This article is your guide to make the right choice when hiring a function room in London city
Organizing an event in one of the greatest cities of the world can prove a daunting task; even more so considering the vast number of function rooms it has to offer.
London, as the capital of the United Kingdom, is the ideal location for holding business meetings or upswing events to attract large crowds. It meets the needs of clients of every dimension whether they seek a sophisticated venue or a simple room that has ‘convenience’ written all over it.
Before hiring a function room, one needs to first define their plan basics. What is the event about? What is the expected guest turnover? Is there any requirement for additional equipment? The details are plenty and a client needs to bear in mind that despite the multitudes of function rooms available in London, one may not necessarily have the best of all worlds, unless luck is close at hand. A hall may have a perfect size to house 200 guests, but it has parking space for merely a handful! Lack of foresight can lead to a disarray in functional arrangements. It is therefore important to prioritize needs in the decision-making process. Important points include, size of venue, location in London (different neighborhoods in London have different demographics; West London is known to be a posh locality of refined culture, whereas Central London may have a better accessibility for guests), extra amenities (projectors, microphones, walkway for the disabled, in-house bar, etc.), budget, and most importantly, the purpose of the event.
A birthday function, a private party or a wedding reception could make use of a pub or a traditional tavern. Pubs play an important role in Londoners’ core cultural sphere and free flowing beer is highly valued and cherished at such merry occasions. Bars are another fun-filled option to seek out for in London which can cater to more zesty functions involving youth and this category includes hipster joints as well as karaoke bars. Pubs and bars are sought after for small-scale event mainly since they offer rooms which are either free-for-hire excluding food and beverages, or they have a minimum spend, the excess of which needs to be compensated if not reached.
Clients seeking to stage premium and more business-like functions require a well set-up, somber and specialized event space for accommodating more numerous guests and to host their function program. Fashion shows, film screenings, photography workshops, business conferences, etc., require such halls, preferably in a more contemporary setup. These formal event spaces are specially designed to cater to this class of clients and will have necessary equipment and options ready at hand, include lighting, projectors, power outlets, cameras, Wi-Fi connectivity, sets, etc.
Another option for hiring function rooms would be to opt for a banquet hall, which can be serve multiple purposes; for special events as well as for formal presentations. It is always a good idea to keep an eye out for banquet halls with attached meeting areas to host official work prior to the dinner or any staged shows. Banquet halls tend to be flexible in that they are simply halls which can be molded as per the wishes of the client. Many banquet halls tend to have stages too, which can be useful if it falls within the client’s prerequisites. Company-managed events which are work oriented opt for Hotel with conference room facilities. The advantage of hiring such a function room is that it provides easy access of adjacent accommodation to participants and especially foreign guests and dignitaries.
Managing the budget and finding a function room within the budget is also extremely essential as final costs can exceed calculated figures. Some functions such as those involving NGO’s or charitable institutions may prioritize cost above all other factors as their primary motive is to save funds. Event layouts need to be visualized prior to the actual booking of the room to ensure a cordial and smooth function.
Hiring a function room in London can be done via online means as well. Many websites have a partnership or a tie-up arrangement with different spaces, pubs, bars and venues in the locality and act as a broker to provide potential clients with the perfect deal. A cursory online research can provide a basic picture of the room for hire, including important details such as location, size, fee, amenities and catering facilities. Some websites even provide a 3d layout of their venues to provide a better idea of event placements to the client. A selection can then be followed by an onsite inspection of the site. London has some of the most unique and weird function venues in the world. A popular site that markets function rooms in some of the strangest and most striking settings is ‘Unique Venues of London’.
What sets them apart is their choice of venues which includes palaces, historic homes, museums and the likes of which can provide a memorable setting for functions of all types. A skim through its site list features most of London’s important tourist attractions available for hire. A banquet graced by the Lord himself in St. Paul’s Cathedral, dinner amongst old industrial revolution relics in the Science Museum as well as a classy on-deck function in Great Britain’s beloved HMS Belfast, are all made possible through this route.
Some of the high-end popular venues for hire in Central London are: ‘Screening Room – The Lighthouse’ – Located in Southwark, this large auditorium boasts the UK’s third largest single-screen cinema with a capacity to hold 2800 guests in a single sitting. Another great venue to look out for in Central London would be ‘The Scotch of St James’ in Mayfair. This slick bar which has a capacity of 200 guests, emanates an essence of the Scottish Highlands and is an ideal location for a posh private night club event or a bar-setup movie shoot. This bar is a hub for artists and icons of the film industry. However, unlike most pubs and bars offering hiring rooms for the taking for free or cheap booking rates sans drinks, this venue falls on the pricey range.
The Italian themed ‘Perini & Perini’ in Oxford Circus offers a decent venue for small-scale functions with a guest expectancy of a maximum of 10 people, accommodation for whom can be provided in their exclusive private room as well as a Bar area that has a capacity of around 100 individuals. Small spaces such as these are ideal for group chill-outs and socializing events and include important additional features such as a plasma tv, a dedicated sound system and Wi-Fi connectivity. North London has the perfect venue for an extravagant pool party or a poolside banquet reception in the ‘Tropicana Beach Club’ located in Covent Garden.
One who is looking to host a tropical beach themed function featuring the finest culinary courses and cocktail menus, need look no further. Covent Garden also has the ‘Ice tank’, a studio like event space for hire which can be customized into any function as per the client’s wish. It has a very modernistic and contemporary appeal to it, ideal for photo shoot events and business functions; a departure from the traditional rustic settings of Olde London. East London has the quintessential and quirky ‘Wellington Lounge’ which is perfect for a birthday party or family get-together function having a decent capacity of 30. A similar room for hire with a more austere complex would be the Red Room in Clapton Heart, also bordering a lovely garden.
Towards the South there is the BBC Club. Not BBC News! But rather, one of South London’s finest, moste elegant and cosy Balham Bowls Club which has the capacity to host both, medium-large events as well as small occasions. The BBC President’s Lounge has a fixed hiring rate of £250 for which one can host around 50-60 guests with ease. If a sudden decision to turn the small event into a full-blown party strikes, then one just needs to head upstairs to the next floor and lo and behold -BBC Club presents its very own BBC Ballroom Bar! The BBC Ballroom power can keep a crowd of 120 party-goers up on their feet all night with exclusive access to its own dance floor, bar, sound systems, toilets, etc., providing a vintage setting – a major throwback to how partying in the pre-60’s felt like.
This leaves West London where old world charms are seen to be converted into function rooms for hire in a more modern context. Weddings and wedding receptions are popularly conducted in ‘Avenue Halls’ in Richmond upon Thames. Avenue Halls was a former Victorian Church. Although regular services have ceased to date, its divine atmosphere still attracts clients from near and far to get their perfect wedding feel. Being a church, it is ideally suitable for medium-large congregations of guests, up to 150 individuals. All in all, there is no dearth when it comes to hiring function rooms in the UK. The clause lies in foresight. A well thought of pre-planned and organized approach will yield good results to the fulfillment of the client’s purpose.