London's Best Private Party Venues For Smaller Groups

By Londonist Last edited 6 months ago
London's Best Private Party Venues For Smaller Groups
Image: iStock/Astarot.

Fewer than 30 of you, but still want to do a full takeover? We've got you covered, whether you have an office Christmas party to plan, a hen do on the horizon or a birthday you want to go big for. Check out our favourite places in London that offer rooms for private hire.

We've kept our pick of best pubs with function rooms for hire for a separate list.

Seated but not sedate

Sure, plenty of the places throughout the list can involve seating if that's your vibe, but there are a few we've picked out as being fundamentally suited to the times when you want to be clinking glasses over a communal feast, bonding over a film screening or hanging out together in more relaxed ways.

Genesis Cinema, Whitechapel

Image by Genesis Cinema, Whitechapel.

Curling up with a loved one on a sofa, but make it a party. The Genesis Cinema is outrageously good all the time: incredibly good value (£5 tickets all week); beautiful studio screens with big sofas, footstools and cocktail bar service to your seat; immaculate hot dogs... Combining all of those things into a big, glorious party where you fill one of their studio screens (up to 42 guests) with your friends, order a few rounds of very good cocktails and settle in to watch Die Hard (you can watch whatever you want, we just assumed you'd have the good taste to make it Die Hard) is the Grail of private cinema hire situations.

Genesis Cinema, Whitechapel. Ask about private screening studios and bar hire

Tendril, Mayfair

Image by Tendril, Mayfair.

If you're looking for a perfect private dining option for vegans and vegetarians, this is The One. But equally, if you're looking for a perfect private dining option for non-vegans and non-vegetarians, this is also The One. Rishim Sachdeva's plant-forward restaurant is one of 2023's loveliest new openings and beloved by everybody we've introduced it to no matter where on the vegan-to-meat-obsessive spectrum they land. Groups of 30 can take over the back room of the restaurant for their lunch and dinner set menus.

Tendril, Mayfair. Ask about private hire and set menus

London Shell Co., Paddington

Starting in Paddington and floating down the Regent's Canal through Little Venice, and into Camden, The Prince Regent has the distinction of being London's only cruising seafood restaurant and therefore also its best. But they'd be able to handle some competition — their six-course set menu would be great even in a more shorebound setting, the 2.5 hours you get to spend sliding gently along London's waterways in a tiny canalboat (eight tables) is just a bonus. Expect seasonal British and modern European dishes — like crab tartlets, clam risotto, and scallops with punchy, fishy hot sauce — and the occasional briny little martini.

Maximum capacity is 35 guests, with a flat fee of £600 for private hire and then a minimum spend on top of that, and a few different pricing levels and set-up options available for smaller groups.

London Shell Co., Paddington. Ask about private hire

Snooker Room at The Groucho Club, Soho

A white ball being potted on a red table
Image: iStock/penfold

Your chance to party like Harry Styles and Chrissie Hynde at the otherwise members-only Groucho Club, where the private dining and party spaces are available for public bookings. Our pick would be the Snooker Room — moody colours, warm lighting, and you can swap the snooker table for a dining table if that's the plan. Seats 16 for dinner, 25 for a screening.

Snooker Room at The Groucho Club, Soho. Ask about private hire

Vinarius, Bethnal Green

A small wine shop and enoteca on Roman Road with a supremely flexible attitude to making your party happen, Vinarius mixes a perfect level of helpful steers with freedom to more or less use the cosy shopfloor space as you want. Options include bespoke wine tastings, seated five-course Italian dinners (fits around 20 guests seated, 25-30 standing), charcuterie and cheese plates for standing events and, unsurprisingly, a lot of excellent wine on hand. There's no flat fee for hire; minimum spend levels depend on the night of the week and number of guests.

Vinarius, Bethnal Green. Ask about private hire for seated dinners and bar takeovers

See also the Console Room at Four Quarters, Peckham, later in this list.


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Convene at 22 Bishopsgate

Photo courtesy of Convene

If you’re looking to really impress your pals, co-workers or that Very Important corporate client, you need to know about Convene. This global hospitality company designs and operates premium, flexible event spaces all over the world – ideal for upscale dos, totally tailored to you! But its 22 Bishopsgate venue is especially easy on the eye – boasting stunning Square Mile views and all sorts of aesthetically pleasing amenities, from its floral-upholstered booths to the 360º emerald-tiled cocktail bar.

