Arty & designer

These are the sorts of venue that can help you make a statement without doing much to them. You’ll notice that a fair few of the selections below are stylish restaurants. That’s because so many of the best around London are being designed by top-name design houses. Book into one of their private dining rooms or hire them out exclusively and you can sure to add instant cachet to the event you’re organising. Elsewhere there are private members clubs and hotels that share that designer feel in both the architecture and decor which gives them a fashionable, on-trend feel. Don’t forget to check out the older venues in this list too: these vintage spaces do ‘timeless’ to a turn.

Updated on 19 November 2018

London has always been a hub for designers and arty types working in the creative industries. As a result, there is no shortage of eclectic and funky venues to choose from to make your event fun and fashionable. Squaremeal.co.uk has a list of the top arty and designer venues for all manner of events, from a wedding in one of London's best-known museums to a cool party or reception in a boutique bar or restaurant. You'll find arty and designer venues in all areas of the capital too, from party bars in the City, to nightclubs in the West End.

In the list above there are also spaces to suit those looking to organise a conference. You can keep even the most corporate of events in vogue, with an art-inspired, contemporary venue. If you're confident you know what is hip and stylish and you fancy yourself as the designer of your own party, why not look at our blank canvas venues, allowing you to make the most of your unusual theme ideas and trends.

Pause Bar

Pause Bar

80-84 Leadenhall Street, London, EC3A 3DH

A modern restaurant, cocktail bar and private event space just across the road from the Lloyd’s building, Pause makes the most of the City’s excellent transport links to offer itself as a convenient venue for sleek corporate events. In daylight hours, its clean lines and dynamic service make it a sanctuary for streamlined business meetings in a relatively informal setting – all fuelled by seasonal menus. As night falls, the same space transforms into a cool spot for hosting an evening crowd. A late license means it can not only handle product launches and conferences but take on their after-parties too.

Max Meeting 100
Max Standing 220
Max Banquet 120
The Arch London

The Arch London

50 Great Cumberland Place, Marble Arch, London, W1H 7FD

Georgian architecture and elegant modern touches combine to create a five-star townhouse hotel well worth considering for meetings and private dining events. Whitehall 944 is the best spot for formal seated affairs and offers the up-to-date tech you’ll need for a smooth-running board-level meeting. More relaxed spaces include the Martini Library and Study, which work well for brainstorming and break-out sessions as well as leisurely cocktail receptions.

Max Meeting 18
Max Standing 60
Max Banquet 48
Grace Hall

Grace Hall

147 Leadenhall Street, City of London, London, EC3V 4QT

The latest addition to the Camm & Hooper stable, this thoroughbred Leadenhall venue was built in the 1920s for a New York bank. From the uplit columns and marble of the Main Hall to the ornate feature window of the Director’s Observatory, the neoclassical grandeur is still there. Find your way to the secluded Archives for meetings around an original fireplace, or head down to the speakeasy-style Grace Below for atmospheric drinks receptions.

Max Meeting 200
Max Standing 350
Max Banquet 170
Bernardi

Bernardi's

62 Seymour Street, Marble Arch, London, W1H 5BN

A modern, neighbourhood Italian on buzzy Seymour Place, Bernardi’s should impress groups of colleagues as well as important clients. The ground floor centres around an open kitchen and is good for informal gatherings over small, shareable pizzette and fresh pasta dishes. For more formal occasions, long tables can be set up in front of the dining room’s main bar, or groups can descend to The Dog House cocktail bar, which can be taken over for private dinners.

Max Standing 170
Max Banquet 100
Aster

Aster

150 Victoria Street, Victoria, London, SW1E 5LB

On two floors in Victoria’s Nova Complex, D&D London’s Aster is headed by exec chef Helena Puolakka, whose menus blend Nordic cuisine with French technique. The First Floor has fine views and can be hired exclusively. The Buckingham is the spot for semi-private dinners and receptions. For smaller groups, we like the Westminster, where tastings can be held, as well as the enclosed private dining room with its glazed wine display.

Max Meeting 16
Max Standing 500
Max Banquet 250
The Connaught

The Connaught

Carlos Place, Mayfair, London, W1K 2AL

This five-star property deserves a place in a list of London’s finest event-ready hotels. The headline Mayfair Room adds glamour to gala dinners and awards ceremonies with its sleek art deco interior. The light-filled Carlos Room can be used alone or in conjunction with the Regency Room for cocktail receptions, intimate weddings and dinners. Don’t miss the Sommelier’s Table, private dining room stocked with thousands of bottles of vintage wine.

