Eating in a booth is great. It’s the 4x4 of restaurant seating. Comfy, exclusive, sociable - booths have got it all. They’re kind of like your own private party with sofa seats and the freedom to kick someone under the table if they eat the last croquette. Not every restaurant has these palatial arse thrones though. But the ones in this guide do. Here’s where to go when you want to sit in a big booth.
The listed building in which QCH sits has been a restaurant since 1869. That means people in sombre suits and bouffant dresses have been piling into these four or six person booths, and slicing through venison, and crunching confit potatoes for, like, 150 years. It’s obviously had a scrub since then, but this classic British spot in Clerkenwell is home to London’s only genuine blue plaque booth contenders.
Decimo is an incredibly sexy restaurant. Yes, it has been a while, thank you for asking. But the fact remains that this loud and proud Mexican-inspired spot on the tenth floor of The Standard in King’s Cross, is a foliage thirst trap of a restaurant. We’re talking floor-to-ceiling windows, broody red lighting, and caviar-clad tortillas. The booths are the perfect place to do something ridiculous like request that the servers bring you another margarita every time your glass is ⅓ empty, then subsequently blame your overdraft on the sheer sexiness of the mahogany cladding. Oh well, that’s Decimo, baby.
Not to be all Laurence Llewelyn-Bowen about it, but booth placement matters. Sometimes it’s nice to hit up a booth in the middle of the room, but in our humble opinion you can’t beat a corner booth where you can eye up all the action from your own private power table. That’s exactly what you’ll find at Bibo, a buzzing upmarket tapas spot inside Shoreditch’s Mondrian hotel. There are huge curved booths all around the edge of the main dining room that offer prime people watching on a Saturday night, and no matter which booth you end up in, make sure their lobster paella serves as your table centerpiece. It’s excellent.
Bob Bob Ricard is the restaurant equivalent of a peacock that just won Euromillions and is en route to the diamond department at Harrods. This OTT Soho restaurant is loud, proud, and it’s exactly where you want to go for a blowout booth dinner. The food is a mixture of British, French, and Russian. So basically get comfortable, press that champagne button, and get yourself some caviar.
Sometimes you just need to kick back and pretend you’re an aging socialite who simply can’t work out what to wear to your sixth wedding. As countless Londoners have before us, we like to take our fictional champagne problems to The Colony Grill Room, a brasserie inside The Beaumont Hotel that specialises in old school glamour. We hate to play favourites but their massive red leather booths are absolutely the place to eat buttermilk pancakes in the morning. If you’re swinging by in the evening, sweetie dahling, then we recommend going for the classics like the whole lobster with fries and exploring their vast whisky collection.
We always have the utmost respect for any restaurant that is entirely made up of booths. A booth fest, if you will. Tavolino is one such restaurant that is giving the people what they want with countless booths, not to mention a fiery ’nduja and pork ragu pasta, as well as top negronis. Our game plan would be to book ahead with a large group to ensure you secure one of the corner booths for excellent views across Tower Bridge come golden hour.
There are many types of booth: gold ones, wooden ones, two person ones, and ten person ones, but the ones at The Fryer’s Delight in Bloomsbury are surely London’s most nostalgic. These luminous red formica booths, with a cup of tea on them, and a plate of classic (though not perfect) fish and chips is a scene straight from the fictional 1980s childhood you’ve often daydreamed about. You can sit in them alone, with a friend, or opposite a local. Just be sure to be piling your chips into a butty.
Although there are only two booths available at Theo’s in Camberwell, they are booths worth fighting for. Not literally of course. But ask the kitchen if you can borrow a spoonful of pomodoro, throw some on yourself, channel that B at Drama GCSE, and someone might just take pity and let you have one. Then you just need to find three or five friends to eat killer Neapolitan pizza and drink negronis with you. That shouldn’t be too hard.
Fun fact: we once saw Harry Redknapp and his wife eating in one of the big slick booths at Kerridge’s. Seeing as we live by the mantra, ‘if it’s good enough for Hazza, it’s good enough for us’, we obviously recommend hitting up Kerridge’s for comfy decadence. This place is effectively a V12 Rolls Royce of a restaurant where excellent tarted-up British classics come with big flavours, big price tags, and of course, big leather booths.