Speaking of refreshments, Convene at 22 Bishopsgate benefits from a top tier in-house hospitality support team. Their Executive Chefs have a seasonal ethos – whipping up fantastic farm-to-table feasts for your special occasion. If you’re mixing business with pleasure, you’ll be pleased to know that Convene also has an onsite AV team, as well as a range of meeting spaces to suit your needs.

Located just minutes from ten tube stations, 22 Bishopsgate is a great choice if you’re all travelling from different places (shout out to all you remote workers!) Enquire today and get ready to curate your perfect private party with Convene.‌


Bar spaces of all kinds

Wine bars, dive bars, sports bars, cocktail bars — take your pick from Philadelphia-themed basements and sake-centric mezzanines and Louisiana-influenced rooftops.

Kanpai, London Bridge

Image by Kanpai, London Bridge.

Recently moved from their previous home in Peckham, sake brewery and taproom Kanpai's now putting a Bermondsey Beer Mile spin on sake — their own, and a host of other specialist imports — from a new space. Expect similarly stripped-back warehouse looks to their last place, with the mezzanine level overlooking the bar and brewery available for private hire for 25-40 guests (with room for up to 30 seated).

There's no flat payment for private hire; it's charged with different levels of minimum spend throughout the week, starting at £600 and going up to £1,000 for Fri and Sat nights.

Kanpai, London Bridge. Ask about private hire options

The terrace at the Alligator Bar, Covent Garden

The Alligator Bar. Image by Louie London, Covent Garden.

Above Covent Garden restaurant Louie, the Alligator Bar's a beautifully-designed space that has a private-party feel even on standard evenings, with its quiet, shadowy entrance leading you to the top of the townhouse where there's a steady flow of jazz music and very good cocktails. And the terrace is the jewel in the Louie crown, a small, greenery-scattered space with a retractable glass roof — thanks to its rooftop perch and secretive entrance, feeling oddly secluded despite the very central location.

The Alligator Bar terrace can hold groups of up to 35, and for bigger parties you can also hire the bar itself and connect the spaces.

The Alligator Bar, Covent Garden. Ask about private hire options

Deep Cuts, Hackney

Image by Deep Cuts, Hackney.

A neighbourhoody aperitivo bar with a strong cocktail list, a mid-century modern look and scattered with good armchairs and alcoves for that living room party feel — though with a better soundsystem than we can claim at our place, plus less risk of angering your own neighbours: Deep Cuts is ticking a lot of our house-party-without-trashing-your-own-home boxes. Bonus points for the sizeable range of gins and vermouths and the big folding doors that open onto the street in the summer.

Deep Cuts, Hackney. Ask about private hire

Passyunk Avenue, Fitzrovia

For dive-bar-flavoured Americana you can't beat the Passyunk string of venues — now also with outposts in Waterloo and Stratford (the latter complete with batting cages if you want to introduce some adrenaline/light public humiliation into your party; much harder than it looks on TV!). But we still think the biggest bang for your buck is their first venue, in Fitzrovia. Hire out the banner-adorned underground space for a night spent sinking pickleback martinis and pitchers of beer, soaking them up with food heavy enough to keep you warm through a Philadelphia winter.

Passyunk Avenue, Fitzrovia. Ask about bar hire

Bringing the party to you

If you're fortunate enough to live somewhere you can host a sizeable group without it giving Central line commute vibes, these are some of our favourite cocktail-makers and caterers, all able to turn your home — or office or wedding venue or whatever — into the perfect place to party.

Decatur

Image by Decatur.

Decatur, back in the day, were the first to make hot-oyster believers of us. These days we believe hard, and often, but Decatur's cajun spice-dusted, Crystal hot sauce-spiked, pecorino-garlic-buttered Maldons are still some of the best we've ever had in London. That's just the tip of their wildly good repertoire of party-enhancing food options, ranging from DIY shrimp boils delivered to your door with all the seafood, boudin, corn and accoutrements needed to serve up a huge group meal, to full-on event catering with BBQs, those oysters and beautiful southern US classics.

