Private Dining Rooms At Restaurants Located Near London’s Theatreland
Dinner And A Show.
Heading into the West End for an evening out is an opportunity to taste the best that London has to offer – this district of the capital is awash with historic theatres and superb restaurants. However, many don’t grasp the experience as they should. As the sun sets on theatre-land, and the bright lights begin to illuminate on the billboards and posters of the theatres, you’ll also see a multitude of panicked, rushed theatregoers, creating their own dramas off stage. Restaurant doorways will be crammed with couples, families or groups of friends, clamoring for a table so that they can grab a quick bite before the curtain goes up on whichever play or musical they might be going to see. Stress levels are high, as these people select something hastily from the menu, order it, pressurize their waitress to hurry it along, wolf it down and chuck some money onto the table before rushing off. At the theatre, these hurried souls will dash through the door, wave their tickets under the noses of the usher at the door, avoid going to the bathroom as there’s no time, run into the auditorium and throw themselves into their seats as the opening scene of the show starts. The first half of the show will be spent as they catch their breath, wonder if they left enough money to pay the restaurant bill, and plan the quickest way to the restrooms when the interval comes, so as to avoid the imminently foreboding queue. Hardly a relaxed night out!
The answer to this: private dining! Rather than put you and your fellow theatregoers through this, grab a snack at home in the early afternoon, hit one of the many West End bars for a calm, relaxing pre-show cocktail, and go for dinner AFTER the show, at one of the various private dining venues that encircle the theatres of the district.
Graceful Privacy: Grace & Private Lives
Private Lives is an example of British comedy/drama at its best. Penned by Noel Coward, the play is new to the West End and tells the story of Amanda and Elyot, a divorced couple who each re-marry and find that they are honeymooning in hotel rooms with adjoining balconies to each other. A spark is immediately reignited between this feisty duo and they find themselves entangled in the passion they once felt for each other. As the plot thickens, so will your appetite. An ideal post-show dinner for this performance can be found in the heart of Piccadilly Circus, at Grace. It’s all very Coward-esque, with its cocktail lounge, glass partitioning wall and intricate décor. Take your theatre party here and enjoy your very own “private lives”, tucked away from the main restaurant but with the tinkle of the atmosphere trickling in from the bar.
French Furor: Aubaine & Les Miserables
This year, there’s been a true buzz around the legendary musical spectacle Les Miserables. Having been on the London stage since 1985, this story of the French Revolution, adapted from Victor Hugo’s iconic book of the same name, was re-launched into the stratosphere with the release of the film adaptation last Christmas. If you’ve not seen it, why not jump at the opportunity to go now, while the buzz is rife, and see what all the fuss is about. Accompany the outing with a trip to Aubaine afterwards. You’ll find it nearby on Heddon Street, just off Regent Street. You will truly carry the French leitmotif with you as you exit the theatre and enter the restaurant, where you’ll be greeted by the scent of freshly made breads, viennoiseries and cakes as you walk through the door. The restaurant’s team of French pâtissiers offer you fantastic artisan delicacies and a varied continental menu that can be enjoyed outside in the warmer months or indeed in their downstairs private room, which seats around 30 people. Swap the French Revolution for the Food Revolution at this fantastically apt eatery.
Ghostly Gastronomy: Bellaria & The Woman In Black
Bellaria Restaurant & Wine Bar is a little further out of the West End than the rest, but too perfect an accompanying restaurant to this particular show to be missed out. The Woman In Black was ingeniously adapted from Susan Hill’s original novel into what is easily the creepiest, most frightening stage play around. The play has run for over 20 years at the Fortune Theatre in Covent Garden – a small, atmospherically dark playhouse tucked away along the back streets of the area. The play sees a lawyer sent away from foggy London to the even foggier English countryside to stay, alone, in an abandoned manor house in the middle of nowhere, to sift through the piles of paperwork left by the property’s recently deceased spinster, Alice Drablow. What he doesn’t know is that he is not alone – the house is haunted, and not by Alice! The astute staging, cunning lighting and terrifying sound effects used in this production will have you desperate to get out of the theatre and into a cozy restaurant to chat about the play and enjoy some delicious dinner. Bellaria is the perfect setting for a post-ghost story meal, as its private dining room is tucked away in the gothic, candlelit cellar, where you’ll enjoy fresh pasta and seasonal produce. The perfect end to an atmospheric evening.