Look, there is no graceful way to get out of a booth. We’ve tried, we’ve failed, and we’ve piloted the 90º T-Rex Booth Crawl Out, a pose no one wants to see on a Friday night. Luckily, Meatliquor is not the kind of restaurant that prides itself on grace and dignity. After all, this diner blasts loud tunes and has a ‘poke for jäger’ button on each table. The height of civility it is not, but, importantly, it is a whole lot of fun and their menu of saucy American classics is comfort food right. Once you’ve secured one of the huge booths opposite the bar - yes, this may involve some tactical staring competitions with fellow diners - get involved in the hard shakes, loaded fries, and the hefty Hippy burger.
Bob Bob Cité is the younger, chromier, sibling to Bob Bob Ricard. While their aesthetics may differ slightly - Bob Bob Cité looks like trading floor of Gordon Gekko’s office on the International Space Station - their atmosphere does not. It’s all press for champagne, lobster mac and cheese, and truffle covered chips here. Is any of this necessary? No. Do you need to experience it? Absolutely.
Sitting on the inside of a booth at dinner is not unlike tripping (not the falling over kind). You’re never entirely sure of how to escape and you’re never entirely sure whether that monkey holding a lamp above you is real. That’s what it’s like at Brigadiers anyway. It’s an Indian barbecue restaurant in the City that’s sole purpose is for you to have a good time. With lamb chops, with espresso martinis, and with friends.
Calling all plant moms, 14 Hills is for you. Concerned you’re going to get separation anxiety from your beloved snake plant? Don’t worry, you’ll feel right at home at this foliage-packed City restaurant in the sky. Their plush leather booths are full of cushions and scream big birthday energy. Will you fancy a cosy nap after the ribeye and a couple of cocktails? Absolutely. But that’s just the risk we all take when dining amongst velvet cushions.
There’s lots to be said for a single person dominating an entire booth. It’s a powerful image. One that’s completely undermined by slopping a glorious double cheeseburger all over your chin, washed down with a pint of lager. This is often the scene in Beer + Burger in Dalston, which is your less traditional booth venue. These are chipboard, in-and-out type booths. Ones that are made for pre or post pub visits, and they’re completely perfect for that.
Sharing large hunks of meat is something that mankind has done since the beginning of time. Whether they did this sitting in a plush underground booth in what is now Soho is up for debate, and it’s one that you can briefly touch on whilst digging into goat carnitas and cheeseburger tacos at Temper Soho. This meat mad smoky restaurant is packed with booths. Even better, it serves food that’s made for sharing.
If your last association with a train booth was an Interrail journey from Krakow to Budapest that involved your shoulder and a droopy-headed man who abstained from deodorant, let us tell you this: things can get better. Bombay Bustle is a train carriage like Indian restaurant in Mayfair, and it’s just right when you’re looking for a classy and quiet booth set-up involving biryani and dosa.
There’s really only one reason to go to the Holborn Dining Room, and that’s to eat pie. Pork pies, comté pies, curry pies - all the bloody pies. You can’t do this alone though, and, conveniently, this grand dining room is full of red leather-clad booths that are made for big groups looking to fill up on all things pastry. Don’t forget to get a sausage roll on your way out as well.
If you’re looking for a family-friendly booth situation, then Lemonia in Primrose Hill should be close to the top of your list. It’s a classic north London establishment that’s been feeding friends and family homely Greek food for what’s coming up to half a century. The booths in this always bustling restaurant have less of a VIP area feel about them, but you can still pop bottles of ouzo and scoff souvlaki with your grandparents if you want to.
Setting up shop in a booth and sinking a bottle of red that has a fuller body than you after a 400g rib-eye steak is, undeniably, a power move. Especially if you pack that in before 8pm at Hawksmoor Spitalfields. You don’t want to peak early at the original outpost for these steak specialists. The reason: there’s more eating and drinking to be done. From their full fat old fashioneds to their Big Matt burger downstairs.