December 28, 2021
There’s a lot of pent–up partying to be done in London this year. You can sense a real appetite for a celebration, but the usual recycled quotes about new beginnings seem a bit redundant. If the countdown to 2022 means anything, it’s that it has taken quite an effort to get here. So enjoy it.
By all means act responsibly. Always book in advance, check out venues online. But celebrate any way that suits you – full–on a party animal or contented introvert, it doesn’t matter. Just make the most of it, and if possible, make it what you want it to be. Repeat that attitude every day for the next 365 days.
So with that in mind, here are some of the events that London has in store for us as we pivot on the cusp of another journey around the sun.
Many of these December 31st dates are pretty exuberant. But if a private dinner and a stay in the best hotel in Central London is your heart’s desire, then do it. No–one is keeping score. And even if your plan is to party till the early hours, the excellent Central London hotel deals now available mean less time spent travelling back to a comfortable bed.
If you favour a more traditional black tie event, The Yacht has a champagne and canapé reception followed by a six course meal, after which guests head off to the viewing platform to take in the London landmarks (the Yacht is permanently moored by the London Eye). The night finishes with a live band and bar.
The Yacht, Temple Pier, Victoria Embankment Blackfriars.
New Year’s Eve action at Oriole bar is set to be a sensational night to remember - from the moment you step through the door, prepare to be submerged in an oasis of magical indulgence. The Glitterati Revue is an evening of dazzling performances - world-class jazz, burlesque, and even some circus thrown into the scintillating mix of entertainment. Welcome in 2022 to a backdrop of showmanship and fabulousness, with some of the most exquisite cocktails we’ve sampled this side of the Thames. The evening kicks off from 8pm, with limited tickets and tables £85-£120. East Poultry Avenue, Smithfield Markets.
But if you favour contemporary chic, then Tower Suites is a front runner among the boutique hotels of London. Elegant apartments, every one of which has a stunning view of Tower Bridge and the Tower of London; restaurants, spa, gym and the 50 foot Skyline London Terrace Bar overlooking the city lights. Room for family holiday escapes, girls’ nights out, or private parties through its many flexible event spaces.
Tower Suites, 100 Minories.
The former Westminster Library has made a new life for itself thanks to Vivek Singh’s Cinnamon Club. Sample char grilled venison with chutney potatoes and Kashmiri lamb shank rogan josh with pilau rice this New Year… surrounded by the delicious and elegant bookishness of its surroundings. The Old Westminster Library, Westminster.
Brunswick House, Pimlico has something for everyone: Augustan eye–candy for a New Year’s party. It’s a former Georgian mansion that houses Jackson Boxer’s acclaimed restaurant. All rooms can be hired privately, from intimate parlours to vaulted cellars and terraces. Antiques everywhere. Enough room for parties of 6–110. Brunswick House, Pimlico.
The Masonic Temple, Liverpool Street is a former “Boys only” temple that lay undiscovered behind a wall for decades, before someone spotted an extra room on the original building spec. What emerged was a marble–clad Grade I Edwardian room fitted with thrones, candelabras and mysterious zodiac carvings. And a domed ceiling. A grand venue for a private party. Seats 44. The Masonic Temple, Liverpool St.
The ultimate outdoor end of year celebration (aside from Trafalgar Square) must be NYE at Somerset House, where the Ice Rink (Skate) echoes to DJs all night long. Also karaoke in the crypt beneath the courtyard; a hidden ice cream bar; ping pong; pop up Champagne bars; festive food and a surprise at midnight. Somerset House, The Strand.
If singing is your thing then you can join in with hundreds of others belting out power ballads at the Electric Ballroom, Camden. An Ultimate Power New Year’s Eve event with enough Bon Jovi, Bonnie Tyler, Whitney Houston and Whitesnake, (among others) to keep you upright well past midnight. Air guitar optional. Electric Ballroom Camden High St.
A slightly more sedate music lover’s New Year’s celebration comes via The Piano Works in Farringdon. Tuck into steak and ribs as you listen to live music (requests from the audience) in a Victorian warehouse. Singing long into the night. The Piano Works, Farringdon Road.
