Expectations are always high for end of year Christmas parties, and there's no excuse to host a spectacular one when there are just so many option around London.
Christmas is coming people. Before we know it, Mariah Carey’s all I want for Christmas is you will be back in the charts and all the retail stores will be playing it out and proud. Michael Bublé will be back again too. Rooftops and bars will be turned into ski chalets. Igloos will be everywhere too.
These are all inevitable – as it the oncoming pressure businesses have to host epic, luxurious and alternative Christmas parties. It has to be good. We all have high expectations. A few last-minute drinks down at the pub just won’t do.
And there’s absolutely no excuse for businesses to throw a lame Christmas do. Especially as there are just so many brilliant spots to go out to in and around the City of London. Go traditional at one of the many fine dining restaurants or change it up at some of the more fun and silly experiences out there. The options are endless.
That’s why we’ve compiled this comprehensive list of all the places you really should consider for this year’s Christmas party.
For the all immersive party
We are still obsessed with Otherworld. This virtual reality bar and arcade in East London is one of the best alternative places to have a Christmas party. Book out the entire space or just a few of their big white immersion pods and escape the world as you know it. They have created an entirely virtual world for people to explore as teams or by themselves while linking people to different third party games too. Fight off zombies with colleagues, swing through the forest vines as wind blows in your face or simply play the job satisfaction game (if you haven’t had any of that this year). It a whole heap of silly fun. And it is a totally unforgettable experience. They even have their own well stocked bar and small kitchen so all your food and drink needs are taken care of too.
336 Acton Mews E8 4EA
For all the British classics
This thoroughly modern British dining spot has all the classic Christmas party offerings. They’re not about themes or new quirky experiences. They do the traditional perfectly – some may even say they’re the best at it. And that is thanks to the one and only Mark Hix who runs the joint. Get around one of the best roast chicken you will ever tear apart, a whole selection of steaks and plenty of veg and gluten free options for those with a more restricted diet. Here, you can hire some long tables below the famous Damien Hurst artwork or book the mezzanine for views over the bustling restaurant. It’s the perfect kind of dining atmosphere you want for a proper Christmas party. And if you’re a big fan of the Mark Hix restaurants then you should also have a look into the other Christmas packages with Hix Oyster and Chop House and Hixter down south of the river.
32 Rivington Street EC2A 3LX
For the curry lovers
A simple honest meal out for a Christmas dinner can be highly underrated. But too many people go overly traditional with the whole roast turkey charade with cranberry sauce and Yorkshire puddings (yeah this is delicious but so overdone). That’s why we prefer to turn the heat up a little for Christmas, going out for a proper flavour-filled Indian feast – making sure we get it as authentic as we can. And India India is one of our favourite curry houses in the Square Mile. Not only do you get big and bold flavours, but the portions are also super generous. It’s family-styled Indian cooking with fun and friendly service. And it is cheap without losing any quality.
Here, you can really relax into the space and evening – getting to simply hang out with your colleagues outside of the office for a night. You won’t have to squeeze into a tux or pair of high heals at India India. Yes, you may smell like curry for the rest of the night, but it is so worth it. This year, they’re offering both a three and four-course Christmas dining menu which come with all their most famous dishes with Prosecco for each guest. And with the four-course feast costing just £29 per person, it has got to be the most affordable options in the Square Mile. Add a few buckets of beers to the tab and your curry-filled Christmas is all sorted folks.
8 Crane Court EC4A 2EJ
For those partying till the sun comes up
The 24-hour bar and restaurant up at the top of Heron Tower is a no-brainer for Christmas parties. Each year, they redesign the whole drinks menu with festive cocktails and offer up a selection of dining options. Plus, those views just can’t be beat (although Sushisamba down one floor below does get close). And, as Duck and Waffle is open all day, every day, you’ll easily be able to party all night long, finish it all off with a Bloody Mary and then walk right on into work without skipping a glorious beat. You may even want to start elsewhere in the City for food and then end up here for late-night drinks and a cheeky serving of their signature duck and waffle dish. That’s just about as good as it gets.