Max Meeting 120
Max Standing 200
Max Banquet 120
Corrigan

Corrigan's Mayfair

28 Upper Grosvenor Street, Mayfair, London, W1K 7EH

Richard Corrigan’s glitzy Mayfair restaurant can be hired exclusively – and there’s also the option of its private dining rooms. The Lindsay Room has a 42in LCD screen, letting diners watch all the kitchen action, or, for a more private affair, Poet’s Corner offers a VIP feel. At the Chef’s Table, guests meet the kitchen brigade before taking their seats behind a glass wall to watch them at work. Lastly, in the Kitchen Library tasting menus are introduced and served by the chefs.

Max Meeting 30
Max Standing 150
Max Banquet 85
The Cinnamon Club Bar

The Cinnamon Club Bar

The Old Westminster Library, 30-32 Great Smith Street , Westminster, London, SW1P 3BU

The Cinnamon Club’s award-winning bar is a clean-cut, contemporary space, with a full-length glass wall and projectors playing scenes from Bollywood films. Standing birthday and anniversary parties are popular here, as are product launches and canapé receptions. An imaginative cocktail list is the basis of refreshments, with house signatures such as Long Island Spiced Tea. Moreish party platters feature king prawn skewers and stir-fried swordfish.

Max Standing 80
Kings Place

Kings Place

90 York Way , King's Cross, London, N1 9AG

Modern music-arts-restaurant hub Kings Place has been a prime mover in the regeneration of King’s Cross. Kings Place Events offers its hi-spec function rooms for private hire, including the Hall One auditorium, with its outstanding acoustics, and the Battlebridge Room, which looks out across Regent’s Canal. Available for exclusive use, the venue also houses the Rotunda restaurant, which has a large terrace for summer entertaining.

Max Meeting 100
Max Theatre 420
Max Standing 400
Max Banquet 120
Anise

Anise

9 Devonshire Square , Liverpool Street, London, EC2M 4YL

Part of Cinnamon Kitchen, Anise is a cool City cocktail lounge with solid foodie credentials. Just around the corner from Liverpool Street station, the bar has its own entrance and direct access to a covered terrace outside. Expect quality cocktails and sharing plates based on the signature spice blends that have won the Cinnamon group of restaurants a loyal following. Groups can learn to mix drinks as part of daytime or evening mixology masterclasses.

Max Meeting 50
Max Standing 150
Max Banquet 80
Serpentine Galleries

Serpentine Galleries

Kensington Gardens, Kensington, London, W2 3XA

Kensington Gardens is home to two of our favourite modern art galleries: the Serpentine Gallery and the more recent Serpentine Sackler Gallery. Together, the spaces combine the sense of occasion of a listed building with the coolness of a contemporary art space. The former will host private dinners, while both make formidable spaces for drinks receptions. Come summer, the temporary pavilion is a striking one-off space for standing soirées.

Max Standing 250
The Worx

The Worx

10 Heathman's Road, Fulham, London, SW6 4TJ

With nearly 3,000sq m of space to play with on a campus of nearly an acre, this industrial-feel venue has nine large, contemporary rooms leading off from a central courtyard and restaurant. All spaces have high ceilings and provide a blank canvas for a range of events, from themed parties to teambuilding. Conferencing clients include Rolls-Royce, Google and Yves Saint Laurent. The space is used for shoots, so lighting, stage and AV are easily arranged.

Max Meeting 220
Max Standing 1000
Max Banquet 220
The Groucho Club

The Groucho Club

45 Dean Street, Soho, London, W1D 4QB

Good news: the fabulously unstuffy Soho hangout of the arts and media set now offers seven spaces for non-members to book for events. Among our favourites are the Gennaro Room, an elegant showcase for the club’s modern-art collection, and the Snooker Room, which is good for discreet dinners. The latter has a staircase that leads to the Mary Lou Room, with its bar and open fireplace. The easy-going Club Room is the spot for intimate cocktail receptions.

