. Call 020 7870 2900 to book the space.
Sandy beaches, azure seas and terracotta sunsets… Not exactly what you’d associate with Hilton Heathrow. But for a limited time, the four-star hotel has imported an artificial beach, specifically for meetings and events. OK, we can’t guarantee the sunsets or seas, but the beach comes equipped for quirky, relaxed meetings, with capacity to host 42 delegates seated, or 200 standing. The hotel has 395 bedrooms and 32 meeting suites.
The Natural History Museum couldn’t have asked for a more perfect evening for last night’s launch of the stunning terrace at the £78m Darwin Centre. Some 250 guests sipped pink prosecco & soaked up the views of the sweeping amphitheatre & gleaming façade. A summery line-up of skewers, salads & savoury pastries was served by the-recipe & parkour runners provided suitably contemporary entertainment. The huge terrace adds a reception space to the Darwin Centre’s sleek 400-capacity interior & can also be used before dinner in the iconic Central Hall.
London’s largest event space, ExCeL London, has just got bigger, following a two-year, £165m expansion project. Boris Johnson joined a team of prominent Dubai-based politicians and businessmen to open the extension, which will see the east London venue able to host an additional 5,000 delegates in a 32,500sq m facility – equivalent to an extra 14 football pitches. The expansion also sees the ExCeL become London’s largest banqueting hall, able to host 3,000 diners, served from the largest production kitchen in the UK.
The Altitude 360 team have leapt on the latest Apple toy, the iPad. They will be using the iPad to show prospective clients floor plans, images of previous events, videos and menus instantly. Events at your fingertips… MORE
Portugal's first match, against the Ivory Coast, is today. If you want to party with its star player - and the most expensive signing in the world - Ronaldo, there's no need to trek all the way to South Africa. Baker Street is as far as you need go to rub shoulders with your own personal fantasy football league. Ronaldo is the latest addition to the the Madame Tussauds team, joining Steven Gerrard and David Beckham. Organisers hosting events at Madame Tussauds during the World Cup will also be able to request matches on plasma screens available throughout the venue as part of their package.
Square Meal had exclusive access to the biggest launch of 2010 last night as the landmark Museum of London opened its doors for the first time to a star-studded VIP event after a £20.5m refurb. Boris Johnson was joined by Michael Caine and Barbara Windsor for the grand unveiling, taking place in the centrepiece Sackler Hall, complete with it’s visually and architecturally stunning LED Curtain, which, they hope, will soon be granted status as the largest digital clock in the world. High-end caterers Rocket put together the food, with plenty of traditional London dishes (yes, there were jellied eels!), yummy canapés and sushi.
As election results came in from across the country on 6 May, now prime minister David Cameron was up until dawn celebrating his 20,000-vote Witney constituency win. The main man spent the small hours celebrating in The River Room, part of the Altitude 360 venue collection, where he gave a stirring speech to the Tory party faithful, as our picture shows. Located a few floors below Conservative Party HQ in Millbank Tower, The River Room can host 650 for a reception and was pretty much fit to burst with Tory members celebrating the end of a hard-fought election campaign.
Last night heralded the inauguration of one of the most prestigious trophies in the event industry: the Square Meal All Star Lanes cup. Joined by some of the king pins from the UK’s top venues and suppliers, we took over the private room at the Brick Lane ASL venue. After getting stuck in to the yummy cocktail list and diner-style canapés, competition turned fierce, as nine teams were whittled down to a three for a rousing final end. We’re proud to say our very own Laura ‘Disco Dicko’ Dickinson lead her bowlers to victory. The trophy pin now has pride of place on the V&E sales team pod.
As election fever swept over London last night, the Home of Cricket opened its doors to the third Square Meal reader event of the year. Taking place exactly five years on from the previous election bash we held at Lord’s, you were out in force, having cast your marks in polling stations all over town. With so much of the stadium to cover, guided tours started in the 800-capacity Nursery Pavilion, swinging by the ultra-modern Media Centre, finishing up in the prestigious and history-packed Long Room, by way of the England players’ dressing room. Delicious bowl food was flowing all night, alongside lashings of Pimm’s and Lord’s-branded Champers.
Fast becoming the London venue for ultra-cool awards ceremonies, the Brewery can now add another to its list of regulars. The inaugural British Inspiration Awards took place last Friday at the venue, to join the Kerrang! and MOJO Awards on its line-up of annual celebrations. The awards were designed to honour the top creative, entrepreneurial and inspirational talent we have in Britain today. Winners included: Michael Eavis, James Dyson, Sir Terrance Conran and a posthumous award for Alexander McQueen. Richard Madeley hosted the ceremony, where Ant and Dec and Phillip Schofield also presented awards. Music from Reverend & the Makers – who played an innovative set backed by a gospel choir – brought the event to a close.
London’s first ‘green’ hotel launched last night with a lavish Thameside party. Rafayel on the Left Bank, the brainchild of entrepreneur Iqbal Latif, celebrated its official opening on its decked 200-capacity third-floor terrace, while the Nirvana Lounge inside the hotel took on an ‘Oscars Night’ theme. Tasty and trendy pan-Asian nibbles kept guests well fed, provided by the in-house caterers from the on-site restaurant, Banyan on the Thames. Right next to London Heliport, it’s a great spot to host a party and watch the sun go down as the glitterati hover away over the horizon.
Palm Court, the tearoom at the Langham hotel, has been awarded the Tea Guild's Top London Afternoon Tea 2010 Award, the so-called 'oscars of the tea room'. Palm Court is where the traditional of afternoon tea began, 145 years ago, so they should know what they're doing by now. Their award-winning tea menu includes delicate finger sandwiches (cucumber is on the list, naturally), Valrhona chocolate eclairs, scones and clotted cream and and as the afternoon wears on, a glass of Champagne to follow your Earl Grey. The tearoom, which has undergone a £80m refurbishment in recent years, was praised by judges who singled out its 'light and airy' setting, 'beautiful furnishings', as well as its 'exceptional service'. The Tea Guild's Top London Afternoon Tea Award, which is now in its 25th year, is decided by undercover inspectors, who award points for the variety and quality of the teas offered, together with the quality of food, service, décor, ambience, and presentation.
It would be fair to expect that the Royal Institute of British Architects knows its stuff when it comes to good venues. Our high hopes were rewarded last Wednesday with the launch of the impressive new 120 capacity terrace at RIBA HQ designed by Dan Pearson Studios. Complete with its own 'living garden' and funky outside sofas, it’s perfect for summer parties. It can be hired alongside the art deco Florence Hall, or used for wind-down drinks after a meeting in one the 23 newly refurbished meeting rooms.
Since opening last November, Chinese Cricket Club has been making waves with its brand of modern Sichuan cooking. To introduce guests to the region’s food, it has just launched an innovative teambuilding package. Seated round a table in front of executive chef de cuisine, Brendan Speed (formerly of Zuma Istanbul), guests will be taken through how to make the restaurant’s signature dishes & the ingredients that go into their construction. At £57 for a six-course banquet per person, it makes a great alternative to the traditional wine tasting or cookery masterclasses. The restaurant's based in the flagship branch of Crowne Plaza, in Blackfriars.
To add a bit of culture to your drinks reception, head to the Hyatt Regency London – The Churchill for the Frieze Art Fair. As part of the hotel’s ongoing association with modern art, the exhibition showcases a series of abstract pieces and work by the acclaimed Patrick Hughes. The exhibition is best viewed in conjunction with a reception in the adjacent library lobby, holding a maximum of 120, stand up.
Entertain guests alongside an international programme of modern and contemporary art by hosting a Business Breakfast at Whitechapel Gallery. Early morning private views include exclusive access to the ‘Where Three Dreams Cross’, exhibition featuring modern photographs of life in India, Pakistan and Bangladesh. Choose between a breakfast or canapé reception served by well-established caterer, Vacherin. Prices start from £20pp based on a minimum of 100 guests.
Why not take staff to party with the monkeys, or lounge around with the lizards this summer? London Zoo is making an animal-themed event all the more appealing this year, offering a free cocktail party worth £1,000 for all parties booked for over 40 people.
Ever the early bird, the Brewery burst into summer last night with the launch of its spectacular new menu. One of the most innovative and off-the-wall launches we’ve had the pleasure to attend, its ‘Trashed’ theme showed incredibly detailed theming and seriously sophisticated cooking. From the personalised wheelie bin that held the cutlery, to the deconstructed neon signs that lit the rooms, it will make a perfect summer party space.
Wednesday saw the launch of a new Nicolas Feuillatte Champagne Bar at Vinopolis. During the day, the space, conceived by hot French designer Christian Ghion, forms part of the venue’s Wine Tour. By night, it makes a great entertainment area for up to 70 guests. We’d use it to stage a tasting of some of the diverse Champagnes in the Nicolas Feuillatte range, most definitely including the excellent Rosé Vintage – a brightly coloured but very delicate wine, perfect for a summer party.
Fresh off the back of a £3m facelift, No.11 Cavendish Square launched with a lavish party last night. Square Meal joined over 300 guests to sample what the venue had to offer, from its all-new summer menu featuring a truly superb Eton Mess, to Black Velvet cocktails in honour of St Patrick himself. Previously known only as The King’s Fund, the No.11 branding brings the venue into the event world with some stellar spaces: the Georgian-styled Treasurer’s Room, seating 16, and the light-and-airy Conservatory, holding 200.
Our second reader event of the year last night went with a swing. Celebrating the refurbishment of London’s most central venue, The Northumberland, we invited 500 of you to come and check out the space over Champagne, cocktails and bowl food aplenty. ‘Chips and Champagne,’ one reader remarked. ‘I couldn’t be happier!’ We’d have to agree – the trademark Boyd’s chip cones and lobster bisque were delicious. Service from Off to Work made the event run smoothly. Check out the pics.
THE GRADE II-listed Stoke Newington Town Hall has been restored to its original art deco glory. After a two-year, multimillion-pound refit courtesy of Hackney Council, the much-loved 1930s civic building has a stunning new interior, complemented by what the venue claims to be the largest mirror ball in Europe (1.5m in diameter, for all you disco fiends). Two new spaces are now available to hire: the 70-capacity Council Chamber and the Assembly Hall, both with vaulted ceilings and state-of-the-art AV facilities.
If you noticed the plumes of smoke rising over east London this morning, we are sorry to inform you that The East Room, one of the city’s premier members’ clubs, caught fire around 4am. The club and bar Sosho beneath have been completely gutted and subsequently have had to cancel all events. The venue will be in touch to inform those who previously held bookings.