110 Bishopsgate EC2N 4A
For a little bit of everything
Swingers is first and foremost a crazy golf destination in the City – located right next to the gherkin. But they go so far beyond that. They’ve got three massive bars including their gin palace as well as food trucks from the likes of Breddos and Patty and Bun. Hire out the entire venue (for those with the big budgets) or just get a few rounds in for each of your team. They’ll even have caddies serve you drinks as you play on one of their two crazy golf courses. Add in a few food and drink vouchers and you’re sorted. Let your staff explore the massive space and have a lot of fun while doing something a little different. It’s alternative but still fairly classy – classy being something crazy golf isn’t traditionally known for.
8 Brown’s Buildings EC3A 8AL
For a glamorous soirée
Bob Bob Cité is one of the most talked about new restaurant openings in the City of London this year. And for good reason. They spent a disgustingly huge amount of money on the refit (£25m) but what you get is a hyper luxurious and slightly over the top dining destination with all of the finest offerings. Get around high quality caviar, exquisite French cuisine and some of the best and rarest bottles of wine in the world. Celebrate a successful year in style at Bob Bob Cité in the Leadenhall Building (Cheesegrater). Your staff deserve to be treated. And a ‘presser pour champagne’ button at every table is a good place to start. Bring on the bubbles.
Level 3, 122 Leadenhall Street EC3V 4AB
For a floating party
One of the best views of the City has got to be from the water – at night while the skyscrapers light up the sky. And while there are plenty of party boat cruises in London, few do it with as much flair and professionalism as the seasoned Thames Clippers team. It’s not all tacky and messy like the ones frequented by university students. This is a classier affair – with a wide range of party options depending on the size of your team and the quality of service wanted. They cater to groups of 12 to 220 amongst their selection of 17 high-speed catamarans with licensed bars and warm indoor cabins.
Jump on board one of their sleek boats and have no fear of annoying neighbours as you move down the river at night. You can blast the music as loud as you please as you dance throughout the night, looking out at the water and City towers. They’ve got you sorted for all the food and drink catering you need too. Just rock up to the wharf, hop on board and get taken along for an outstanding alternative Christmas party along the River Thames. Some businesses even hire an entire Thames Clippers vessel to transport their team to another party venue they’ve already hired. Forget arriving by tube or even a luxury limousine – try a ferry instead.
For the slightly competitive Christmas party
Grant in accounts has gotten through the whole year thinking he is the king of everything. Now it’s time to put him in his place by destroying him in some boozy darts. OK maybe not everyone is as competitive as us. Still, you don’t need that competitive streak to enjoy this slightly different Christmas party experience. The expansive bar and restaurant is full of big and small booths for modern darts playing which comes with interactive screens and cameras. Indulge in table service as beer, cocktails and massive pizza boards come streaming out through the evening too. It’s made for letting your hair down and just having some fun with your work mates. No need to be so formal here. Just have fun – and maybe put Grant in his place by the end of it all.
2A Worship Street EC2A 2AH and 55 New Oxford Street WC1A 1BS
For themed festivities
Swap the City of London for the Emerald City for your net Christmas do. The Queen of Hoxton team have transformed their rooftop yet again for all of winter – this time as the Emerald City from the Wizard of Oz. Head up the yellow brick road steps and through the pearly gates to find a green oasis. Toto, we’re not in London anymore. They do have the usual wigwam but this time it’s green. Roast a few marshmallows over the fire, drink some bespoke hot and cold cocktails and dance up a storm. And, as you’re in Shoreditch, there are plenty of other late-night venues to kick the party onto as the sun comes up.
1-5 Curtain Road EC2A 3JX
For a dim sum feast
If you want to stay away from anything kitsch this Christmas, then go to this Chinese dining destination in Broadgate Circle. Have a festive work party that isn’t in a room full of tinsel and Christmas trees – even though the public space outside does usually get a Christmas makeover. Order the yum cha special for the table and experience a flurry of dim sum dishes whizz in and out of the kitchen. Pair it with some of their Chinese-inspired Bloody Mary’s, some espresso martinis and a few cups of tea for the more civilised folk in the team. We are all about the Yauatcha City experience – especially the small hidden patisserie downstairs for a little after-dinner treat!
1 Broadgate, London EC2M 2QS