Max Meeting 60
Max Standing 150
Max Banquet 100
Asia House

Asia House

63 New Cavendish Street , Marylebone, London, W1G 7LP

This Grade II-listed Georgian townhouse in Marylebone features interiors designed by neoclassical architects Robert and James Adam, with pretty signature touches such as filigree plasterwork and inset classical paintings. The three Fine Rooms, Hutchison Room and Library make elegant, Regency-style settings for dinners, conferences and receptions. Elsewhere, the more modern Gallery has been designed as an exhibition space and can be hired separately.

Max Meeting 40
Max Standing 250
Max Banquet 120
The Berkeley

The Berkeley

Wilton Place, Knightsbridge, London, SW1X 7RL

Just round the corner from Hyde Park, this Maybourne Hotel Group property matches a colourful history with thoroughly modern interiors. This is particularly visible in the Ballroom, where black-tie dinners and conferences benefit from a high-end, contemporary backdrop. Elsewhere, the smaller Motcomb Room, with its Harris Tweed-clad walls, has the feel of a members club – just the place if you need a characterful spot to host a board meeting.

Max Meeting 250
Max Theatre 250
Max Standing 600
Max Banquet 250
Bingham

Bingham

61-63 Petersham Road Richmond-Upon-Thames , London, TW10 6UT

The event spaces at the boutique Bingham make the most of the hotel’s delightful location on the banks of the Thames. From the trio of interconnecting Garden Rooms, a glazed corridor leads through to a terrace with landscaped gardens and the river just beyond. Accessed via a private entrance, the spaces can be joined or separated by soundproof doors, accommodating board meetings just as readily as conferences and weddings (the Bingham has a civil licence). The rooms are bright and elegant with a private bar, large windows and French doors that lead onto the terrace, which is covered and heated in winter. Top-of-the-range technology includes plasma screens and intelligent lighting systems. Food is another highlight – the restaurant has a whole host of awards to its name – including energy-boosting lunches to keep delegates focused. A collection of 15 stylish bedrooms caters for overnighters.

Max Meeting 60
Max Standing 150
Max Banquet 90
Institute of Contemporary Arts (ICA)

Institute of Contemporary Arts (ICA)

The Mall, St. James's, London, SW1Y 5AH

Described by Damien Hirst as the ‘cultural heartbeat of London’, the Institute of Contemporary Arts is a modern creative hub close to Trafalgar Square. The Regency-style Nash and Brandon Rooms are elegant spaces for product launches, receptions and dinners, giving prime views of Big Ben and The Mall. Elsewhere, conference needs are met in either of its two top-spec cinemas. For a blank-canvas space, check out the venue’s theatre.

Max Meeting 186
Max Theatre 186
Max Standing 350
Max Banquet 150
Leighton House Museum

Leighton House Museum

12 Holland Park Road, Kensington, London, W14 8LZ

The old home of Frederic, Lord Leighton – Victorian painter and former president of the RA – this museum is one of London’s hidden gems. Tucked away behind a rambling red-brick exterior, statement backdrops abound here. Among them, the domed interior of Leighton’s Studio is a striking spot for dinner parties, while cocktail receptions can be held in the opulent Arab Hall – the museum’s centrepiece, designed to house the artist’s priceless collection of 16th- and 17th-century Islamic tiles and the house’s central fountain. Private events must take place in the evening as Leighton House is open to the public during the day.

Max Meeting 100
Max Standing 150
Max Banquet 60
Humble Grape Battersea

Humble Grape Battersea

2 Battersea Rise, London, SW11 1ED

As the name suggests, wine is central to this Battersea venue’s offering, where the team imports the good stuff from small, sustainable vineyards. Removing the middle man provides customers with quality bottles at hard-to-beat prices – with relaxed tasting evenings a regular fixture. Groups can book exclusive sessions, for all-level teambuilding events – alternatively, the experts can travel to you. We like the sound of a blind-tasting competition before a seated dinner, while the ‘Tour de France’ and ‘History of Wine in London’ both sound like fun too. Packages range from entry level to high end and the restaurant serves modern European dishes.

