If you’re craving a Christmas night out with style and class, and somewhere to escape the chaos and antics that often come with the festive party season, these tasteful choices are the places to book now.
Whether you venture out with close friends, your favourite colleagues or your other half, these London hotspots – featuring iconic haunts and some welcome newcomers – make elegant festive wining and dining an easy affair.
Hail sketch, the dining destination that’s impossible not to fall in love with at first sight. Situated on Mayfair’s Conduit Street, the venue previously served as the headquarters for the Royal Institute of British Architects. It’s now one of London’s hottest food, art and music locales, and continues to pay homage to the building’s heritage as a place for experimentation in design, art and architecture. On any given day, you can witness Paris-based interior designer India Mahdavi’s playful, feminine style in the Gallery space, which combines marshmallow-like seating, dusty pink colour scheme and witty artwork. And for Christmas? sketch presents The Night Before Christmas – a series of creative installations by a multitude of design talents. (Exhibit A: this showstopping Christmas tree imagined by florist and Instagram-favourite Tony Marklew.) Turning into its very own storybook, each installation represents a chapter in sketch’s Christmas tale.
Festive Highlights: Find festive alternatives on the menus, as well as floral forestscapes and fairy-tale creations by Carly Rogers and JamJar Flowers. Live choirs and carollers complete the vibe.
The Ivy Chelsea Garden
Set in a grand Grade II listed building on King’s Road, The Ivy Chelsea Garden makes the most welcoming winter retreat. Open all day for breakfast, lunch, afternoon tea and dinner, the venue ticks the box for those wanting to celebrate the Christmas season over a delicious meal. Anticipate modern British and international dishes, and a cocktail list that serves up classic and forward-thinking concoctions. Courtesy of Martin Brudnizki Design Studio, a distinctly British character weaves its way throughout the bar, lounge, café, restaurant, orangery and terrace. Vintage finds are mixed with luxurious touches to create relaxed yet sophisticated surroundings. And the stunning gardens – designed by Cameron Landscapes and Gardens for this winter – are complete with a fireplace and covered outdoor area. Artfully scattered evergreen plants, which thrive in temperature change, connect the interior and exterior, offering texture and lush varying tones of green. Could you think of anywhere better to snuggle up on a chilly December eve?
Festive Highlights: The winter garden, of course. There’s also a botanical-inspired private dining room with a French polished bar – undoubtedly one of London’s best ways to enjoy the holiday season with a group of 30 friends. .h3>
Bob Bob Ricard
Designed by the late, great David Collins
and inspired by the romance of early 20th-century travel, Bob Bob Ricard
is breathtaking all year round. But when its luxurious interiors are transformed by the most decadent Christmas decorations
, the iconic Soho brasserie really shines. You can take your pick of three spaces when visiting the restaurant, which recently appointed esteemed chef Anna Haugh. Its Blue Dining room is characterised by leather booths, marble tabletops, and mirrored ceilings, meanwhile the downstairs dining room features a red and gold scheme complemented by backgammon motifs. For those looking for a more intimate setting, there’s the 16-seater private room which features a working Art Deco
fireplace – perfect for the festive season. And as if BBR wasn’t already party-perfect enough, you can find the legendary ‘press for champagne’ buttons on each table.
Festive Highlights: Open every day over Christmas and New Years, embrace original dishes that offer a refreshing change from conventional festive cuisine. Think elevated English comfort food, Russian delicacies and world-famous vintage wines. .h3>
A newcomer on the entertaining circuit, Albert’s – Kensington and Chelsea’s latest private members club – opened its doors in September 2016. With a committee from the film, fashion and food worlds, and four of the biggest names in nightclubbing behind its inception, the venue sets out (and succeeds, we might add) to revive the old world glamour its Royal Borough is famed for. Expect warm, classic British decor, a historic choice of spirits and quirky artefacts, including Prince Albert’s original love letters to Queen Victoria. Its kitchen – headed by the acclaimed Alessio Piras of Shoreditch House and Cecconis fame – serves timeless classics and modern offerings, while regular sets from the world’s top DJs and musicians mean this haunt is as good for dancing as it is for dinner. Look out for the mahogany wood panelled whisky and martini bar and the Balmoral tartan staircase.
Festive highlights: Its Christmas menu includes everything from Roasted Bronze Turkey (with all the trimmings) to Italian trifle with panettone, marsala, cream and almonds. Bonus: Albert’s is also offering an indulgent set menu and midnight celebrations on New Year’s Eve. .h3>
Winter, summer, spring or fall, Mount Street’s Scott’s guarantees a classy evening every time. Reported to be the second oldest restaurant in London and the site where Ian Fleming discovered the dry martini “shaken, not stirred”, this seafood restaurant boasts a rich, intriguing history that can be sensed as soon as you step inside. Once again, Martin Brudnizki
is the interior designer, and the man to thank for the Art Deco glamour that whirls its way through the restaurant and private room, which accommodates 40-50 guests. A carefully curated selection of artwork by the likes of Sadie Coles HQ and Timothy Taylor Gallery add to the discerning tone. Seasonal game dishes are spot on for the winter season, while traditional fish and seafood dishes offer a lighter, refreshing option. Of all the things Scott’s is famous for, its oysters take the top spot. What better way to celebrate in style?
Festive Highlights: Scott’s doesn’t stray from its usual menu – a sign that great things don’t need to be tampered with just because it’s Christmas; however, the establishment does get into the spirit via vibrant peacock-inspired decorations. .h3>
Since entering London’s luxe dining scene in July 2016, Bronte has fast established a name for itself as one of the prettiest restaurants to visit. The venue – which has become a talking point for its chic interiors by iconic British designer Tom Dixon
– offers a haven on the Strand, where you can relax and refuel in have-to-have seating under the glow of Dixon’s signature lighting. What we love most about the place is that it thoroughly gets into the holiday mood, whatever the occasion. Bronte takes Halloween, Thanksgiving, and, of course, Christmas as opportunities to add some serious specials to its menu. Throughout December, the venue is serving a delectable festive line-up. Feast on things like Szechuan tamarind glazed duck breast and slow-roasted baby leeks, or spiced dark chocolate mousse with redcurrant and crispy caramel.
Festive Highlights: The bespoke private dining areas – distinguished by cabinets of curiosities – make for a unique place to toast the Christmas season with a select group. Oh, and don’t miss the mulled wine and bubbles on the terrace. .h3>
The Connaught Bar
Stately, sophisticated and shimmering in platinum silver leaf, the Connaught Bar is in a league of its own. Nestled inside the hotel that has become known as one of the city’s finest places to rest your head, everything about an experience here promises to be sublime from start to finish. The London gem is famed for its David Collins
interiors, which draw inspiration from English Cubist and Irish 1920 art, and features textured walls overlaid with dusty pink, pistachio and lilac tones. What’s the bar’s forte when it comes to its menu? Mouth-watering cocktails. Its award-winning director of mixology, Agostino Perrone, ensures that taste buds are stunned and satisfied with his perfect execution of classics (we recommend the Martini) and seasonal infusions.
Festive Highlights: Spot the hotel’s 17.5 metre outdoor Christmas tree, which has been transformed into a glowing masterpiece by revered British sculptor Antony Gormley.