Londoners have long wondered what was to come of Battersea Power Station; last night they found out. In a party to celebrate the launch of The Boiler House – an Arena marquee dropped into the shell of the building – the 15 caterers from the venue’s preferred list went head to head showing off their wares to a willing audience of over 1,000. Production gurus Fisher, who have the sole contract at the venue, put on a truly fabulous show, with the walls of the building illuminated with the logos of the venue’s various providers.
Congratulations to the London Eye, which hits double digits this year. Since opening ten years ago, the Eye has welcomed a staggering 36 million visitors, rotated 45,000 times, hosted 433 weddings, and has established itself as an iconic part of the London skyline. In celebration, from 7pm today, all visitors to the London Eye will enjoy an impressive light show as they rotate, plus a free glass of Pommery Champagne. If you can’t make it tonight, there will also be a special limited allocation of 10am celebratory birthday flights each morning through March, available at a reduced price of £10.
City livery company Grocers’ Hall is hosting an exhibition of the works of celebrated 1950s stained-glass-window maker and painter, John Piper. Various tenants of his work from across the country have loaned their pieces to produce the exhibition, which showcases never-before-seen artefacts, including his oil-on-canvas of the Piazza Navona in Rome and his iconic Brighton Pavilion, from 1938. The exhibition won’t be open to the public, but is free to view for those hosting functions at the hall.
Ever fancied treating your team with a trip to New York for the morning? Or maybe Prague or Hong Kong? Flight simulator iPilot has just launched at Westfield and makes an innovative teambuilding experience. Take it in turns to fly and land a plane into the world’s most famous airports. A Champagne and canapé reception can be easily built in, as can dinner packages at the centre’s restaurants.
A stylish new bar in the sleek and curvy Kings Place complex, Rotunda has launched cocktail making masterclasses for corporate groups. One of the most reasonably-priced cocktail classes on the market, for £30 per head, guests are greeted with a glass of fizz, before learning to shake and make four of the most popular cocktails on the market. Led by one of the best bartenders in town, imbibe favourite Scott Wallace, learn the tricks of the trade before slurping away the results over a hearty range of bar snacks.
<<p> One of the most fashionable members’ clubs around with certainly the most heritage, Portman Square’s Home House has just been made even slicker by luxury interior designers, Candy & Candy. Already replete with futuristic designs from the award-winning Zaha Hadid, the new look maintains the 18th-century glamour that the club built its reputation on, bringing in elegant linear patterns and a dark colour palette. Check out the new '21' spaces for private hire.
A Park Plaza ‘art’otel’ – as the name suggests – is a cross between a gallery and a hotel, styled entirely by a well-known contemporary artist. Seven examples already exist in Germany and have received widespread critical acclaim.
The new hotel will be built on the site of The Foundry, a gallery-cum-pub close to the hearts of many in the Hoxton/Shoreditch arts community. Featuring an original work by Banksy on the walls, its demolition has caused controversy among locals, with Pete Doherty coming out in support of the venue.
Park Plaza is trying to find a new home for The Foundry and incorporate Banksy's existing art into the design.
Shanghai Surprise Guoman Hotels is expanding east: the 442-bedroom Guoman Shanghai which opened on 1 June, joins the four London outposts, The Royal Horseguards, The Cumberland, The Tower and Charing Cross. The five-star hotel is arranged over 26 floors, two of them dedicated to Eastern-inspired restaurants and bars. There’s a touch of British indulgence in the fleet of Guoman-operated black cabs, which are on hand to transport guests round the city. The property is geared up for large-scale events, too – the Ballroom seats up to 750 theatre-style and there are 11 state-of-art conference rooms.
Big news for Greenwich as AEG Europe has applied for detailed planning consent to build a four-star hotel right next to The O2 Arena. If granted, the world’s most popular music venue will have a 3,000-capacity dedicated event space on its doorstep, as well as serviced apartments and 450 bedrooms. The site has outline consent and will expect an answer soon.
Hundreds of you turned out last night for our first reader event of the decade, this time held at the City’s One Moorgate Place. The recently rebranded venue – previously known as Chartered Accountants Hall – took on a Janurary ‘Detox/Retox’ theme. Guests began by sampling virtuous canapés and sushi, before heading down to the all-new One Moorgate Place Restaurant for devilish desserts, cheese and cocktails.
Fans of etc.venues’ London events’ space, Dexter House will be excited to learn that the company has added a specialist conference and exhibition floor to the venue which now encompasses three floors. The new space offers complete exclusivity for conferences for up-to 300 delegates plus an integrated exhibition area for up to 25 stands featuring the abundant daylight, stunning views and high quality catering that organisers have come to appreciate from this versatile space.
For a delicious working lunch that won’t break the budget, the crowd-pleasing sandwich chain Subway has just launched an online delivery service. Each platter of its trademark subs costs £18 and feeds between six and eight people. Four mixed options include a Meat Feast, Vegetarian and low-cal Lite variety and extras such as cookies, muffins, crisps and drinks are also available with free delivery for orders over £25.
Following a £250,000 investment by Sodexo Prestige, the event space on HMS Belfast – one of the most powerful light cruisers ever built – is now looking shipshape. The splendid Admiral’s Quarters and the 100-capacity Ante Rooms have been refurbished, restoring a sense of history to the rooms and installing the latest technology. Book a party and you’ll be piped onboard in traditional naval style and be given a guided tour by an HMS Belfast veteran, who will regale you with seafaring tales and (suitably salty) anecdotes.
After a million-pound refurbishment, the historic King’s Fund in the heart of the West End has emerged with nine gleaming new rooms. Kitted out with all the latest AV technology, the spaces have been lovingly restored to the Grade-II listed building’s trademark Georgian grandeur. With high ceilings and unimpaired sight lines, they work perfectly for large theatre-style conferences and presentations.
January sees the launch of one of the world’s first ‘green’ hotels, Rafayel on the Left Bank in Battersea. Ultra-modern, fitted with LED lights throughout and energy saving features in each room, it aims to reduce electrical costs by 80% and cut 17kg of carbon emissions per bedroom. Four modern meeting suites featuring dark-wood panelling and state-of-the-art AV can host conferences of up to 250, while the 65 bedrooms are all kitted out with MediaHub panels, floor-to-ceiling windows & Murano glass in the bathrooms.
A stunning new reception and foyer has just launched at the Congress Centre, designed by Hugh Broughton Architects. Already chosen as a location for BBC2's new drama Money, the new design introduces more space, colour and light to the venue's entrance and welcome area. An array of colour-changing LEDs, as well as innovative down and up-lights, is complemented by HD plasma screens, with plenty of opportunities for branding.
With a soft opening this month and official launch in January 2010, The Arch London is an elegant 82-bedroom hotel built inside seven Grade II-listed Georgian townhouses on Great Cumberland Place. Event spaces include the WHItehall 944, seating 20 for a private dinner or 40 for a meeting, and a library and small study which are also available for hire on an ad-hoc basis.
With our sister title Imbibe regularly holding daytime tastings in its private 80-capacity cocktail bar, we thought it high time to tell you about one of King's Cross' latest openings The Fellow (tel: 020 7833 4395). The slick gastro-pub has a warren of great spaces for private events: the cocktail bar has a decked open air terrace and there's also a 12-seat PDR that specialises in feasts such as whole roast duck or sirloin of beef carved at the huge oak table. Optional extras include cocktail masterclasses, poker tables and screening facilities.
The Boiler House inside Battersea Power Station is open for business, finishing its build just in time for the festive season (there are still a few dates left for Christmas parties too). With a capacity of 1,000, the striking temporary structure sits within the walls of the iconic power station, with a clear PVC roof so guests can gaze up to the famous chimneys. Ample parking is on site and the venue is taking bookings for the next two years.
The trendy Proud stable is branching out from its Camden base into Chelsea (tel: 020 7349 0822), where a new gallery has just opened and is available for private hire for up to 140, and into the City, with the launch of Proud Cabaret (tel: 020 7283 1940). Modelled on a 1920s speakeasy, it offers fine dining and entertainment in glamorous surrounds, with a VIP area holding 50 and available for private hire.
Following a distrubution deal with three major Hollywood film studios, the Odeon & UCI Cinemas Group (OUCG) is to install digital projectors in all its UK cinemas. With 187 digital screens already within its portfolio, the remainder will cost more than £70m to complete. Venue hire facilities and private screenings are available for groups of up to 1,600 at any of chain's nationwide cinemas.
Shoreditch members' club hangout The East Room is opening up a rooftop pop-up Alpine Lodge designed with parties and group bookings in mind. Called 'The Clubhouse', it holds 60-70 people, who can cosy down in squishy sofas and enjoy a roaring open fire, with 'views' of Mont Blanc. Foodwise, classic sharing menus include a bubbling three-cheese fondue, tartiflette or Pot au Feu. Groups can also buy the Grey Goose Glacier, a giant rehoboam of frozen vodka, or organise a ‘Keg Party’ with an 88 pint barrel of beer. The Lodge is open until February.
The Soho House group has been busy busy, what with the launch of Pizza East earlier this month and now the Dean Street Townhouse which opens this week. Events facilities are minimal but a sexy 10-seater private dining room (12 at a push) and adjoining lounge area complete with open (real) fire are great for small parties. Bedroom prices start at an incredibly reasonable £95 (there are 39 bedrooms in total) and a buzzing restaurant with a tasty British menu is sure to be a big hit with Soho media types.
Mark Sargeant, who has worked for Gordon Ramsay Holdings for the past 13 years and is a close friend of the chef, has just announced his new position as creative director of the Swan Collection (encompassing Swan at the Globe and The Swan in West Malling, Sargeant’s home town in Kent). The already sterling reputation of catering and events in the UnderGlobe and the Balcony Room at the Bankside venue are sure to benefit still further from Sargeant's expertise (one of his most recent roles was running Gordon Ramsay at Claridges).
Hang out in the former workshop of the Bloomsbury Set at 33 Fitzroy Square, newly available for private hire through Rouge Events in Fitzrovia. A beautifully understated five-story Grade I-listed Georgian townhouse, there's a wide choice of rooms, including a basement private screening room for 20, a roomy kitchen with space for dining and a light-filled gallery for drinks receptions, not to mention a private garden
Following a £250,000 investment by Sodexo Prestige, who manage events and catering aboard HMS Belfast, the historic vessel is undergoing an intensive restoration and modernisation programme, ready to relaunch to guests in time for Christmas. The Admiral’s Quarters, once his private dining room and sitting room, are being restored to their former glory, as are The Ward and Ante Room. The Gun Room and The Ship’s Company Dining Room are also being updated and modernised with new carpets, AV equipment and broadband.
