HR & Management
The best and most unusual places for business meetings in London
11 min read
21 March 2017
Looking for the best and most unusual places for business meetings? UK bosses have identified a few top-notch locations in London.
While there are several ways to guarantee your next liaison with clients, partners or members of staff ends with success, one important factor that often falls by the wayside is your choice of venue. So shake things up by going to one of these unusual places for business meetings.
London is filled to the brim with venues of all sizes, making the choice hard for those wishing to break free of their office shackles. But sometimes you need to consider that the pressed white linen and classic cuisine of the capital’s every day establishments can get a bit dull.
There are a few gems to be found, however. Real Business quizzed bosses on the best and most unusual places for business meetings – and we unveil the ones recommended the most. We broke it down into first meeting rooms and then restaurants, with three on offer for each.
ScreenWorks: You could be part of an 80s game show
A 12-minute walk from Highbury & Islington station will see you at the doorstep of ScreenWorks, which is known for housing a range of startups. But don’t be fooled into thinking that it’s only in the business of rented office space.
There are a few quirky meeting rooms available with the click of a button. Sure, you’re swapping one meeting room for another, but the point is that it’s not yours! It’s also not your everyday office – making it a perfect fit for our list of unusual places for business meetings.
One of the rooms is kitted out with retro TVs, while another sports zebra striped wallpaper applied in hexagonal geometric tessellations. Let’s not forget the game-themed meeting room, set up to pit two teams against each other – almost decked out like an 80s show.
Here’s an intriguing point: “screening room one” – which is how it’s referred as on the site – gives you the option of hanging your coat on an up-cycled valve alongside other mechanical wall features. You can’t get any more unusual than that.
Up next in our look at quirky meeting spaces is a walkway made of glass.
Tower Bridge: The one making the most out of a historical site
Believe it or not, Tower Bridge isn’t just a historic site – it’s featured quite a few corporate events and weddings. While somewhat pricey, Real Business was told that it made an unforgettable impact, especially when it involved an outside party. That’s a good thing as there’s a guest minimum.
Kate Hope, conference consultant for NYS Corporate, recently had much to say about the infamous bridge’s three venue choices – claiming it be among the most unusual places for business meetings the company had come across.
“Just when you thought Tower Bridge couldn’t be any more unique! It has a spectacular glass floor across its high-level Walkways venue. The walkway offers stunning panoramic views. We highly recommend timing your visit out on to the glass floor with the raising of the bascules – a truly memorable experience.
“It is the perfect setting for an evening dining or intimate launch event – ensure you have guests arrive to watch the sun get taken over by the powerful illumination of the cities lights. Walkways isn’t the only option for bosses though. There’s the Engine Room and North Tower Lounge.”
If you want the team to get their thinking caps on then the next venue is definitely for you.
Pullman: The one designed to boost innovative thinking
When it comes to the best and most unusual places for business meetings, Pullman St Pancras definitely ranks high on the list. The four star hotel facilitates 17 meeting rooms and has theatre space to boot. And while its Golden Arrow restaurant is worth mentioning, what has really garnered attention in the corporate world is its “business playground”.
Want to know more about the playground? Here’s a video. It’s worth watching despite being voiced in an almost monotonous way at the beginning – it later gives way to Mathieu Lehanneur, the designer behind the intriguing concept.
If you’re not one for videos, here’s why it’s garnered a great reputation. The meeting table takes inspiration from a casino poker table and people are meant to travel from one idea to another by way of the ever-mysterious “curiosity boxes”.
It even has a digital canopy designed to stimulate the experience of being in a forest. It’s the perfect setting for a brainstorm.
Keep reading for restaurant options and one of the quirkiest places you could ever take someone – full stop.
Beach Blanket Babylon: The one where you can eat in a crypt
First of all, a word of caution: if you don’t want something too far removed from the traditional meeting room then continue to the next page. Beach Blanket Babylon serves a purpose and that’s to impress, inspire and ensure a little fun is to be had.
After all, there is nothing normal about Beach Blanket Babylon – it probably holds top position in terms of unusual places to hold business meetings. The restaurant occupies an old Georgian house in the heart of Notting Hill, styled around a French country chateau theme. We’re talking chandeliers, open fireplaces and faces on the wall.
It’s renowned for its cocktails and offers rooms that can be hired exclusively. Much like Tower Bridge, these private rooms require a substantial amount of guests. Once you have the numbers, however, you can even choose to hire a decadent grotto.
You don’t need to book a room to have a successful meeting here though. There’s substantial space to grab a table and blend in with the restaurant’s non-corporate guests.
If you’re not happy with this type of theme then there’s a Monopoly experience you may want to check out.
Office Space in Town: The one that loves a good old theme
If you’re truly after the best and most unusual places for business meetings then Office Space in Town is right for you. It offers a series of themed, boutique locations across the UK, six of which can be found in London.
One set in Mayfair is designed with the 1920s in mind, while the meeting room in Town Monument was created around Sunseeker’s luxury yachts. St Paul’s offers space dedicated to Old English culture – a gentleman’s club of sorts – and the meeting room in Euston is designed around the concept of travel and international cities.
The two quirkiest office spaces on offer, according to UK bosses, were in Waterloo and Liverpool Street. The former features designs lifted from Alice in Wonderland. For instance, there are Cheshire cat prints, corridors fitted to look like the Queen of Heart’s croquet field and, in its reception, the torso-less body of Alice herself. Her head emerges from the roof.
London Liverpool Street, on the other hand, takes its inspiration straight from Monopoly – it has “Chance” chests as coffee tables, and a “Go” sign hanging within its reception.
Sofitel St James: The one offering more than just Tetley’s tea
Scarlet Thinking’s Paula Gardner has specific spots she takes clients to, she detailed in a blog, and among them is Sofitel St James – a hotel that’s unusual enough to make a subtle impression. More specifically, she recommended the Rose Lounge.
“The Rose Lounge at this five star hotel is one of my very favourite places to take clients, especially women. You can settle in snug sofas and enjoy a pampered meeting over rose tea and macaron, or choose from one of the many other teas available,” she said.
“Service is always attentive, and I’ve occasionally been lucky enough to be there when they’ve had a harpist. If the Rose Lounge is full, or you’re looking for something a bit less girlie, the bar is equally sophisticated and still has that luxurious touch, but is often a little quieter during the day.”
Maybe the latter point makes the bar just what you’re looking for. But it offers an elegant setting with less noise than your average restaurant would provide. The hotel itself has a few meeting rooms available if you prefer more privacy.