With a supposed heat wave on its way to the British Isles this week, C&I Traveller checks out the best outdoor event spaces set to be the talk of the town this summer.
The Sterling, at The Gherkin
Whilst the party has typically been at the top of one of London’s most iconic skyline haunts for years, Late Night London’s The Sterling bar and restaurant will tempt groups to stay at ground level this summer.
Located directly at the foot of The Gherkin, the venue has a vast outdoor seating and standing area where groups of up to 300 can enjoy a range of cocktails, wines, champagnes, beers and ciders.
The venue is fronted with large glass panes mirroring The Gherkin’s unique triangular design concept, pouring light onto the venue’s ground floor and upstairs dining areas. Events requiring a more formal setting can be hosted indoors with space for between 300 and 350 for standing and seating.
The menu on offer works excellently for casual events and private gatherings wanting to dine al fresco. The hand-pulled pizzettas and cheese and Spanish meat boards are delicious whilst lighter snacks range from homemade pork scratchings to the extremely tempting peanut butter and coconut chicken skewers.
Bar staff are also on hand to deliver cocktail masterclasses for larger groups, teaching them the skills to try out new and interesting combos and to add a fun addition to the party.
Queen of Hoxton, East London
In the space of the last few years, East London has spawned some of London’s most interesting and innovative venues and there doesn’t appear to be any sign of rest. Laying slightly off the beaten track is the Queen of Hoxton, which on approach looks like another typical ‘Shorditch-y’ bar.
However, passers by craning their neck up to the top of the five-storey building will just be able to catch a glimpse of the tips of a white teepee. Head through the doors and up the stairs and one of the best rooftop bars in London that no one knew was there awaits.
The Queen of Hoxton rooftop bar explodes into life between May and September, becoming one of East London’s most exciting outdoor venues. The rooftop transforms into the ‘Smokin’ Graciela’s Rooftop Bar,’ a South American theme inspired by the Afro-Cuban, cigar-smoking singer Graciela, known as the First Lady of Latin Jazz.
Multi-coloured benches and quirky seating arrangements litter the large outdoor decking whilst a sawn-in-half vintage blue convertible lurks in the corner.
The rooftop is available for private hire from Monday through to Thursday evening and Friday daytime, with capacity for groups between 60 and 250.
The venue also offers a range of Cuban-themed workshops perfect for groups wanting to immerse themselves in this cool and colourful setting. Activities include cigar & rum pairings, domino nights – a famous past time in Cuba, craft workshops with renowned artists, tie-dye classes and Cuban cocktail masterclasses.
Building Six, at The O2, North Greenwich
The wind and the rain couldn’t stop more than 200 event professionals making their way to the relaunch of one of London’s hottest summer venues last month and Building Six at The O2 certainly lived up to the hype.
Building Six has developed into a renowned nightclub venue, hosting some the UK’s most popular club nights with three floors welcoming up to 3,000 people. Whilst the venue’s indoor space can be hired for private events, ranging from large scale standing receptions to sit-down dinners for 300, the outdoor terrace will be the place to party at The O2 this summer.
Groups can hire the 700 capacity terrace venue for summer BBQs and with exclusive eight hour use the party can last long into the night. The focal point of the terrace is its bar, which serves unlimited house wine, beer and soft drinks as part of the package. Two BBQ stalls and a mixture of bowl and finger food items should keep delegates well fed throughout the evening.
BMA House, Central London
A grand, grade II listed building with a proud history and literary heritage has plenty going on on the summer party scene to rival the new kids on the block.
Designed by famed British architect Edward Lutyens and the former home of Charles Dickens, BMA House includes a multitude of event spaces ranging from small to large and historic to modern.
However, its two outdoor spaces, The Garden and The Courtyard, will be the main attraction over the next few months.
The foundations of Dickens’ former home, where he lived from 1851 to 1860, can be found in The Garden and can host groups of up to 90 people for standing buffets and cocktail receptions. The towering greenery decorates the red brick walls that shade the garden, creating a peaceful setting ideal for smaller groups.
The venue’s second outdoor space is The Courtyard, which houses two memorials commemorating the members of the British Medical Association who died in the First and Second World War.
The intricately designed Gates of Remembrance, which is dedicated to the 574 members of the British Medical Association who died in the First World War, welcomes delegates into The Courtyard where the fountain and surrounding statues make the centerpiece of the outdoor venue. The 1,056sqm Courtyard hosts 320 for a standing reception and BBQ, which can be enjoyed as part of the venue’s Midsummer Night’s package.