Max Meeting 40
Max Standing 60
Max Banquet 42
Battersea Arts Centre

Battersea Arts Centre

Lavender Hill, Battersea, London, SW11 5TN

In a Grade II*-listed former town hall, Battersea Arts Centre stands tall as a south London cultural hub. Currently undergoing a refurb, its Grand Hall – originally a Victorian ballroom – is accepting hires from February 2019. In the meantime, there are 12 more rooms on site for meetings and networking. For social events, there’s the living room-style Waiting Room, or the light, airy Members’ Library, which has its own anteroom.

Max Meeting 300
Max Standing 600
Max Banquet 300
Aqua Regent Street

Aqua Regent Street

30 Argyll Street, Oxford Street, London, W1F 7EB

Aqua has two destination restaurants on Regent Street taking up 1,600sq m, five floors above Oxford Circus. It offers the choice of stylish Japanese at Aqua Kyoto or modern Spanish at Aqua Nueva, along with cocktails in the adjacent Aqua Spirit. Aqua Kyoto has a glass-walled PDR, while Nueva’s La Casita and El Salon make a striking pair of private dining spaces next door. The venue’s three terraces, overlooking the rooftops of Regent Street, are a highlight.

Max Standing 800
Max Banquet 250
28 West

28 West

28 Westferry Circus, London, E14 8RR

Down on Canary Wharf waterfront, 28 West takes the edge off busy days in the financial district. Alongside continental beers and classic cocktails, menus cover the casual bistro bases (think burgers and steaks). Its two spaces can be hired privately: the Bar for buzzy standing receptions with bowl food and canapés; the Lounge for sharing platters on sofas. VIP events are handled with aplomb; for more ad hoc occasions, there’s table football in the bar.

Max Meeting 70
Max Standing 350
Max Banquet 80
Blueprint Café

Blueprint Café

Blueprint Café, First Floor, Bermondsey, London, SE1 2YD

With retractable floor-to-ceiling windows along its outside wall, this riverside restaurant makes a bright, scenic setting for events. Selling points include panoramic views from Tower Bridge to Canary Wharf and an outdoor terrace for fair-weather drinks. British-leaning menus feature the likes of potted duck, piccalilli and toasted sourdough, followed by roasted cod, creamed king cabbage, bacon and new potatoes. Desserts might include eton mess and lemon posset.

Max Standing 170
Max Banquet 120
Ace Hotel London Shoreditch

Ace Hotel London Shoreditch

100 Shoreditch High Street , Shoreditch, London, E1 6JQ

Walk into this slick hotel’s lobby and you’ll find groups of creatives working on Macbooks. But The Rooftop, with its variety of different light-filled spaces, is where to look for private events. The largest of the bunch is the AV-ready 100 Room, which has proven as popular for banquets as it has techy product launches. Summer brings the rooftop bar and terrace into focus, where guests can enjoy views out across Shoreditch.

Max Meeting 30
Max Theatre 100
Max Standing 236
Max Banquet 48
Aqua Shard

Aqua Shard

Level 31, The Shard, London Bridge, London, SE1 9RY

London – all of it – is the backdrop to any event at Aqua Shard, on level 31 of western Europe’s tallest building. Even the toilets come with a view. A distinctly British theme runs through the venue, from the Liberty-print banquettes to a menu big on home-grown ingredients. There’s a spacious private dining room if your event is a little more exclusive, or the semi-private Gin Wing for larger affairs. Its little sister, Tea Wing, is another glass-clad event space.

Max Meeting 22
Max Standing 360
Max Banquet 180
The Curtain

The Curtain

45 Curtain Road, London, EC2A 3PT

One of the biggest openings in Shoreditch for a while, The Curtain comes with a private members club, four restaurants and a rooftop pool. True to its hipster environs, the post-industrial space features exposed brick walls, wooden floors and factory windows. We’re particularly impressed with the diversity of its spaces, which include a ballroom, screening room and live performance room. There’s also knockout Southern soul food from ground-floor restaurant Red Rooster.

Max Meeting 140
Max Standing 350
Max Banquet 130
Electric Cinema

Electric Cinema

191 Portobello Road , London, W11 2ED

Following a refurbishment at the end of 2012, Soho House Group’s historic Electric Cinema on Portobello Road is back to its handsome best and open for exclusive hire on weekdays. Interiors at the landmark 102-year-old picture palace feature chandeliers, red leather armchairs, studded footstools and cashmere blankets, as well as a private bar. Food service is available before and after screenings (check out the cool retro sweet shop). Sound and projection facilities are now bang up to date, with HD and 3D capability for screenings, and computerised lighting and wireless mics for conferences, product launches and presentations. The DDR is reasonable too: £60 per head for groups of 40+.