As if Altitude 360 hasn't been busy enough with the launch of the River Room over the summer, the 29th floor venue is now opening a third space, at the foot of the Millbank Tower. The Millbank Cinema and Media Centre is set to become one of London's top screening and dedicated presentation venues, with a capacity of 350. Adjoining the room is a stylish lounge bar which is already available for Christmas bookings, for 10 to 200 people. The collective capacity of the Altitude 360 venues now exceeds 1,600, with 22,000sq ft of space.
24 conference rooms in the Twickenham Building have been refurbished at the Teddington-based Lensbury Hotel & Club. All rooms now feature enhanced AV, video conferencing and new soft furnishings, alongside increased capacities to 225 theatre style. Enjoy the new rooms by taking advantage of the venue's 2010 early-bird offer of reduced DDRs in January and February. The venue has also just been chosen as the training camp for the South African 2012 Olympic team.
Launched in time for Christmas but available from now and throughout 2010, Metropolitan London has introduced dazzling new 'Platinum' private dining packages. To be enjoyed in any of the hotel's five event spaces, you can also hire the COMO suite, holding up to 50, and get an overnight stay in the swanky suite included. Expect sleek black linen, glass charger plates, candlelit platinum and silver sand-storm lanterns plus contemporary floral displays and Swarovski crystals scattered over the tables.
The fourth floor meeting rooms at the London Hilton on Park Lane have reopened following a half-a-million-pound refurbishment. The eight rooms, business centre, breakout reception area and large lobby have been transformed from traditional English boardroom to sleek modern lines with a quirky 60s twist. Holding up to 50, adjustable mood lighting and funky ergonomic chairs add to the effect.
RIBA has recently been granted a wedding licence. Couples looking to tie the knot will be able to choose from seven spaces accommodating up to 100. The Art Deco wedding package starts from just £115 per person and includes room hire of the art deco Florence Hall, as well as a vintage car, a Silver Wedding catering package, half a bottle of house wine per guest, a wedding cake and live jazz.
Chop'd (tel: 020 7626 3706), the UK's leading gourmet salad bar chain, is bringing its delicious lunchtime treats to your door with its new office delivery service. Six postcodes are covered - W1, NW1, E1, EC3, WC1 and E14 - and prices are very reasonable, starting at £4 for a Tuna Nicoise. Those near Selfridges are in luck too, as Chop'd now has a concession in the store's Food Hall.
We were seriously impressed by the £7m revamp of the Grand Connaught Rooms (tel: 020 7405 7811), viewed at the Principal Hayley-owned venue last Thursday. Formerly the New Connaught Rooms, the stand-out space is the Grand Hall, spectacularly restored to its former glory and holding 700 people for a dinner. A new restaurant, Tempus, features a private dining room while the Covent Garden Suite and 11 meeting rooms have all enjoyed a contemporary facelift.
The new-look Absolute Icebar launched this week, adopting a frosty nautical theme. Redesigned every six months to keep both ice and design fresh, the whole venue, including downstairs bar and restaurant Below Zero and the minus five degrees ice chamber itself, has taken on a marine slant, with underwater effects and visuals throughout. The venue is available for exclusive hire for 270.
With a 3am licence, central Camden location and live blues seven nights a week, The Blues Kitchen (tel: 020 7387 5277) has definitely cooked up a recipe for success. Clever interior design gives the venue a laid-back 'lived-in' feel, while soul food and one of London's most extensive Bourbon lists are sure to please guests when you hire the venue exclusively for 300 people. Alternatively, hire an area for a minimum of 15 if you want to join the trendy Camden regulars.
We are loving The Groucho Club's new look, unveiled after a busy refurbishment programme over the summer months. All areas have had a fresh lick of paint and new carpets but of most interest to event bookers is the transformation of the beautiful 80-seater Dining Room (pictured) into a more contemporary and elegant event space, and the 18-seater Mackintosh Room, which now looks far more warm and welcoming for boardroom meetings and private dining.
The Soho House Group bravely launched its latest venture, Pizza East (tel: 020 7729 1888), to an audience of critics and chefs in conjunction with the London Restaurant Festival Awards last night. And guess what? It paid off. An army of well-drilled staff served up delicious samplers from the well-priced menu and it’s clear to see the new site can cope with a crowd. There are plenty of long tables for groups and the moodily lit space with its open kitchen and centrepiece bar works a treat for large, exclusive-use events. Well worth checking out.
Following the high-profile launch of the Darwin Centre, the Natural History Museum has announced the names of three new caterers who will be joining its preferred supplier list in January 2010. With over 50 applications submitted for tender, The Recipe, Payne & Gunter and Table Talk are the lucky three who join the list of the Museum’s existing caterers, all of whom have also secured a contract for a further three years.
We love the new afternoon tea package, TLSee, at Swissotel The Howard (tel: 020 7584 6601). London's iconic landmarks, such as Big Ben and the London Eye, as well as black cabs and old Routemaster buses, have been fashioned into delicious shortbread biscuits and 3D chocolates. Served up from 1pm to 5.30pm, they make the perfect pit-stop for meetings at the Temple-based hotel.
Photographic studios often make for fantastic event spaces but few are as handsome as Sunbeam Studios in Ladbroke Grove. A Grade II-listed former Edwardian showroom, it’s teeming with period features, including a curved vaulted ceiling, huge arched window and feature staircase leading to a mezzanine to break up the space. We particularly like the fact you can drive right up to the entrance and step out of a car straight onto the grand entrance steps.
A new year-long exhibition has opened at the Churchill Museum & Cabinet War Rooms. Commemorating 70 years since the War Rooms became operational, ‘Undercover: Life in Churchill’s Bunker’ lifts the lid on what life was like for government and military strategists working in the shelter during World War II. Previously unseen documents, letters, personal stories and artefacts have been unveiled and make a fascinating distraction as part of a day delegate package or boardroom meeting.
Event organisers have been salivating over the potential of Battersea Power Station for years. Acres of space around an iconic landmark in central London: what’s not to love? The long-awaited opening of the gates in autumn 2009 saw the launch of a handful of superlative spaces in and around the famous building. We particularly like the Boiler House, a striking temporary structure that sits inside the Power Station walls, with a clear gable end and roof section giving up to 1,000 guests dramatic views of the towering chimneys above. There’s ample parking as well as AV kit and furniture hire on site and plenty of outdoor space to play with for larger events.
It was great to see you at our Venues & Events Exhibition last week. Despite the recession, many of you are clearly still booking events, as our visitor numbers were up on last year. Office Diner fed more than 5,000 people in our ever-popular café, while also managing to come second in the Canapé Cup challenge (Cinnamon Kitchen was voted overall winner). The new Fizz For Events sessions were also a great success, as were our new pink bags, which have been spotted since all around town. See you next year!
Groups of 24 or more can now enjoy a new afternoon tea menu in the cosy Library Bar at The Cinnamon Club. Showcasing a selection of modern Indian delicacies, the delicious menu features dishes such as Bengali spiced crab, spiced cottage cheese and pickled cucumber, and kathi kebab rolls, as well as the obligatory scones and pastries.
The first ballroom in London to have Michelin starred cuisine on its menu, the London Marriott Hotel, Grosvenor Square is making the most of its maze connections by launching a new banqueting menu created by the restaurant’s executive chef, Jason Atherton.
Think Silver Fleet on the canal and you get the idea of new waterway venue on the water (tel: 020 7586 6666). The bespoke barge (the largest on London’s canals) is currently moored in Primrose Hill but come October it will moving up to Paddington Basin for drinks receptions and private dinners of up to 20. The white-walled vessel, with its own kitchen and luxurious bathroom, is flexible enough to cater for all requests.
Kensington’s Royal Garden Hotel has completed another rung of its refurbishment ladder with the October launch of The Palace Suite, boosting conference capacity to 550. The 4,935sq ft room will be subdividable and will have its own pre-function area and breakout rooms close by. 10 additional function rooms have also been refurbished.
Conference organiser's favourite the Royal Lancaster Hotel has changed its name to the more punchy Lancaster London. Everything else stays the same at the popular Hyde Park hotel, which features one of the largest conference suites in London, catering for up to 3,000.
This week sees the launch of Gaucho Charlotte Street (tel: 020 7580 6252) at the quieter top end of Fitzrovia's buzzing Charlotte Street. A modern tasting room, along similar lines to that at the Gaucho O2, makes a great private hire space alongside a contemporary bar and 150-cover restaurant, all of which are available for private hire. Gaucho’s signature cowhide decor and crystal chandeliers feature throughout, while the menu is a mix of the famed Argentinian beef and freshly prepared fish and shellfish.
We're liking the makeover which has just been unveiled at Waterloo Brasserie. The venue says it's going for a 'more arty look and feel' and they've definitely achieved it in the 80-capacity bar and lounge area, where cool black-and-white photographs line the walls (rotating art exhibitions will be on display throughout the year). There's a new menu too, for sit-down dinners of up to 130.
Visitors to the Merlin Entertainments London Eye can now experience what it’s like to soar high as a bird over London’s dramatic skyline, as the iconic landmark unveils its pioneering 4D Film Experience. Already offering unrivalled views of London, the £5m bespoke cinematic addition to the attraction will now provide another way to experience the city. Pre-flight, visitors will watch the first ever 3D aerial footage of London as well as witness London's New Year’s Eve fireworks. Boasting more 4D sensory effects than any other attraction in the UK, visitors will feel as if they are really there, with wind in their hair, snow falling at their feet, the floor shaking & even a sense of smell.
Now summer is nearly over, we're looking indoors for event entertainment and love the idea of combining a private lunch for 200 or drinks reception in the Amphitheatre Restaurant at the Royal Opera House with an exclusive backstage tour (for a maximum of 20 guests per tour). The tour includes a history of the theatre, current productions (you may even get to see the Royal Ballet in class) and the amazing backstage technology at work.
Even more of an incentive to book an event at ZSL London Zoo: two gorgeous 10-week old Asian lion cubs have just been introduced into the Animal House enclosure. It's the first time in 10 years that lions have been born at the zoo. Watch them play at close hand when you book the Animal Houses for an event for up to 250 guests but hurry, they won't be babies for long!
We couldn't have asked for better weather at last night's reader event: the hottest day of the year so far and what better place to watch the sun go down than Altitude 360? Over 600 of you arrived to a Champagne reception with delicious canapés, while the sushi bar and fresh pasta station proved almost as popular as the breathtaking views over miles of London skyline. Guests were welcomed by Altitude 360's managing director Alex Kersjes, who spoke about the venue's new 15,000sq ft space The River Room, situated on the second floor for those with less of a head for heights!
The in-house caterer at The Brewery is among the best in the business so when the City venue ‘Challenged Annica’ to a cook-off, we knew we had a big task on our hands. The V&E team put up a good fight, serving 20 three-course meals with just four hours’ prep, but our haloumi salad, fish & chips and frozen margarita pie didn’t quite score enough points to beat the Brewery’s chicken liver parfait, baked haddock and plum clafoutis. We reckon the real winners were the judges who got to eat it all!