Decatur, across London. Ask about catering options and shrimp boil delivery

Mystic Burek

Spasia Dinkovski — founder of Mystic Burek, purveyor of outrageously good Balkan filo pies and pickles — has been hosting sold-out-in-seconds London pop-ups around the city since 2020. Yes, she now has a queues-around-the-block bricks-and-mortar shop in Sydenham, but if you want to bring some of that Mystic Burek pop-up magic to your party, she also still offers event catering (contact for options) and weekly deliveries of huge pies, baklava and dips for you to cook and serve up at home, ideal for low-effort, 10-minutes-in-the-oven group feasts.

Mystic Burek, across London

Spin and Shake

Image by Spin and Shake Ltd.

Imagine hosting a party, and instead of spending half of it restocking an ice bucket or Deliverooing more limes to yourself, you're just... hanging out with your party guests, being handed one perfectly chilly cocktail after another. Spin and Shake are delivering that beautiful, negroni-laced dream via a team of expert bartenders and mobile bars, with a bunch of plug-and-play options which can include everything from glassware and garnishes to grazing tables of charcuterie and cocktail making classes. Basically, your chance to surrender all drink-making responsibilities and have some of the best in the business shaking (or stirring) up a storm at your party.

Spin and Shake, across London. Ask about mobile bar hire

BocaChica

If you've crossed paths with Dominican kitchen BocaChica at one of their current London pop ups and residencies — maybe at Peckham's CLF Art Cafe or the Thin White Duke in Soho (the latter also available as a private hire venue for 20-50 guests) — you'll know their summery, spicy homecooking makes for great group feasting. Expect sazón-spiced fried chicken or crispy-skinned sea bass. And plenty of their dishes work well if you want to make your party more plant-forward — think plantain nachos, slowcooked aubergine on fries, and cheese-filled cassava bites. Plus a lot of it's excellent finger food, so great for when you want to skip the seated-dinner option but still make sure the food's both delicious and very substantial.

BocaChica, across London. Ask about catering options

Into the night

Don't want your party to turn into a pumpkin at midnight? Late-licence options to the rescue.

Pamela, Dalston

A lot of things are in Pamela's favour, even apart from the 2.30am licence at weekends: the Pamela Anderson-inspired art scattering the walls; the excellent cocktail list (bonus points for the picklebacks); the perfect size for 20-30 to take it over without feeling like you're rattling around. And the Dalston location means if you want to go onwards into the night after you have a host of options open till dawn, including the always beautiful clubnights at The Jago.  

Pamela, Dalston. Ask about private hire

Cahoots, Soho

Cahoots is one of London's best underground cocktail bars
All aboard. Image by Cahoots, Soho.

A (fake) abandoned Underground station reinvented as a 1940s-themed cocktail bar, Cahoots is inspired by its history as a second world war air raid shelter. Open till 2am most nights of the week, groups can take over the subterranean Carriage, a semi-private hire situation, looking like — guess what — a vintage tube carriage, closed off from the rest of the bar but still visible through the roundel-emblazoned windows.

Cahoots, Soho. Ask about private hire of the Carriage for 20-30 guests, or the Ticket Hall for a minimum of 25.

Four Quarters, Peckham

Play arcade games in London: Someone holding a plastic gun to a screen
Image: Four Quarters, Peckham.

All of the Four Quarters empire — now with Elephant & Castle and Hackney Wick spaces along with their first south London space — make for good private hire spaces, but only Peckham will keep you supplied with retro consoles and lurid neon cocktails till 3am at weekends.

For groups of under 15 you can hire the Console Room upstairs for an £80 flat fee with no minimum charge for Fri and Sat nights — it comes with retro consoles and speaker systems, and it's seated so this is more of a communal gaming experience a la evenings on your best mate's sofa age 16 but with distinctly better drinks and hot dogs. For larger groups — up to 35 seated, 70 standing — you can hire the Confession Box, a downstairs basement bar-dancefloor.

Bonus points for the flexibility these guys offer: you can use your own DJ equipment, hire vinyl or XDJ decks and mixers for £50 a night, or they'll supply a DJ to your broad specs for £200; they can arrange catering or you can bring in your own options with no extra charge. And both rooms let you dip in and out of the main arcade floor at your will.

Four Quarters, Peckham. Ask about private hire options

Last Updated 31 October 2023

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