Where To Eat When You Want To Be Loud guide image


Where To Eat When You Want To Be Loud

10 London restaurants perfect for human megaphones.

London is full of people who have never grasped the concept of an inside voice. This means we all have loud mouths in our lives who we love (or at least tolerate) and occasionally agree to have dinner with. And, let's be honest, sometimes we want to get loud ourselves. But the consequences of bringing those decibels to the wrong restaurant might involve making enemies with an entire dining room. Don't do that. Instead, choose a restaurant where volume is irrelevant, the atmosphere is lively, and zero dirty looks will be received no matter what story the entire room is listening into.


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Max's Sandwich Shop


19 Crouch Hill, Crouch End
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People often say they want to go somewhere ‘with character’. Max’s Sandwich Shop near Finsbury Park has certainly got character, mainly because the man himself is just that. This restaurant has turned sandwiches from lunch into dinner, with no ingredient or side dish spared between the bread. Turn up here in a twosome, threesome, or however-many-some and you’ll be greeted like an old friend. Then you’ll probably have a beer, a shot, and whatever else is going.

photo credit: Aleksandra Boruch

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Ave Mario

Ave Mario is big. Big space, big booths, big old stracciatella gelato cake that gets wheeled around the Dolce & Gabbana meets Italian church ground floor. Ave Mario is a restaurant that understands big voices. On Henrietta Street in Covent Garden, it’s just as likely to induce smiles as it is a glorious limoncello-sponsored hangover. Whether your mates are after 24-hour leavened pizza or truffle-packed pasta, the menu has got you covered. Get a slice of that giant cake and shout for extra caramel, obviously. 

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Estate agents and Croc-wearers aside, there aren’t many groups of people that have a worse reputation than City boys. This might put you off when you’re thinking about going to Brigadiers, a booze and butter chicken wings-filled Indian restaurant in the City, but it shouldn’t. That’s because this is a restaurant that everyone can get a little loud in. Where the lamb chops aren’t optional and nor is a go on the whisky vending machine. It takes a special restaurant this loud to have you come back again and again. And Brigadiers is just that.

Bloomsbury's Ciao Bella is the undisputed champion of the party meal in London. It’s the only restaurant that will have you pomodoro-stained, standing on top of a chair, grissini conducting happy birthday to a table of people you’ve never met in your life. It’s the only restaurant that does tobacco-heavy dates on the terrace as naturally as it does 20-person pasta parties inside. It’s a restaurant where there’s one rule: turn it up, don’t keep it down.

Your office has decided to ‘work remotely’ from the pub since 4pm. It’s now 5pm. Another bottle of prosecco has just been put down—you’re celebrating the end of the week, or something? The pretence of work has finally ended. Cheers. You’re going to need to migrate to somewhere with edible food and a celebratory atmosphere to match very, very soon. Tayaabs in Whitechapel is the one. This old-school Punjabi restaurant is a classic for a reason. People come here for good times and to bring as much booze as they like. You may have to wait a little, but the lamb chops make it all worth it.

La Mia Mamma is a bloody hoot. It serves proper Italian food handmade by real Italian ‘mammas’, who will force-feed you additional pasta like you haven’t eaten since birth. If you’re not already sold, we’re not sure we can be friends anymore. Even on weekdays you’ll find this Chelsea spot packed with Italian families, waltzing in shouting ‘buonasera’ with three generations in tow. It’s fun, loud, and just the right amount of cheesy. 

photo credit: Giulia Verdinelli

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A boozy basement spot housed in an ex Soho brothel, Blacklock is permanently popular, cool, and the welcoming kind of buzzy. You’d be hard pushed to get a snooty look here when, more than once, we’ve seen tables of eight mates, eight steaks, and a load of £5 cocktails. By West End standards, that’s not just cheap. It’s a miracle. The kind of boozy blessing we really only thought we’d encounter if Danny Dyer became prime minister.

photo credit: Karolina Wiercigroch

F.K.A.B.A.M review image


Shouting is pretty much mandatory at the restaurant Formerly Known As Black Axe Mangal. It’s just the way it is. The cupboard-sized spot in Highbury will attack your ears from all angles: metal blares from the speakers, cutlery clatters on trays of things like mushroom mapo tofu rice, while beers are cracked and drinks are poured all around you. Every meal at F.K.A.B.A.M tends to feel like a party. Only you’re more likely to be snacking on octopus and bacon skewers glazed in a Sichuan sauce rather than, like, crisps.

Ever since its first location opened, Meat Liquor has been a fun place to eat. Where other sloppy smash burger, dimly-lit, neon-obsessed restaurants have fallen by the wayside, Meat Liquor, just off Oxford Street, has remained a spot. Nothing quite beats getting a tray of buffalo wings, a questionable amount of drinks, and having a conversation that registers at about 150 decibels.

You wouldn’t come to Sexy Fish to spend your own money. Unless you have lots of it and a warped interest in wasting it in Mayfair’s tackiest restaurant. This is a place to be taken to, once. To laugh when the DJ comes out but to leave soon afterwards. Because eating crab and bone marrow covered in a cement-like truffle sauce, while listening to 'Beefa-style house, is only fun for so long. But if you’re with someone who really wants to party and peruse a menu, this is the place.

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