Kensington Palace is set for complete refurbishment between 2010 and 2012. As a result, the Victorian Garden Rooms, comprising the Red Saloon (Queen Victoria met her Privy Council for the first time in this room in 1837), the Teck Saloon and the North Drawing Room (where historians believe Victoria was born), will close from March 2010 to make way for a permanent exhibition. Don't miss your last chance to book any of these historic spaces for events.
Heat up debate at your boardroom meeting with afternoon tea at The Cinnamon Club. The restaurant has just launched an enticingly spicy menu for groups of 24 or more (maximum 30) to enjoy afternoon tea between 2.30-5pm in the cosy Library Bar. Enjoy such treats as kathi kebab rolls, chicken tikka sandwiches, Bengali spiced crab and the obligatory scones and pastries. A week's notice is advised for bookings, though 24 hour's notice can be accommodated in exceptional circumstances.
Trendy Shoreditch restaurant Hoxton Grill has joined the Soho House Group. The classic American grill-style venue has five private hire spaces: two elegant private dining rooms seating 30 and 22 respectively; a lobby bar where two areas can be reserved for drinks and canapé receptions for up to 50; and a pretty garden, available for exclusive use Monday-Thursday and Sundays, which accommodates 80 standing.
The Natural History Museum has opened its event diary for the Darwin Centre, which will be available for corporate and private hire from 1 October. The £78m centre will be able to cater for 150 guests for dinner and up to 350 for receptions, and will boast its own landscaped garden and gated private entrance. Room hire starts at £10,150 and space is bright and modern, with access to the museum's 20-million-strong collection of insects and plants in a 65m-long, eight-storey cocoon.
One of London's oldest hotels, Hazlitt's (tel: 020 7434 1771) in Soho has launched a stylish new meeting space. The Wardrobe, which was once used as a place of safety for aristocrats’ valuables, now seats up to 12 guests. The wood-panelled and air-conditioned meeting room has been designed to capitalise on natural daylight and brought up to 21st century standards with hi-tech presentation equipment, alongside antiques and curios. Day delegate rates start at £75.
Popular west London gastropub Paradise by way of Kensal Green (tel: 020 8969 0098) has introduced a 'Host Your Own Roast' concept, catering for up to 18 people. Guests can choose from six different roasts accompanied by roast potatoes in duck fat, Yorkshire puddings and all the trimmings. The three-course private roast is hosted (and carved!) by head chef Tim Payne (star of Hell's Kitchen) and held either in the venue's Reading Room or upstairs in the private dining room.
The Smirnoff Black Screenings have returned to Bluebird this summer following a highly successful inauguration last year. With a screening every Wednesday until 2 September, you can enjoy the likes of The Dark Knight and Casino Royale, preceded by a two-course menu and a Smirnoff Black cocktail. Bluebird has also launched its own private screening package, where you can view a film of your choice along with Champagne, canapés and ice-cream sundaes, from £55pp for groups of 25-60.
From fruit-filled baskets to boxes of deliciously tempting chocolates, with branded and bespoke options, a foodie gift has universal appeal.
We're big fans of Mayor Boris Johnson, so we made sure we were at the ceremonious 'bolting' into place of the final beam of Park Plaza Westminster Bridge (tel: 0844 415 6790) hotel on Tuesday. London's largest ever new build hotel is scheduled to open in spring 2010, with 16 storeys boasting uninterrupted views of the Houses of Parliament and Big Ben. The £350m hotel will feature more than 1,000 guest rooms and 2,700sq m of meeting space.
The Congress Centre has announced plans to refurbish its entire reception/registration area to create an impressive new entrance space. Work will commence later this month and will be completed by early September. The new registration area will include an impressive long glass registration desk complete with back-lit colour-changing discs and a 103-inch integrated plasma screen (the largest on the market). The aim is to make the area brighter and more welcoming, as well as facilitate client branding.
The Met Bar and luxury lingerie brand The Modern Courtesan have created the perfect daytime hospitality for female clients – sassy ‘Seduction Classes’ served with a delectable slice of cake on the side. Enjoy an afternoon menu of healthy cupcakes and cocktails and listen to a range of speakers, from best selling authors to burlesque performers. Tickets are priced at £50 per person and must be purchased in advance. The next event takes place on 8 August from 4-6pm.
Conference facility has successfully passed the Green Tourism Business Scheme (GBTS) at Bronze level, thanks to its efforts to ensure all meeting materials are recyclable (even the pencils are produced from recycled newspaper). The venue is currently offering a 50% discount on meeting room hire.
On the site of the old Salmon & Compass pub in Chapel Market, The Compass (tel: 020 7837 3891), with its upstairs private dining/event space seating 40, makes a relaxing space for City workers to escape up the Northern Line. The room also has its own bar and can be used for screenings or presentations. Food is excellent and a notch above the usual gastropub fare.
Bucking recessionary trends, Charles Boyd is set to launch a striking new venue, Northumberland House State Rooms while forming a new business operating under the name Hamilton Boyd Ltd to manage it. 'I will continue to develop and support the Chester Boyd business while using my skills and experience of this niche sector to become a venue owner in my own right,' says Boyd, who will also maintain his ongoing commitment to Charlton House. The new venue, set to open early next year, will seat 500 and has a ballroom described by English Heritage as 'the grandest example of a Victorian ballroom in existence.'
Those mourning the closure of Double Club this weekend can take solace in the form of another pop-up venue, based in Covent Garden. Opera Quarter (tel: 020 7263 9304) sprawls over three floors of a Georgian townhouse, with private hire of the whole space holding 150. You can also hire any of the three funky floors, filled with contemporary art, separately. The venue is only open until the end of August so you'll have to be quick off the mark!
In anticipation of the wonderful summer of cricket ahead, Mint Catering (tel: 020 8459 2773) has put together a couple of excellent Ashes Drop-Offs, at £19.95pp including delivery (minimum numbers apply). Choose between the Pommie, with Pimms and traditional canapés, and the Aussie, with VB lager, shrimp and meat pie.
A vibrant addition to shiny new Bermondsey Square, the fifth branch of the successful Del’Aziz is also the biggest in the Eastern Mediterranean deli-restaurant chain. The colourful all-day café area makes a laidback setting for mezze & drinks, while sit-down dinners can be held in the self-contained 70-seater dining room. But the stand-out entertaining space is the raised Moroccan-style lounge bar, which can take 70 for a cocktail reception and has views onto the remains of the 12th-century crypt of Bermondsey Abbey through a glass floor. Alfresco areas on the square are also available.
Against the backdrop of one of the biggest cricket seasons that England has ever seen (The Ashes started this week), the Brit Oval has just received the go-ahead to build a new stand and hotel at the iconic ground. The stand will increase capacity to 25,000 while the four-star Arora International Hotel will provide 168 bedrooms and a much-needed accommodation option in the area. Other news from the venue - OCS has signed up for another 10 years of sponsorship of its flagship stand.
Dim-sum chain Ping Pong is launching a delivery service. Ping Pong Now brings its good-value Chinese cooking to your office door. The service has just launched at the Spitalfields branch and will be rolled out across the brand's 11 other locations before the end of the year. Set packages are available for up to 100, with a simple online ordering procedure, and the restaurant aims to deliver all orders within 50 minutes.
In the heart of the West End, opposite Selfridges on Oxford Street, Parklife is one of the most exciting new venues we've come across for a long time. Available for exclusive or part dry hire, with full event management, it has a mighty 3,950 standing capacity and is completely flexible and adaptable: suitable for product launches, award ceremonies, promotions, fashion shows and film premieres alike. Managed by Progressive Events, the space has been released for hire for a limited period of one year.
As London sweltered in the hottest day of the year so far, 20 chilli enthusiasts brought their finest con carne concoctions to All Star Lanes Brick Lane to compete for the honour of the best chilli in town. Official judges were made up of experienced restaurateurs and food writers, while members of the public turned out in force to cast their votes. Square Meal’s own designer Charlie Nelson walked away with the People’s Choice Award for his chorizo-based and originally titled ‘Charlie Con Carne’. He picks up a night All Star Lanes for him and his pals.
Lots of people have been calling our helpline asking for recommendations of outdoor event space - one of our favourites is El Faro, overlooking Crossharbour Dock. It's got a spacious 100-capacity outdoor terrace with calming views of the water, delicious Basque-style tapas and a live music licence. Browse our selection of other great waterside event spaces in London.
Upper Street's loveliest cocktail bar, Albert & Pearl (tel: 020 7354 9993), celebrates its first birthday this month, kicking off with a party on Friday featuring a DJ set from Huey of The Fun Loving Criminals and T4 presenter Jameela Jamil. The night will include complimentary punch, cocktails and food, as well as parlour games and prizes. A great chance to view their three plush private rooms.
The atmospheric Courtrooms conference and event space at Browns Bar & Brasserie Covent Garden has been refurbished. Built in 1908, the Courtrooms occupy the Grade II-listed site of the former Westminster Law Courts. The four function rooms retain many of the original features such as magnificent sweeping staircases, judges' benches and chandeliered ceilings. Following the sensitive refurbishment they now boast new interiors, carpets and prints and make an ideal venue for conferences, launches, weddings or parties for up to 150.
As Savoy Place celebrates its centenary as the home of the IET, Louise Troy finds that this versatile venue is busier than ever.
One of the most historic and beautifully designed restaurants in London, the Criterion is now under new management and is looking better than ever following a recent refurb. The restaurant makes a grand setting for events, with seated dinners holding up to 150 or 250 for canapé receptions. Smaller parties can take The Terrace, a raised area at the back of the restaurant which holds up to 70 guests for canapés. .
To celebrate the beginning of summer, the Commonwealth Club off Trafalgar Square is offering free room hire for any evening event booked for July. No minimum spend applies to the offer, but guests must order both food and beverages.
Chelsea’s Bluebird is turning its outside area into a version of Centre Court for the two weeks of the Wimbledon Championships. Huge tennis balls suspended in a glass funnel will make a canopy for diners, while they sit in the service boxes of an Astroturf court. A Wimbledon-themed menu & cocktails will be available, based around plenty of strawberries & Champagne.
The Royal Horticultural Halls now has the lowest parking rates in Westminster, after negotiating a fee of £12 per day with the local council. With parking in London hard to come by and often expensive, it’s a real coup for the venue. To use the rate, guests needn’t pre-book, simply download a form from the venue’s website and take it with you.