Max Meeting 83
Max Standing 150
Max Banquet 0
South Place Hotel

South Place Hotel

3 South Place, Liverpool Street, London, EC2M 2AF

Art-laden walls and Conran interiors have helped D&D London’s South Place Hotel establish itself as a hip City hang-out. With five dedicated function rooms on its first floor, it’s also caught the eye of event organisers. Hire the five of them together and you’ll have space to invite up to 400 guests for multistage parties. The food is top drawer: Michelin-starred Angler, up on the roof, and the ground-floor South Place Chop House can both be hired exclusively.

Max Meeting 100
Max Standing 200
Max Banquet 100
Barbican Conference Centre

Barbican Conference Centre

Silk Street, Barbican, London, EC2Y 8DS

Europe’s largest arts and conference venue boasts world-class facilities. The tiered Barbican Hall and Barbican Theatre have good sight lines, fine acoustics and adjoining foyers. Three auditoria are also on offer, with adjacent conference suites. Elsewhere, a trio of banqueting rooms can be used together – a popular combination being the Conservatory and Garden Room (a plant-filled oasis). The Exhibition Hall has a versatile 1,800sq m of space.

Max Meeting 1950
Max Standing 2000
Max Banquet 350
Granary Square Brasserie

Granary Square Brasserie

1-3 Stable Street, King's Cross, London, N1C 4AB

You’ll find all the Caprice Holdings hallmarks at this new opening in King’s Cross’s Granary Square. In a lustrous, art deco main space, simple, well-executed dishes are paired to smart service. A semi-private dining area offers exclusivity to groups who want the buzz of the restaurant and, if it’s a dinner reservation, the soundtrack from the nightly DJs. The private space seats groups of up to a dozen for breakfast, lunch and dinner throughout the week.

Max Banquet 12
Hutong

Hutong

Level 33, The Shard, 31 St Thomas Street, Southwark, London, SE1 9RY

A couple of floors above Aqua Shard, its Chinese sister Hutong has amazing views from the Shard’s 33rd floor. Based on the hip Hong Kong establishment of the same name, the place is inspired by the imperial cuisine of old Peking. The traditional interior nods to the Anglo-Chinese tea trade, and its two red-lanterned private dining rooms continue the theme. Exclusive hire is an option, and you can add Aqua Shard to take the overall standing capacity to 700.

Max Meeting 24
Max Standing 340
Max Banquet 100
Strada Southbank

Strada Southbank

337-338 Belvedere Road, Southbank, London, SE1 8XX

Italian restaurant group Strada made its name serving fresh pasta and authentically thin and crispy pizzas at a time when they were rarely seen on the British high street. Today, its menus are familiar, but their comforting impact is the same. At the recently refreshed South Bank branch, groups can choose between the main dining room, an outdoor terrace and Foyles, a private area named for the famous bookshop next door.

Max Meeting 200
Max Standing 250
Max Banquet 160
The RSA House

The RSA House

8 John Adam Street, Charing Cross, London, WC2N 6EZ

Just off the Strand, the stylish Georgian home of the Royal Society of Arts is a highly versatile venue. Its Great Room – think domed-glass ceiling and period paintings – has movable seating that enables it to host events ranging from conferences to gala dinners. The striking and spacious Vaults can also be used for drinks receptions, meetings and dinners. In total, the venue has 11 spaces to choose from, and all come with the latest AV kit. It's also worth noting that the venue has a new coffee shop, Rawthmells that's ideal for casual business meetings.

Max Meeting 200
Max Standing 220
Max Banquet 140
Il Convivio

Il Convivio

143 Ebury Street, London, SW1W 9QN

Set inside a converted Georgian townhouse in Belgravia, Il Convivio (the banquet) takes its name from a poem by Dante, and pays homage with quotes written on the walls. As well as the restaurant, there is a private dining room and lounge: groups can take advantage of the latter before or after lunches, dinners or drinks receptions in the dining room. Menus feature Italian classics from macaroni with venison and red wine ragu to hazelnut parfait.