Chocolate Covered Coco: Cocochan & Charlie And The Chocolate Factory
We all know the story of Charlie And The Chocolate Factory but, remarkably, it’s only just made its way to the West End stage. The production reflects it’s lead character, Willy Wonka, with its bright production design, colourful set pieces and energetic script. The only option is to carry this vivacious theme on with you to your post-show meal. Cocochan doesn’t serve cocoa and chocolate, as you might expect – its cuisine is pan Asian. But the various areas that can be hired out for a private party – the purple, white and gold Dokoro areas – are ideal for an after show bite, where you’ll sit against the bright lights, vast pinky-purple walls and the black lattice frameworks. Willy Wonka couldn’t of designed it better himself.
Puppet Master: Paramount & A Doll’s House
Henrik Ibsen’s A Doll’s House is not about a house of dolls. However, it is a compelling and complex piece of drama about Nora – a woman who has a seemingly perfect life, a superficially idealistic view of the world and an apparent blessed demeanor. Her life is, however, all the more delicate for its deceptive perfection, and her family are on a precipice of destruction. Though compelling, this play may require a special meal and a relaxing drink afterwards. Head up to Paramount at the top of the Centre Point building, with its absolutely stunning views across the twinkling London skyline. Here you can enjoy a meal, in private, in the Red Room, and an extensive selection of cocktails and wines, as you look down on London as if everyone in it were your very own collection of dolls for you to play with.
Emerald Kingdoms Of Ice: Belowzero & Wicked
Wicked takes the story of the Wizard Of Oz and gives it it’s own new twist – tracking the story of the good and bad witches of the infamous tale. Dorothy doesn’t get a look-in in this musical that has taken both Broadway and the West End (amongst other places) by storm, with its kitschy plot and its unbelievably catchy score. It’s a great night out for the kids, but for a bit of adult escapism, take a group of your friends out to Wicked, release your inner child, and then head to the very exclusive and very special Belowzero Icebar. With its ultra modern European menu, guests are treated to London’s only venue made entirely of ice! It has to be seen to be believed and can only really be described as magical. This makes the Emerald Kingdom look like the Chiltern Hills in comparison, with its frosty seats, sharp clear walls and fabulous service.
Pasta And Magic: The Spaghetti House & Matilda
If you insist on treating the kids too, take them to see Matilda, another new addition to the West End of a classic tale. Watch the goings on of the marvel that is Matilda, as she overthrows the gruesome Miss Trunchbull, and celebrate afterwards at the Spaghetti House on Duke Street. Perhaps it’s a birthday party for one of your youngsters; in this case, rent out the downstairs area and fill the clan up on spaghetti or stone baked pizza while you select carefully from the extensive accompanying wine list.
A Spicy History: Veeraswamy & Henry V, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Much Ado About Nothing
The West End of London currently boasts three of Shakespeare’s classics: Henry V, A Midsummer Night’s Dream & Much Ado About Nothing. More exciting still is the line-up of cast members performing in these plays. Henry V sees Jude Law take on the lead role, Sheridan Smith and David Walliams perform the summer jaunt of A Midsummer Night’s Dream, and Vanessa Redgrave teams up with legendary American actor James Earl Jones in Much Ado About Nothing. Steep yourself in the genius writing of our country’s greatest playwright, and then head to the historic Veeraswamy restaurant, a short distance from each of these theatres. Veeraswamy is a rich feature of London’s tapestry, given that it’s the oldest Indian restaurant in the city. It was established in 1926 by an English General and an Indian Princess, and has attracted the likes of Marlon Brando, Charlie Chaplin and more recently Liz Hurley and Kanye West, with its opulent menus and its views over Regent Street.
Quite often is the post-theatre experience as stressful as the pre-theatre rush. But think how relaxed you’ll be if you know you’re off to a private room in a fantastic restaurant somewhere close by, avoiding the rush for cabs and tubes and giving you breathing space to chat about the theatre you have just witnessed. A perfect night out in London!