Two delightful rooms are newly available for private events at the beautiful Wallace Collection. They're to be used in conjunction with the existing gallery rooms as a drinks reception space for 150. The Boudoir and The West Room once formed part of the private apartment of Lady Wallace (her original writing desk still sits here); both have walls hung with silks and paintings by Reynolds and Vernet. The Landing and Fernery, where guests gather on arrival, have also been refurbished.
It’s 250 years since Kew Gardens opened and to commemorate, two free tickets to this year’s Summer Swing are offered for each person who confirms venue hire before 6 July. Alternatively, book an event at Cambridge Cottage and all guests will receive free Summer Swing entrance.
Henry VIII acceded to the throne 500 years ago and to commemorate, Hampton Court Palace, has organised new attractions for event organisers. The atmospheric Undercroft, where Henry and his various wives used to dance, has just been opened as an event space for 200 guests to do the same. Meanwhile, over at The Tower of London, the event team has organised a variety of private tours and events based around the new exhibition ‘Henry VIII: Dressed to Kill’, combining drinks receptions with private tours of the exhibition.
The transformation of Westminster’s Altitude into Altitude 360 is now complete. After 16 days of round-the-clock construction, the venue is now ready to receive bookings, showcasing a 360-degree panorama stretching across London. The new rooms share the identical sleek, minimalist design as their predecessors, with the same aluminium retractable walls creating a maximum capacity of 600.
The Met Bar transformed our boardroom at Square Meal into a cocktail lounge on Monday to give us an exclusive preview of its new cocktail list and range of flavour-shot infusions. Innovatively arranged around taste, the cocktails are split into distinct categories, ranging from Light and Aromatic to Full Bodied and Spirited. The spicy grapefruit-based Amore Dolce proved a big hit, as did the low-calorie cakes they brought along, to give us a try of the Afternoon Delight tea selection. The raspberry cupcakes come with our whole-hearted recommendation!
The latest addition to the bulging portfolio of spaces at Twickenham’s South Stand is the Live Room, a flexible modern space that’s ideal for large set and screen productions. Tiered seating accommodates 400 for presentations or retracts to open up floor space for a reception of 600 guests.
All Star Lanes has introduced the Private Lanes Card, where for every £250 spent on a private event, the cardholder will receive one point on their card, equating to £10. This can then be redeemed on future bookings in the main halls or private rooms at any of the group’s venues, whether for personal or corporate use. Cardholders will also have access to exclusive offers and privileges throughout the year.
Celebrating its 50th birthday this year, Ronnie Scott’s (tel: 020 7960 0270) has set up a new networking initiative for the corporate event market, running every Thursday between 6pm and 8pm. It’s a timely reminder that you can hire the famous jazz bar for events, with the club on the ground floor holding 220 for a sit-down and the upstairs bar seating 80 or 150 for a drinks reception.
Woods River Cruises has launched a fabulous summer party package aboard the Silver Sturgeon. With a theme of 'Vogue does Brighton', the boat is decked out (pardon the pun) with driftwood pedestals, hurricane lanterns, ‘Sea Salt’ candles and Whistable Oyster Buckets filled with seaside plants, rope and shells. Food is courtesy of an on-deck barbecue and icecream and sorbet stall from rhubarb on the river and packages are £98pp.
We visited Laughter Lounge at Vinopolis when it first launched late last year and were hugely impressed by the standard of the acts on show. The monthly night has gone from strength to strength since and tickets are still available for tomorrow night's performance, featuring Ian Stone, Geoff Boyz, Philberto and MC Electric Forecast . Tickets are £15 on the door and a current special offer means those booking a comedy ticket can also purchase a Grapevine tour at a reduced price. Click through for details.
Companies that invest in events during a financial downturn emerge stronger once the shoots of recovery start to break through. Here are a few of the reasons why...
Event organisers looking to host a memorable garden party are in luck this summer thanks to the unveiling of a truly lovely outdoor space at Balham’s The Avalon (tel: 020 8675 8613) pub. Landscape gardeners have been hard at work creating colourful flower beds, shrubbery, decking and marble ornaments to charming effect. Up to 165 guests can be seated here and there is more scope for outdoor entertaining on the large outdoor terraces at the front and on the side (accommodating 100 and 40 respectively).
The V&E team hobnobbed with the stars last night at Fisher Productions (020 8871 1978) 25th birthday rebrand party at The Dairy in Bloomsbury. Jesse Metcalfe, Peaches Geldof and Will Mellor mingled with geishas in robes fashioned from bubble wrap (who later turned hair stylists, creating some outrageous styles for brave volunteers) and retro air hostess waitresses serving delicious food from By Word Of Mouth. We particularly loved the Rococo-style lounge, with cakes by French Laundry patisserie chef Claire Clarke.
We enjoyed a magical after-hours VIP tour of ZSL London Zoo last week, part of which was a visit to the new ‘Animal Adventure’ attraction. It's a mini zoo within the zoo, with private terraces affording close-up views of the lions. The space is available for corporate hire during the summer months and is perfect for barbecues, cocktail parties and canapé receptions, holding up to 200.
2009 marks the 500th anniversary of Henry VIII's accession to the throne and Hampton Court Palace has opened the Undercroft as a new event space to celebrate. 200 people can dance the night away, just as Henry VIII did in his day; the room works well when teamed with the Great Hall for dining.
The Serpentine Bar & Kitchen (tel: 020 7706 8114)is the latest public building space to be rejuvenated by the benugo boys, Ben and Hugo Warner. With a delightful setting by the edge of the Serpentine in Hyde Park, it makes a great summer party destination. Capacities are 150 seated inside and 150 on the waterside terrace, with exciting culinary concepts planned throughout the summer months. Get in there quick though - the venue can only be hired six times over the summer months.
Live opera restaurant venue Bel Canto is launching a limited edition 'Three Tenners' menu in honour of José Carreras, who recently announced his retirement. Diners will be able to listen to delightful arias and duets while enjoying a three-course dinner for £30 (usually £55). The offer is only available from May 19-21 and also marks the arrival of the restaurant's new chef. Remember too the venue can be hired privately for 160.
We were delighted to welcome over 300 of you to our reader event at No.4 Hamilton Place last night, to kickstart the summer social season in style. Dish's delicious bowl food was accompanied by an elegant seafood bar, lashings of Pimm's and fizz, and a hog roast. Guests spilled out onto the terrace to enjoy the live band while others browsed the hospitality suite, showcasing the season's top events such as Royal Ascot and Chelsea Flower Show. The only thing missing was the sun but the fun party atmosphere more than made up for it.
Eco-friendly conference centre 15 Hatfields celebrated its first birthday last night, following a successful first year of trading. The venue, which has applied for BS8901 accreditation, has proved that a green meeting space can not only be comfortable and modern, but cost effective too, with a competitive DDR of around £60 with AV and event management services included. The team is holding another birthday celebration tonight; if you'd like to attend, email [email protected] for an invite or show-round.
Having spent over a year under wraps, part of the first floor galleries at The Wallace Collection have emerged from an extensive refurbishment. While the decadent Gold Box Room will remain closed until the autumn, the Boudoir and the West Room will be available for drinks receptions at the end of this month. Tapestries have been specially commissioned to match the themes of the rooms, alongside some 'new' Old Masters.
This week saw the highly successful launch of the Ladies Lunch Club at Cheyne Walk Brasserie. Running monthly, the club is free to join and has a different theme each time, with the upcoming lunch on 10 June focusing on 'Beautiful Blooms', with florist Pascal Lavorel. £25 pp includes an hour-and-a-half talk from an expert, followed by lunch, wine and coffee/tea.
Last night saw the launch of Smithfield Raw at Karaoke Box Smithfield, a monthly event that aims to combine private karaoke with live performances in the bar. The Thirst and The Young Hearts will be playing but more excitingly, all karaoke rooms will be free of charge from midnight for the last hour of the evening, on a first come, first served basis.
The RHS Chelsea Flower Show runs from 19-23 May and to mark the occasion, head mixologist Gustavo Bertolucci at Pearl Restaurant & Bar (tel: 020 7829 7000) has created a limited edition cocktail. Garnished with a Singapore orchid, the refreshing blend is gin-based and is being served up at Pearl for the next six weeks.
City law firm Allen & Overy is opening up its prestigious building to events for the first time ever. The Auditorium – up there with the highest-spec conference facilities in London – has a meeting capacity of 320. Specially commissioned electronic works of art are on show throughout to the Sir Norman Foster-designed building, which is ultra-modern and lets in plenty of natural light. The in-house catering is a real strong suit, provided at a more-than-reasonable price.
Inneventive has announced dates for this year's summer parties at riverside venue Sugar Quay, and a complimentary cocktail per person is available for all booking confirmations made by 29 May. Up to 450 standing or 240 seated can be accommodated in the luxury marquee, overlooking Tower Bridge.
More new openings in King's Cross: The Fellow (tel: 020 7833 4395) is a dark and sultry pub and dining room with various spaces available for private hire, including an outdoor heated terrace and cocktail bar for 80. A private dining room on the top floor of the venue, with vintage armchairs and a long banqueting table, accommodates up to 12 for a seated dinner or 20 for a small drinks party.
It's the 250th anniversary of Robert Burns' birth this year, celebrated by Homecoming Scotland (as you'll know if you've read our 'What's New in Scotland' What's New in Scotland feature, in the spring magazine and online). Get your taste of the tartan at Albannach, where bespoke whisky tasting sessions are on offer each Tuesday in May in the Doon bar, at £30 pp.
The London Eye has launched a new package, offering a luxury beauty experience with the gorgeous 50s-style make-up collective, the Powder Puff Girls. The London Eye Beauty Capsule provides up to 15 guests with a unique opportunity to enjoy a glamorous makeover, while admiring London’s panoramic views & enjoying a crisp glass of Chablis Domaine de la Concierge. Prices are £900 per capsule with Chablis Domaine de la Concierge wine or £940 per capsule with Laurent Perrier Champagne.
Party spaces for 180 are hard to come by in West Hampstead so the opening of The Alice House is welcome news. 200 light bulbs suspended from the ceiling give an unusual edge to the vintage-style decor and innovative cocktails are served alongside tapas and BBQs. An outdoor decking area makes a great spill-out space.
It's perfect weather for messing about on the river, particularly if you hold an event aboard Woods River Cruises' newly refurbished Silver Barracuda. A sprightly spring interior redesign by Osborne & Little sees heavy curtains and a dark red colour scheme replaced by modern prints incorporating sage green velvet, a striking cheetah print and a new divider curtain on the lower deck, perfect for partitioning to create a more intimate dining space. Summer party packages start at £122 +VAT and include a four-hour charter.