There’s even an opera-themed restaurant, Bel Canto near Hyde Park, that offers French fine dining, accompanied by waiters singing classic arias. Bayswater Road.
But as this is New Year’s Eve, you might be in the mood for a bit of make-believe and dressing up (aka immersive events): The Prohibition Party features flappers, mobsters and alcohol in a teacup – blurring the boundaries between audience and performers. Also live bands and gramophone DJs. Dance the Charleston (tuition available) and have a (responsible) flutter on the gambling tables. A Secret London location.
The Candlelight Club is also staging a 1920s style candle-lit event in a secret London location: live music, cabaret, plus Charleston steps with the Gatsby Girls, tarot readers, absinthe and gramophone DJs. Held at a secret London location, ticket holders will receive an email two days before the event giving details and password.
The Gatsby Immersive is a convincing slice of Jay Gatsby party-time, straight out of the book. It’s inspired by F Scott Fitzgerald’s classic novel and you follow the actors through sequences from the book, as well as unrehearsed riffs. Classy, polished and absorbing. Central London location.
But if you really relish the unexpected, then how about a dining experience that takes place in complete darkness? Dans Le Noir restaurant in Clerkenwell seeks to heighten your sense of taste and smell by switching off the lights and employing blind and visually impaired waiters to serve the food. The idea is that a “surprise menu” will educate your palate. St John Street, Farringdon.
Ballie Ballerson, Shoreditch is a cocktail bar that features an adult–sized ball pool, just like the ones that toddlers enjoy, only bigger. This New Year’s Eve you can thrash about in the ball pool, as well as on the dance floor. Candy–themed cocktails until the early hours. Book all tickets, including VIP tables. Curtain Road, Shoreditch.
Alcotraz: this unusual and popular immersive experience is spilling over into New Year’s Eve, inviting revellers to spend the night behind bars. It’s the latest in make–believe nights out. The idea is to get your mugshot taken and sneak forbidden alcohol into jail, trying to bypass the prison warden. Choose from one of two London locations. Neal Street, Covent Garden or Brick Lane, Spitalfields.
If you’ve missed the buzz of crowded club nights, you could book a ticket to the first New Year Eve’s Party at Tobacco Docks in East London. Twenty DJs including Rudimental, Bad Boy Chiller Crew, Jax Jones and Joel Corry across a vast venue that has room for around 6,000 guests. Tobacco Quay, Wapping Lane.
Inamo is an attractive Asian fusion restaurant in Covent Garden that boasts a beguiling interactive ordering system projected onto the table. You can place orders via a 3D menu, select your favourite virtual tablecloth, find out about the neighbourhood and even order a taxi back to your hotel, all from the dinner table. There’s a sister restaurant in Soho too. Hanover Place, Covent Garden, and Wardour Street, Soho.
There’s more than pan-Asian cuisine on offer at the shiny, futuristic Circus Bar & Restaurant, created by British designer Tom Dixon. Circus bills itself as a venue that hosts entertaining acts in a restaurant setting – and the diners are invited to become part of the entertainment. Surprise cabaret and circus acts parade across the main table (steps at either end). You have been warned. Endell Street, Covent Garden.
Aqua Nueva, the contemporary Spanish restaurant with burnished interiors and rooftop terraces overlooking Regent Street is offering live entertainment, festive cocktails and dancing till late on New Year’s Eve. Regent Street, West End.
Bob Bob Ricard, Soho is a modern British take on Russian dishes served by uniformed staff, in an art deco style interior. Plus every table has a “press for champagne” button, which is a pretty spot–on for New Year’s Eve. The Imperial dining car (private dining) is made to look like a train carriage (long and narrow, cosy and glamorous) and also has a champagne button. Seats up to 16. Upper James St, Soho.
Mari Vanna is the place to enjoy an old fashioned Russian menu served in an appealingly domestic–looking space (books, lace, dolls and curios). Utter delight in the heart of Knightsbridge. Wellington Court, Knightsbridge.