You can choose your friends, but you can’t choose your family. And you probably can’t choose your colleagues either. Unless you’re the boss. In which case, be a good boss and take your employees out to dinner every once in a while.
Even if you’re not in charge, you may find yourself in charge of planning a team dinner outing from time to time. And whether you see a team meal as a fun activity, or simply a chance to figure out which person you’ll need to destroy to get ahead, you should pick a solid restaurant for the occasion. These restaurants are fun, suitable for groups, mostly work-appropriate, and serve food you’ll enjoy.
Here’s where to book your next team dinner.
The recent company re-shuffle means you have a few new team members to integrate into the fold. Welcome them into the group by going for a laid back dinner at Pizza East. You can lull them into a false sense of security with some pizza and a plate of meatballs, at which point they’ll spill their darkest secrets, just in case you need to blackmail them later.
Do you work on a team that’s so tight that you finish each other’s pivot tables? Yosma on Baker Street is upbeat, loud, has an excellent cocktail list, and does sharing plates of Turkish food. You’ll have enjoyable night here with your crew, moving around the table like a game of musical chairs, eating off each other’s plates, and generally living out your weird work intimacy in public. It’s also great if you have a big team and need something last minute.
You just found out that evil boss who has treated your team to one dinner in the last five years (and it was at Chicken Cottage) has been re-located to Redditch. As an added bonus, Rachel (we love Rachel) has been promoted. Time for a proper celebration and a proper team dinner at Shikumen. This large-format Chinese restaurant is a celebration-worthy spot, and one of our favourites for a group. Order the roast duck to share, a whole lot of dim sum, and plenty of drinks. This is what teamwork looks like.
Jeff is about to get fired because he’s a proper liability, and everyone knows it but him. You all kind of feel bad for him though, so it’s time to make one last fond team memory at Chick n’Sours. This place is all about good times: stiff cocktails, fried chicken, and room for Jeff to get drunk and make a right tit of himself one last time by trying to show everyone the weird mole he has on his inner right thigh. Yes, he really is the worst.
You’ve just finished an afternoon of disagreeing about literally everything during a workshop session, but everyone does seem to agree on one thing - that they fancy Thai food for dinner. Head to Som Saa, which does authentic Thai food on Commercial Street. There’s no pad thai on the menu, because pad thai is for the weak. Instead, you’ll find face-meltingly spicy Northern Thai dishes like a classic som tam papaya salad or gai yaang (grilled chicken with tamarind sauce). At least you’ll end up agreeing on another thing before the day is up - that the food at Som Saa is excellent.
The worst team dinner nightmare? Sitting next to the person who has absolutely zero bants. Luckily, Red Rooster now exists. This New York restaurant has opened a location in Shoreditch, with a bumping jazz band playing daily and a variety of Southern-style American food, including a whole fried chicken that comes to your table with fireworks coming out of its arse. That said, the food itself won’t necessarily make fireworks shoot out of your arse - but it is a fun place to hang, and there’s enough going on in the room to prevent you from having to do too much talking. If your colleagues can’t keep you entertained, at least this restaurant will.
You just turned 29 last week, making you the oldest person in the office. Take control of the situation and show you can hang with the cool kids by booking a team dinner at Shackfuyu. The Korean-Japanese fusion menu is both tasty and full of shareable options, plus there’s always a banging soundtrack to keep the party going. You can emphasise just how grown-up you are by introducing the kids to things like sashimi and congee, just like how you had to explain who Metallica was to the 21-year old who stumbled in last week wearing their t-shirt. Respect must be earned.
If your team is brimming with worldly, highly cultured, and generally overachieving individuals, consider booking your next team dinner at Moro. This restaurant was inspired by the chef’s travels around Spain and North Africa, and you can think of it as a grown up restaurant for grown up people, but without being stuffy in the slightest. It’s an excellent setting for discussing why every other department is worse than yours.
You and your colleagues have been stuck in all-day meetings for a week straight, and you’re all in need of a stiff drink and a plate of delicious cheesecake. The Rail House Cafe in Victoria is an excellent go-to for everyone to let off a bit of steam - there’s a shiny bar and loads of sofas for your work crew to sprawl with a few cocktails, and the easy brasserie food is exactly the kind of no-fuss stuff you want after a long day.
Maybe your department nailed this quarter’s numbers. Maybe Emma finally took another job and you’ll never have to see her again. Either way, it’s time to celebrate, and Hixter is a good place to do so. Give yourselves a pat on the back via a massive roast chicken served on a pot of chips and a few nice bottles of wine.
If you and your work crew are the type to spend every Thursday night down the local drinking the week away, it might be time to shake up your routine a bit. Head to The Laughing Gravy. The gastropub vibes mean you can trick even the most jobsworth members of your team into the building and get them to even try one or two twists on traditional dishes like a scallop and crayfish Scotch egg, or something from their wildly creative dessert menu. Everyone’s stomachs will well-lined, so your team might actually be productive on a Friday for once. We said might.
The remote team members based up in Mansfield are in town for the week and they think that vegetarians are creatures that featured on an episode of Planet Earth. They’ll enjoy Pitt Cue. This British Style “BBQ” serves all things delicious that come from pigs and cow and also has an in-house brewery, but all within a relatively classy setting. Sneak in an order of something green on the side and see what happens.