This week saw ‘Eventweeps’ flock to the SEA LIFE London Aquarium for the inaugural Events Industry Tweetup. It was organised by freelance journo Mike Fletcher and the Merlin Group’s twitterific marketeer, Peter Kerwood, who used the event to announce the launch of a new Twitter directory for event professionals. To find out more about the latest social networking phenomenon, read our hot-off-the press feature, sign up to Twitter and get yourself listed on EventTweeps. Don’t forget to follow the V&E team too!
Now the weather's getting sunnier, we're heading for the roof garden at hip new Shoreditch hangout The Queen of Hoxton (tel: 020 7422 0958), holding up to 250 for parties and resplendent with Astroturf, gazebo and pretty wrought-iron tables and chairs.
Get dancing Bollywood style at one of Moti Mahal’s (tel: 020 7240 9329) teambuilding dance classes. Groups of 12 to 15 can book a 45-minute session on Monday evenings or at weekends, hosted by the Bollywood Grooves Dance Company. The restaurant provides bindis and bangles aplenty to dress up in and the evening is rounded off with a two-course dinner.
Greenwich's Inc Group is opening no less than three new venues this year, the first of which is swanky cocktail bar The Attic (tel: 020 8305 3091), spectacularly situated on the 48th floor of the UK’s tallest ever residential building, Pan Peninsula in Canary Wharf. Available by appointment only for private hire on a small scale, the bar has a 100-person capacity and as you'd expect, amazing 360-degree views.
Now the multi-million pound restoration project at Grosvenor House, A JW Marriot Hotel has finished, the Park Lane hotel has opened up its self-contained events facility 86 Park Lane to daytime use for the first time. The hotel has also been thinking up imaginative ways to celebrate its 80th birthday, one of which is the creation of its own breed of rose – look out for it at the RHS Chelsea Flower Show in May.
The world's first horror movie rollercoaster tie-in has launched at Thorpe Park. Taking its inspiration from the Saw movie series, the £13m rollercoaster SAW – The Ride is equally terrifying, with a 100ft ‘beyond vertical’ drop and three corkscrew inversions. Book an event at Lake View, Thorpe Park’s event space, and you get the opportunity to ride SAW once the park has closed to the public.
Friday saw animator Nick Park open an exciting new exhibition at the Science Museum, featuring some of the UK's first inventions to be awarded patents. ‘Wallace & Gromit Present a World of Cracking Ideas’ takes visitors through the pair’s home, using each room to explore different inventions through interaction, animation and creative activities. The exhibition is open for corporate hire outside of museum opening hours until October 31, with a capacity of 200 for drinks receptions.
Stalwart London club Ministry of Sound is fast approaching its 18th birthday and to celebrate, it has spent the past month refurbishing its first floor cocktail lounge. 'Think industrial, neon, raw and contemporary' say the management: it makes a great drinks reception space, with LED tubes lighting the walls and contemporary concrete seating looking down onto the Main Bar below. Capacities are 150 for a drinks reception, 40 for a sit-down dinner and 60 theatre-style.
After one of the most exciting climaxes the US Masters has seen in years, all eyes turn to the next golf major, the British Open, taking place from 16-19 July. Ayrshire’s remodelled Turnberry course welcomes the championship back for its 138th incarnation, promising exciting golf and top-notch hospitality with Sodexo Prestige at the helm. Three hospitality packages are on offer, all with a complimentary bar and excellent food offerings.
Just when you thought Clapham was full to the brim of trendy restaurants and bars, Aquum (tel: 020 7627 2726) opens this week, promising to bring 'the excitement and glamour of the West End to SW4.' A 4am licence makes it a good choice for parties - exclusive hire is 400 and there's a pre-requisite VIP area, holding 100.
A new interactive, permanent exhibition opens today at The O2. The British Music Experience, in The O2 Bubble, takes you on a trip through popular music history, using state-of-the-art technology and iconic memorabilia over the last 60 years. The 3,730sq ft 'Finale Space' is available for private events, suitable for everything from cocktail receptions to award ceremonies to banquets. Capacities are 400 standing or 200 seated and private tours of the exhibition can be arranged. Let's rock!
The Best of Britain & Ireland, in partnership with BBC Magazines & The Telegraph, is an exciting new show that brings the very best of the countries' heritage, food & drink, countryside, coast, plus active & luxury experiences to ExCeL London on 28 & 29 March. It's a great place to source ideas for corporate off-sites and Square Meal readers can claim a free pair of tickets to this exciting new event - simply click here and enter code SQM09.
Gather a group of colleagues together and head down to D&D London's Meza, who is raising the stakes every Tuesday with a new Texas Hold 'Em Poker night, transforming the Soho bar into a casino from 6.30pm onwards. Croupiers are on hand to offer advice and brief players on the rules, so even complete beginners can have a go. 'Proper' games start at 8pm.
Visitor numbers were up 5% at the 26th International Confex last week, with total attendance at 15,030 (subject to ABC audit), up from 14,807 last year. "The conference and events industry will come out of the recession faster than many other sectors," said event director Duncan Reid and there was certainly no sign of recessionary gloom on the Square Meal stand, where we welcomed hundreds of visitors who enjoyed free canapés courtesy of the inaugural Canapé Cup stand and copies of our 2009 Guide.
Last week saw the relaunch of The Royal Horseguards Hotel (tel: 020 7839 3344) following a £16m refurbishment plan. Now under Guoman ownership, all 280 bedrooms have been refurbed to five-star standards, alongside the lobby area, and a historian tour guide has been appointed to conduct tours of the conference and banqueting wing, One Whitehall Place.
Getting to The O2 can be a bit of a mission, which is why we're excited about Gaucho's new initiative to help get their diners to the show on time. If you're dining pre-show at either Gaucho Canary or Gaucho Tower Bridge, you'll receive a voucher which gives you free travel via the Thames Clipper up the river to The O2. Don't forget, too, that there's a Gaucho within the O2 where you can organise a post-show party or book a VIP suite overlooking the main arena.
The elegant 40-seater Sopwith Room at No.4 Hamilton Place has had an attractive refurbishment, with new chandeliers, full repaint and recarpet plus new air conditioning. Still in situ is the copy of the Bleriot XI propellor blade, the first plane to cross the English Channel in 1909 and given to the venue by the Queen, plus photos of famous aviator Claude Graham-White.
2009 sees the Cabinet War Rooms commemorating the 70th anniversary of its wartime opening and the 25th anniversary of its opening to the public. To celebrate, a seven-course gourmet taster menu has been created for intimate dinners in the newly refurbished Switch Room or Harmsworth Room for up to 30. New summer DDRs starting from £70pp will also be introduced from April, plus further appealing offers.
Still part of the Jurys hotel group but now joining their luxury Doyle Collection, Jurys Clifton Ford has just relaunched as The Marylebone Hotel (tel: 020 7 486 6600) following a multi-million pound refurbishment. A new suite of six naturally lit meeting rooms seat up to 70 and be sure to pay a visit to in-house brasserie 108 Marylebone Lane, who use specialist local suppliers such as La Fromagerie and The Ginger Pig.
We're looking forward to seeing you all at this week's International Confex at Earl's Court from 24-26 February & this year there's a special treat in store. Visitors to our new Canapé Cup feature stand (R612) get to sample a tempting selection of canapés, including the winning entry of last year's inaugural Canapé Cup: Sodexo's delicious A Taste of the Season. We'll also be giving away free copies of the new V&E 2009 Guide at the Square Meal stand (R615). See you there!
Along with Brasserie Max (which now has a separate bar area), the two cosy Blue and Red meeting rooms at Firmdale's Covent Garden Hotel (tel: 020 7287 4434) have been refurbished, each flexible enough to act as private dining room, boardroom meeting space or drinks reception space. The rooms adjoin the private screening room and don't forget the cosy upstairs library for six.
Inneventive is teaming up with Vinopolis to offer the ultimate in cookery teambuilding. Launching in March, 'cooking experiences' will take place in a purpose-built studio kitchen for groups of 15-100, cooking up delicious meals under the watchful eye of expert chefs. You get to enjoy the fruits of your labours over lunch or dinner, plus shopping for ingredients at Borough Market & Vinopolis wine matchings can also form a fun part of the day.
Thank you to everyone who entered our 'Snap the Snow' competition last week - click through for some of our favourite pictures, including a beautiful pink pelican at London Zoo and a snow-covered Lord's Cricket Ground (and see if you can spot the fake!) It's not too late to submit your photos (fresh snow is forecast for this week after all), so keep them coming to [email protected]. The pick of the pics will also take pride of place in our autumn/winter issue later this year. Happy snapping and be careful out there!
Celebrate Chinese New Year in one of the delightful private dining rooms at Kai (tel: 020 7493 8988) on 31 January or 6 February and enjoy a free reading from one of the world's leading astrologers, Ting-Foon Chik. The restaurant has also created three tempting new dishes to welcome in the New Year. To book, contact Natalie on 020 7493 8988.
Mayor Boris Johnson (pictured here with Square Meal’s Annica Wainwright, Laura Dickinson and Julia Phelps) has officially opened Forman’s Fish Island (tel: 020 8525 2399), a brand new event venue with unobstructed views of the 2012 Olympic Stadium. The salmon-shaped building is home to Britain’s oldest salmon smoker and houses two sizeable event spaces (accommodating 200 and 600 guests respectively) alongside a 40-cover restaurant, extensive kitchens and the smokehouse itself.
The full list of nominations for the Orange British Academy Film Awards 2009 have been announced by Gemma Arterton and Hayley Atwell at 195 Piccadilly - BAFTA, with Kate Winslet (fresh from her two Golden Globes) nominated twice in the Leading Actress category, alongside fellow Brit Kristin Scott Thomas. We'll be bringing you exclusive, behind-the-scenes coverage of the BAFTAs (taking place on Sunday 8 February at the Royal Opera House) in our Spring issue!
Already boasting some of the most extensive C&B facilities in London, Novotel London West has just announced extensive refurbishment plans that will see the group & conference arrival desks upgraded, along with a restaurant and lounge bar refurb and the addition of a second restaurant and new cocktail bar. Finally the Chablis Suite will be redesigned, with floating sound-proofed walls added. Full plans will be unveiled at Confex in February 2009.
Here's a novel way to entertain clients over the next three months. Fresh from a sell-out two-year tour in Cape Town, Madame Zingara's Theatre of Dreams (tel: 0844 338 8888) comes to Battersea Power Station from December 12, under the canvas of one of the world's only remaining Spiegeltents. A four-course meal is served alongside a theatrical display of acrobatics, singing, actors and performers, with no guest further than eight metres away from the stage.