Max Standing 30
Max Banquet 65
The Folly

The Folly

41 Gracechurch Street, City of London, London, EC3V 0BT

Botanical features bring a touch of the outdoors to this Drake & Morgan outpost amid the high towers of the City, from its garden-inspired lounge to the relaxing private dining room. The first-floor bar and dining area works for large group dinners on wooden bench tables, while smaller gatherings are best served in the basement private dining room, or two even smaller vaults. Cocktail masterclasses are included in the venue’s teambuilding offering.

Max Meeting 250
Max Standing 600
Max Banquet 250
Camden House

Camden House

London Camden Triangle, Camden Lock Market, Chalk Farm, London, NW1 8AB

This 2018 new opening captures all of the most enduring modern event trends under one rectangular roof. Divided into zones, rather than rooms, Camden House is an airy, daylight-flooded, easy-access blank canvas. Even the venue’s central bar subdivides, giving its largest sub-space a private bar to go with its private entrance. That said, Zone 3’s biggest feature is probably its retractable roof. In all three zones, bi-folding walls and doors soundproof smaller events. For celebrations, the 2:30am licence is worth noting.

Max Meeting 550
Max Theatre 300
Max Standing 600
Max Banquet 400
Nobu Hotel Shoreditch

Nobu Hotel Shoreditch

10-50 Willow Street, Shoreditch, London, EC2A 4BH

Nobu Matsuhisa broke new ground in the 90s bringing Japanese-Peruvian Nikkei cuisine to the jet-setting classes. His illustrious miso black cod still makes waves at this east London hotel restaurant, which also offers some very 21st-century group options. As well as sake-tasting and sushi-making masterclasses in Asian-style surrounds, groups can go 'Omakase' – taking a limo around town to source the ingredients they want in their evening meal. Inside, the Kaijo events space divides into six for smaller gatherings; outside, a three-tiered courtyard can be privatised with a separate entrance.

Max Meeting 100
Max Standing 200
Max Banquet 240
Old Bengal Warehouse

Old Bengal Warehouse

16 New Street, Liverpool Street, London, EC2M 4TR

This multi-faceted venue occupies a Grade II-listed East India Company warehouse, housing four distinct bars and restaurants. The New Street Grill is split into two main areas and its plush interiors extend to the private dining room. The Fish Market is less formal: a seaside-inspired space with a terrace. Events can also be held in the venue’s handsome New Street Wine and its Old Bengal Bar, which has a walled courtyard and big focus on cocktails.

Max Standing 250
Max Banquet 80
The Rex Whistler Restaurant, Tate Britain

The Rex Whistler Restaurant, Tate Britain

Millbank, Pimlico, London, SW1P 4RG

The Rex Whistler is an artful space for private dinners, drinks receptions and wine tastings. Opened in 1927, Tate Britain’s restaurant is available for exclusive hire seven nights a week. It’s named after the fine British artist whose wraparound mural still graces its main space today. A widely praised wine list from the in-house wine cellar also demands exploration. For summer months, there’s a lovely garden terrace to be enjoyed too.

Max Standing 120
Max Banquet 80
London Transport Museum

London Transport Museum

Covent Garden Piazza (south east corner), Covent Garden , London, WC2E 7BB

A striking and characterful venue, the London Transport Museum is in a prime location on famous Covent Garden Piazza. Its galleries make an impressive backdrop for evening receptions and dinners, mixing old and new interiors with displays of iconic transport posters and original artwork. The purpose-built Cubic Theatre is well suited to conferences and presentations, with state-of-the-art AV and a breakout area for registration and catering.

Max Meeting 200
Max Theatre 121
Max Standing 500
Max Banquet 150
Coin Street Conference Centre

Coin Street Conference Centre

108 Stamford Street, South Bank, London, SE1 9NH

Situated on the South Bank, the Coin Street Conference Centre is operated by social enterprise and development trust Coin Street Community Builders. Its purpose-built conference and event spaces have a contemporary feel, featuring concrete rafters dotted with utilitarian lamps. Most rooms have floor-to-ceiling windows and there’s a strong focus on environmentally sustainable features throughout. The flexible spaces suit a wide range of activities, from seminars and training to meetings and launches. Full AV facilities are available and the venue’s roof terrace (great for receptions) offers views of the London Eye and the BT Tower.

Max Meeting 170
Max Standing 250
Max Banquet 104