Where To Go When You Don't Want To Be Overheard
11 spots where you can have an unfiltered, uninterrupted catch-up.
Whether you have an irrational fear of random strangers knowing you’re on a first date, or you’re planning to spill some serious tea about John from accounting, sometimes you just can’t risk being overheard. And for those situations, you need somewhere private—like a secluded booth in a quiet restaurant, or a spot blasting Lizzo so loud that you might lose your train of thought mid gossip sesh. Here are 11 places to go when you’re in need of an uninterrupted catch-up.
Quality Chop House
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, slicing through venison, crunching confit potatoes, and talking in hushed or not-so-hushed tones for, like, 150 years. It’s obviously had a scrub up since then, but this classic British spot in Clerkenwell is home to London’s only genuine blue plaque booth contenders that are perfect for a hush-hush catch-up.
Programmes like Fleabag and films like Layer Cake show us that cafes are the perfect setting for deep and meaningful conversations of the occasionally traumatising nature. The ultimate greasy spoon in the shape of Regency Cafe seems, then, like a no-brainer. The Westminster favourite isn’t just a destination for legendary fry-ups, but also one for tourists. Who, let’s face it, are too busy portrait mode-ing a piece of black pudding instead of giving two hoots about what you’re talking about.
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The lovely looking family sat next to you doesn't need to hear the intimate details of your sneaky link from last night. Your friend, however, doesn’t have a choice. The good thing is at this Loud with a capital L spot in Fitzrovia, you can simultaneously chew your friend’s ear off at full volume, while actually chewing on some top-tier hippie fries and a hefty cheeseburger. And maintain a decent level of privacy thanks to the music blaring from the speakers. If you need any more encouragement to start talking, just know there are ‘poke for jäger’ buttons on every table.
Boy oh boy did the church do a lot for the art of confessing. They made it hot, we keep it hot with tragic behaviour like messaging the person who is saved on our phone as Devil Spawn Do Not Text. It’s for that reason that Maggie Jones’s private wooden church pews feel exactly like the kind of safe space where you can lean over a candle and utter the profound words ‘I did a thing’. Whichever poor soul must carry this heavy burden will have the warm embrace of Maggie’s signature fish pie and the gloriously rich stilton mousse to enjoy. You should know this place is named after Princess Margaret’s secret Kensington rendezvous at the restaurant, so you’re in great company. There, there, have another bite of Maggie’s crumble and… block them?
Few things ensure conversational privacy like the pumping beats of the Hebrew pop charts. That, combined with Miznon’s nonchalant service, makes the Israeli hot spot in Soho an ideal place for an intimate conversation. That said, someone could always read your lips. But we think there’s little chance of that happening when you’ve got an enormous cottage pie pita in your mouth and an entire roasted cauliflower on your table to block any prying eyes.
Bibo Dani García
“Sharing is caring” is a very beautiful way of writing off the moral quandary that is describing your mate’s hideous—no, like, hideous, made my eyes want to flee my own head—new wallpaper to your other mate, who is yet to experience the heady delights of immersive zebra print. Bibo Dani García is so loud that no one else will be privy to this betrayal—sorry, excuse us, sharing. A capital H Hot restaurant inside Shoreditch’s Mondrian Hotel, it serves tasty little tarted up tapas dishes, a huge whole lobster paella, and enough sangria blanca to soothe your guilt. Plus, the terracotta interiors are deeply stylish unlike, well, no comment.
No one can pass judgement if you’re drinking jasmine silver needle tea out of a shiny teapot and eating finger sandwiches. And especially when you’re in The Langham’s Palm Court. Even if your friend's personal life does sound like one of those Reddit threads. Inside the Marylebone hotel, in a huge mirrored, pillared room with high ceilings and cosy sofas, the afternoon tea situation gives you an excuse to hang around for a while with your pals without worrying about disturbing others around you.
There are many things to like about Noble Rot’s dining room in Lamb’s Conduit Street: it’s air conditioned in the summer, full of superb wine all year round and, when you’re looking for something a little secretive, has some serious nooks and crannies. The best of these are at the very back and to the right of the room. You’ll find both a four and a two-person alcove where the likes of Tupac and JFK and have been said to have been sighted, Zalto glass in hand, delicate slip sole in front of them.
Blacklock is a reliable secret keeper. After all, this Soho basement steakhouse used to be a brothel, so if we’re being really honest, it laughs in the face of your inch-by-inch description of the new ‘neck massager’ you purchased last weekend. Everyone here is too busy drinking £5 old fashioneds, pouring hollandaise over hefty slabs of meat, and dissecting their own debauchery to care about your conversation. It’s loud, it’s proud, and it’s usually got some kind of juicy message written in lipstick across the mirror. Saucy chat, let’s go.