Yesterday saw the unveiling of a new rugby trophy honouring the late Sir Edmund Hillary and his contribution to New Zealand and Great Britain. Thomas Lyte Silver was commissioned by the RFU to create the shield, which will be contested for the first time tomorrow at the Investec Challenge Test match, when the All Blacks take on England at Twickenham. Created from 9kg of Sterling Silver, it will be presented to the winning team by Sir Edmund Hillary's widow, Lady Hillary.
The curiously named Bob Bob Ricard (tel: 020 3145 1000), all-day English-style brasserie, has opened in Soho this week, on the former site of Circus. With a striking design by David Collins, inspired by first-class Edwardian train travel, the sexy private dining room (The Owner's Salon), seating up to 16, is open until 3am, as is the downstairs basement bar.
Doubletree launched their first UK hotel in Cambridge earlier this year, Aberdeen soon followed and now the third opening is in London, rebranding the Courthouse Hotel as the Courthouse Doubletree by Hilton - Regent Street (tel: 020 7297 5555). Event facilities include the delightful rooftop terrace for cocktail receptions and one of the biggest private cinemas in London, seating 94.
Cheer yourself up post New Year slump by heading down to the O2 arena, where an artificial twin 45m ski slope (The Kiss 100 Slopes) is in situ until 25 January. Aside from skiing and snowboarding, you can try out snow tubes (inflatable sledges). Book the slopes exclusively for 35 people: one slope is £800 and includes two instructors and ski hire; both slopes is £1400. To book, contact Nicola Lucas on 020 8463 2125 or email [email protected]
We've put together a round-up of seasonal skating rinks, all of which are now open and available for private hire. The Natural History Museum has particularly appealing corporate packages, including hire of a private area in the Cafe Bar for two hours of post-skating Pimm's Winter Cup drinking!
Bringing new meaning to the term liquid lunch, the bar at Skylon has introduced a three-course cocktail ‘menu’, with drinks served alongside matching canapés. Our favourite is the ‘starter’, which sees a lingonberry Champagne cocktail matched to venison carpaccio with beetroot and hazelnuts. This is followed by a rosemary and lychee martini ‘main’ with hot-smoked salmon, plus a spiced bourbon cocktail with chunks of nougat for ‘dessert’. The three courses cost £35.
Restaurant with a view Babylon has just reopened with a glamorous new look. Inspired by the building's history (iconic fashion brand Biba was based here in the Seventies), the interior has been brightened and lightened, with flock wallpaper, green leather chairs and colourful artwork. The private dining room, seating 12, has also been refurbished with cream wallpaper, softly lit by chandeliers.
With a 30-seater private dining room and a delightful chef's table seating 10, newly opened Corrigan's Mayfair (tel: 020 7499 9943) is bound to be popular with private diners looking for a fabulous fine-dining option in the West End. The chef's table (aka The Club Room) has a glass partition with the kitchen, offering fascinating views of the chefs and the pass.
Owned by Nick Valentine (Cuckoo Club owner) and with a membership committee numbering the likes of Tracy Emin and Alice Temperley, Molton House (tel: 020 7493 1688), opening this week, means business. The five-storey Georgian townhouse in South Molton Street has a 120-capacity for private events, with the cocktail bar holding a further 45, and there are private booths dotted throughout.
Dependably stylish City and Docklands bar chain, Corney & Barrow, has opened two new bars. New Street Square, located on the western-most fringes of the City near Holborn, encompasses fine dining in a 14-seater private room plus exclusive weekend hire for 200; while Lime Street, near Bank (and the first Corney & Barrow to serve cask ale from the Cotswold’s Hook Norton Brewery), has private dining for 12, an 80-capacity lounge bar available for weekday hire and exclusive weekend hire for up to 350.
A new bar and sake lounge opens at Japanese Soho favourite Bincho Yakitori (tel: 020 7803 0858) this week. A slinky lounge space holds up to 40 for private hire and there's an extensive list of sake and shochu, not to mention Japanese cocktails and an extended wine list, all overseen by renowned 'master of Sake' Shige Seo.
This week sees the opening of All Star Lanes, Brick Lane, the third in London for the company & the largest yet, with a private room holding 120 and boasting three bowling lanes (Holborn and Bayswater each have two). Set on a mezzanine floor above the main bowling hall, the room has a luxurious American 80s penthouse feel, with its own cocktail bar and kitchen station in the room, so canapés or private dining for smaller groups can be accommodated. For larger groups, the main bowling hall is also available for exclusive hire.
We're glad to see conference venues getting greener and more charitable: the latest is One Queen Anne's Gate (tel: 020 7344 1884), who are suggesting that for every bottle of chilled tap water clients consume during an event, they make a voluntary donation to the Tap into WaterAid programme. All donations fund life-saving water, sanitation and hygiene education projects in the developing world.
The UK's first 'LA-style dive bar' has opened in Islington's bar-packed Upper Street. Slim Jim's Liquor Store (tel: 020 7354 4363) has a lived-in, retro feel, with bare-brick walls, 50s-style stools and diner booths. Private hire for up to 40 can be accommodated any night of the week, or exclusive hire can be arranged on Monday nights. Fine whiskies and rums complement a musical backdrop of guitar-based rock and roll.
Europe's leading magic company has a new name and identity. Dynamic FX has become Magicians.co.uk, to better reflect the nature of the company's core business. An approved supplier at The Magic Circle Headquarters, it has been delivering magical entertainment and services for nearly 20 years, and in 2007 was voted one of the UK's top 20 entertainment companies.
Swanky private members' club Home House (tel: 020 7670 2000) has bought up the building next door and opened it as Home House at 21 Portman Square. Hire the very sexy House Bar & Lounge designed by architect du jour Zaha Hadid, with a 60-person capacity, stocked with fabulous cocktails & vintage Champagnes. There are five further private hire spaces, all equally stylish. The space also boasts two bedrooms, which can be opened up and turned into a two-bedroom apartment, plus a state-of-the-art gym and spa.
S Bar in Battersea Bridge Road has now become The Brunel (tel: 020 7223 3322), so-called as Brunel once had a factory over the road. The bar is dark, moody, sexy and beautifully designed, a theme which follows through to the upstairs 200-capacity events space, Kingdom. Designed to look like a New York loft apartment, hire is free and the room has its own bar, complete with late licence. There is also a Conservatory holding 50.
Ever popular Mexican Tequila bar Green & Red launches a new basement venue this week, with a party on Thursday which you can sign up for on their website. It's a 200-capacity space (320 if you include the existing upstairs restaurant) called Chamucos (tel: 020 7749 9670) with a late licence, loungey leather seating and funky decor.
When the weather in London is colder than Moscow, it's time to head indoors and pay a visit to cosy Clos Maggiore in Covent Garden, where they've just started lighting their delightful log fire in the private dining room. Seating 30, amid warm, oak-panelled surroundings, it's a lovely place to wind away a winter evening, Even better, exclusive hire is currently free of charge.
Sophisticated Fitzrovia bar/restaurant Vanilla has just gone 'tasting menu only', apparently the first restaurant in London to do so in the evening, and the good news is that the menus will be available for private events too. Head chef Izu Ani (ex The Square) feels his clean, fresh cooking style is better suited to smaller dishes, and has devised three tasting menus, of four, six or 10 courses.
Delegates have a new reason for booking events at prestigious Westminster venue One Great George Street. There's a new £1m kitchen and in-house restaurant Brasserie One has been refurbished, and is now available (alongside the Café Bar) for private hire on weekday evenings for up to 100. The food is delicious and the restaurant is open to the public at lunchtime, so why not pop in and taste the wares?
What location could be more appropriate for Gaucho's latest launch than that of Smithfields? Enjoy the award-winning Argentinian chain's tasty steaks at the 135-capacity restaurant, together with a bar and private dining room for 12. Alongside the fine meat and Ceviches, diners can enjoy views of the listed buildings of Smithfield Market & the City skyline beyond. Unlike other venues in the area, it's open seven days a week, pleasing City workers and residents alike.
Exciting new developments are afoot at Millbank Tower. Tuesday night saw the unveiling of plans to double the capacity of lofty events venue Altitude in early 2009. Unveiling those plans was none other than our very own Mayor, Boris Johnson, who inspired attendees with his enthusiasm for the project, which will open up the other half of the L-shaped venue to more stunning views of the city skyline. The contemporary venue will also rename itself, becoming (appropriately enough) Altitude 360.
Just in time for the nights drawing in, new members' club Paramount (tel: 020 7379 5484) opened last week, 35 floors up in the Centre Point building. The 31st floor events space is accessible to non-members, with its own entrance and lift, plus a dramatic 10m long bar facing west to catch the sunset. The room holds up to 350 standing or 160 seated.
We're loving the name of the latest addition to the ever-burgeoning Shoreditch bar scene: The Last Days of Decadence (tel: 020 7729 2896). The bar has an old-fashioned 1920s glamour about it and is available for private hire Sunday through Thursday, with a 330 capacity. The basement bar can also be hired independently for 200.
Vinopolis is branching into comedy, hosting Laughter Lounge on the last Friday of every month. For a very reasonable £10 in advance or £12 on the door, you get to view three hours of excellent stand-up from the likes of Paul Tonkinson and Brendan Dempsey, alongside a Borough Market-inspired menu (not included in the ticket price).
There are 'Hubs' in twelve cities worldwide: London already has two in Islington and the South Bank. Now a third has just opened: The Hub King's Cross (tel: 020 7833 9991), offering three levels of private event space in a striking Grade II-listed building, available on selected week nights and at weekends. Maximum capacity is 130.
In a convenient location just off Trafalgar Square, Trafalgar Events opens this week, ready for business with its seven rooms using colour therapy to suit the mood of your meeting. The basement can be used as a disco or screening room and has a small courtyard, plus a balcony will open by Christmas on the first floor.
America Square in the City is now open for business. With an original piece of 2,000-year old Roman Wall running through it, extensive meeting spaces include seven meeting rooms, seating from two to 200. The venue is run by Cavendish Conference Venues and will be the fourth addition to their existing three West End venues.
This year's V&E show saw the launch of The Square Meal Canapé Cup competition. 10 catering companies and venues with affiliated caterers all submitted delicious entries but the winner was Sodexo Prestige with its buttermilk and rosemary sweetcorn fritter, peppered confit rabbit with apple glaze and watercress puree. Second place went to The Cinnamon Club and the-recipe came third. Congratulations to all involved!
We were thrilled to welcome over 7,000 of you to Old Billingsgate on 17 and 18 September for our fourth annual Venues & Events exhibition. Another resounding success, we had a huge number of new exhibitors and some great new features such as the Square Meal Canapé Cup; our 'insider knowledge' seminars were also more popular than ever. It's encouraging to see that even in what was a terrible week for the financial sector, we managed to buck the gloomy news with a 14 per cent increase in turnout too.
We were delighted by your feedback from our show seminars last week and due to popular demand, we've put all our presentations online for you in PDF format. Click through to read and download!
At last an alternative to Sarastro: Le Bel Canto has just opened in the City. Already a big hit in Paris, it's essentially a programme of live opera, sung by professional singers and accompanied by pianists, alongside excellent three course dinners. Great for a private party for up to 160 or tables within normal service for up to 30.
Though the likes of The Cross, Canvas and The Key have closed in King's Cross, The Egg is still going strong and has opened a new top floor, VR5 (tel: 020 7609 8364). It's a very funky space, holding 275 for a party, and has its own entrance and smoking terrace, along with some rather adventurous light projections.
Kings Place is now open for business in King's Cross, with all sorts of flexible spaces up for hire, including London's first new concert hall in London since the Barbican in 1982, holding up to 420, or there's the Battlebridge Room overlooking Regent's Canal, for up to 330. Two art galleries make attractive drinks reception spaces and there's a private dining room for up to 20.
London Fashion Week has started and this year's official hotel is the May Fair. If you're a fashion junkie, hang out in the lobby this week, where designers, supermodels and buyers will be holding court. The hotel has all the right credentials, with the largest private screening room in town, and the Crystal Room, boasting the biggest Baccarat chandelier in Europe.
We've launched some snazzy new features on our website which means you can create your own profile and start building your own mini Venues & Events guide. Create your own lists (say, 'Christmas party ideas' or 'Private dining venues') or build up a list of favourite caterers and party planners, and there's even the capability to email the list to your colleague. For more information click here, or if you’re raring to go, simply login with the box on the left (you may need to register if you don’t already have a Square Meal account).
Covent Garden has a new dedicated meetings and events space right by the Piazza. Formerly the Theatre Museum, The Flower Cellars (tel: 020 7170 9133) is a great blank canvas space, with two floors of event space holding up to 250 on the ground floor and 750 on the lower ground, with bare brick and whitewashed walls. The Hospital Club Events Company will oversee bookings and events.
When Kingly Court-based private members' club Bureau (tel: 020 7494 4386) opened earlier this month, we were disappointed that this slick, New York-style basement bar was only available for private hire to non-members on a Sunday. But hurray - we've just heard that it is now open for weekday or night bookings too, with a capacity of 80 for drinks and gourmet bar food.
Now there's the chance to sample all of Tom Aikens' signature dishes in private dining, seating up to ten, with matched wines chosen by Sommelier of the Year 2008 Gearoid Devaney. Enjoy the Classic Menu at £100 per person (with wines, £175 per person), with such delights as poached lobster tail and cured venison with venison carpaccio.
Switch on to BBC One tonight at 8pm and spot Italian restaurant Number Twelve on Celebrity Masterchef, as the three remaining finalists fine tune their cooking at top London restaurants. The restaurant has recently been nominated as Best Italian Restaurant at the London Restaurant Awards and can be hired exclusively for up to 70; combine with a meeting in one of Ambassadors Bloomsbury's meeting rooms (the restaurant sits on its ground floor).
One of South Yorkshire's finest hotels, Aston Hall, has just opened a new West Wing to its 1772 main house. Mirroring its beautiful Georgian architecture, the Wing adds a further 29 bedrooms and two new meeting rooms, holding up to 30 people boardroom or 60 theatre style.
Not another private members' club I hear you cry? Well, Victory (tel: 020 7240 0700) is thankfully something a little bit different. Newly opened, membership is free but granted on the premise that you have a story to tell: only creative, witty raconteurs need apply. All areas of the imaginative New Oxford Street venue are also available for private hire, from Victory Street (a movie set-inspired avenue with shop windows) to a Library and Apartment.
Swiftly following on the heels of L'Atelier des Chefs comes The Kitchen (tel: 020 7736 8067): an exciting new 'meal assembly' concept whereby time-poor Londoners can order a meal online (with menus created by a Michelin-starred chef), then pop in to the Parsons Green kitchen, where the ingredients for said meal are all ready to be put together and taken home by you to enjoy. What's more, bespoke private bookings are available for up to 16, with a Champagne reception and team cooking, followed by a food and wine matching experience.
The Mandarin Oriental's delightful new outdoor dining space, The Park Terrace, has opened and to celebrate, the hotel is offering complimentary room hire when you book a private reception on the Terrace, for a minimum of 150 guests. Other excellent deals include a complimentary upgrade from a sparkling wine reception to a Champagne reception at lunch or dinner, and a special offer on canapés, which are reduced to £12 per person (normal price £16). The various offers are valid until the end of December, as long as you book before the end of August.
At last - a way to shop at Hamleys without getting surrounded by over-excited children. We love the sound of the after-hours parties for corporate groups, which include private shopping (with a discount) throughout the store, canapés and Champagne. DJs and live entertainment can be laid on and don't forget Hamleys host childrens' parties too, including a sleepover (we're jealous!)
Things are hotting up at the Cinnamon Club, where chef Vivek Singh has created the world's hottest curry (allegedly). It's already been submitted to the Guiness World Records and diners have to sign a disclaimer before eating it, stating they understand the nature and risks involved with eating such a dish. What makes it so darn spicy? It's the Naga pepper and its seeds, which is 100 times hotter than your common or garden jalapeno pepper. Private diners, proceed with caution!
Not a lot of people know this but you can hire s&m cafes for private events, the latest being this week's new opening in Leadenhall Market (tel: 020 7626 6646). The 200-capacity space is their largest yet, with 3100 sq ft spread out over three floors. And if you fancy bangers and mash on the river, check out s&m ahoy! - a catering service aboard Thames Clippers from Tate Britain to Woolwich.
You're spoilt for choice with no less than four private dining rooms at newly opened restaurant/bar Devonshire Terrace (tel: 020 7256 3233). Even better, each has its own balcony and sliding doors, so you can be part of the adjacent restaurant or completely sealed off. A great new option for private diners in the City...
Forget everything you thought you knew about teambuilding cookery classes: L’atelier des Chefs (tel: 020 7499 6580) is reinventing the wheel in their swanky Wigmore Street kitchens. We particularly like the ‘cook, eat and run’ concept, where you can pop down at lunchtime and cook a tasty meal in just 30 minutes: best of all, it's 2-for-1 until 31 August, a saving of £9 each. Elsewhere, up to 150 can be accommodated for a teambuilding session and classes can last from half an hour to four hours.
You don't need an excuse to hold an outdoor meeting this week if you're anywhere near St James' Park on Thursday and Friday. Tell your boss that all that greenery and nature is very inspiring and make use of Visit London's Outdoor Office. Overlooking the lake, just off Birdcage Walk, the office will house a reception area, boardroom, 'creative' room, work desk area and a water cooler. Areas and desks can be reserved (via the Visit London website) for up to two hours between 9.30am and 6pm.
Grade I-listed former Midland Bank headquarters at 27-35 Poultry is all set to be transformed into London's first six star hotel (surprise surprise, the owner is a Russian oligarch). Private members' clubs, a roof garden and 184 bedrooms are thought to be in the offing. Rumours also abound that the Cafe Royal is set to receive the six star hotel treatment over the next couple of years(don't forget to book those Christmas parties there while you still can).
Quick newsflash if you're planning events for later this year: both the new Saatchi Gallery (tel: 020 8968 9331) in Chelsea and The 108 (tel: 020 8305 3091) at the O2 in Greenwich have delayed their respective openings until October. Both were due to launch this month but builders being builders...
We're delighted that so many venues are opening up their roofs this summer, one of the latest being the RIBA award-winning Coin Street Neighbourhood Centre, with fabulous views of the OXO Tower one way, and the National Theatre and London Eye the other. Inside, all meeting rooms have floor-to-ceiling windows, and there's a strong emphasis on environmentally friendly materials throughout the building.
You only have a few dates left to hold a party at The Crystal Palace, a soaring temporary glass conservatory on the banks of the Serpentine, amidst the grand surrounds of Hyde Park (London Fashion Week is already booked in for some of their shows). Dates are available between 10-21 September in the 500-capacity venue. The Royal Parks Foundation has appointed The Rouge Partnership to operate the venue on the charity’s behalf, with proceeds going to support the Foundation’s conservation work.
The wonderful Wellcome Collection celebrates its first anniversary this month. Combining three contemporary galleries together with the Wellcome Library, public events forum, café, bookshop and of course the Wellcome Collection Conference Centre, look out for new exhibition 'Skeletons: London's buried bones' from next month, drawn from the Museum of London's astonishing collection of 17,000 skeletons spanning 16 centuries!
The sun is back so we're all heading for the Urban Beach at hip new club 54 Mile End. Imported Caribbean sand, decking and an 'Ibizan-influenced garden' make for a delightful outside urban space for BBQs. Going inside, choose between a boutique bar and restaurant, edgy basement club or top floor VIP area, all of which are available individually for private hire from Monday through Thursday (weekends are usually filled by a club promoter but check for details).
Dylan Thomas biopic 'The Edge of Love' premieres in Edinburgh this week, starring Keira Knightley and Sienna Miller. Major scenes were filmed at Café de Paris, so look out for the magnificent 500-capacity Ballroom in the film, transported back to 1940s London.
This Saturday, Fête de la Musique (Music Day) festivities will be taking place at Covent Garden favourite Café des Amis, where from 7pm, a French male soprano and pianist will be performing a repertory of famous opera and popular tunes. Check out the 70-seater Renaissance Room and the basement wine bar: perfectly placed for pre- or post-ROH performances.
The Butcher's Block, chef's table at Jason Atherton's mouthwatering Maze Grill (tel: 020 7495 2211), has three new neighbours in the form of private dining rooms. Opening this month, The Dalby Room (20 standing, 10 seated), The Somerton Room (75 standing, 40 seated) and The Hampton Room (75 standing, 40 seated) have been designed by the team behind Nobu and The Metropolitan, so stylish results are expected.
Holborn-based The Lincoln Centre has gained another floor with three new meeting rooms. Each is named after a famous artist: Hogarth seating 16, Turner Suite seating 24 and Blake seating six, overlooking Lincoln's Inn Fields and serving as an attractive private dining room.
St Pancras has a new four-star hotel, purpose-built and holding meetings for up to 60. The Megaro Hotel also boasts a rather delicious restaurant, delivering fresh foie gras daily from Paris, with executive chef, Paul Ribbands (formerly of The Lanesborough) at the helm.
Five minutes from Royal Oak or Bayswater tube is new meetings venue The Commander. Three individual rooms, along with a bar, restaurant and gardens, make attractive meeting spaces for 110 in the blank canvas Gallery; 20 in The Hereford boardroom; or there's The Library which serves as a small office.