As a Career Coach, I usually arrange to meet my clients in a quiet café: somewhere comfortable, with great coffee and a welcoming vibe, where we won’t feel rushed.
Over the past few years, I have worked at countless venues across London, but today I have shortlisted my 6 favourite meeting spots for you – and the great news is that they are all yours for the price of a cup of coffee (or two!).
Whether you are meeting a client, a colleague, or a friend, these meeting places provide the perfect setting.
So, what does a venue need to qualify for this list? To start with, there are the basics: good coffee, reliable free WiFi, clean toilets, and that you can reliably get a table for two people. Added extras include interesting people-watching opportunities, convenient locations, and no raised eyebrows if you pull out your tablet or laptop.
In all of these meeting spots I will happily spend an hour or two meeting with a client, or a few hours head down working on my own.
The Royal Exchange, Bank
It is definitely one of those ‘wow’ moments, when you come through the main doors into the stunning Royal Exchange. So it is perhaps no surprise that this is one of London’s most Instagrammable venues. You can usually nab a table here in the main room’s cafe, although you will be expected to order food if it is at lunch time, but it can get very noisy as the sound echoes around this vast chamber. The smart money is on the Threadneedle Bar lounge, one level up, with a much calmer vibe. You can hear yourself think here, and will be able to hear your meeting companion too.
Kath’s Tip: This venue can get very busy so, if it’s rammed when you arrive, you might opt instead for the very new Notes café, in nearby Angel Close. You certainly won’t be the only laptop warrior here!
Royal Festival Hall, Southbank
London’s Southbank is obviously a great spot to catch up on culture. But it is also home to several great working spots including the Royal Festival Hall and the British Film Institute (BFI) Lounge. The Royal Festival Hall is especially useful, since it has various foyer spaces and cafes dotted around its various levels.
Kath’s Tip: If you are bootstrapping, this is one place you can absolutely work for free – without any pressure to buy even a coffee – and you are welcome to bring your packed lunch to eat in the Royal Festival Hall’s spaces. Just remember to bring your battery pack – no power cords are allowed in the public spaces.
Ham Yard Hotel, Soho
So glamorous that you could almost forget you are working! Ham Yard Hotel is currently my favourite spot for work meetings – and I will tempt clients here whenever possible. It is an oasis in town, just moments from Piccadilly Circus.
For a serious meeting avoid the gorgeous light-filled conservatory, where the seats are too far apart and the tables too low to work on. Opt instead for a table nearer the entrance and main bar.
Kath’s Tip: Try the Moroccan spiced almonds for a can’t-stop-at-one treat to share!
The Landmark Hotel, Marylebone
If your ideal work environment is a white stucco palace surrounded by palm trees, under an 8-storey high glass atrium, then you will love the spectacular Gazebo at the Landmark Hotel. Of course such surroundings come at a price, in this case a £15 per head minimum spend. But when cappuccinos (and teas and waters) cost £6 each, you may not have to try too hard to hit the minimum. Well worth it for the ambiance, hop-skip-jump location from Marylebone Station and the occasional tinkling of the ivories by the nearby piano player.
Kath’s Tip: If it is too busy, there are also tables available in the smart downstairs bar. While you are here you might even try the healthy cocktails, made with non-alcoholic spirit, Seedlip.
Caravan, Kings Cross
Situated on Granary Square behind Kings Cross Station, this spot is especially useful for meetings with people travelling into London, although many Londoners also relish the opportunity to visit this recently redeveloped area. Perch on the big wooden table at the back for almost-in-the-coffee-roaster industrial vibes and engaging views of both the main restaurant and the cool Central Saint Martins fashion students from next door.
Kath’s Tip: Caravan is best for quick(ish) meetings – so the bar stools won’t get too uncomfy – or for working lunches in the restaurant (without laptops).
Escape the hustle of Paddington Station and the bustle of nearby Edgware Road, with a visit to this calm oasis set in the Paddington Basin development. Kupp is a modern Scandi restaurant, with high ceilings and huge floor-to-ceiling windows overlooking the Regent’s Canal.
If you want to eat as well as meet, try the sharing plates, sharing boards or main dishes (many of which are heavy on smoked elements – smoked mackerel, smoked venison, smoked trout, etc – as you might expect from a Scandi restaurant) but I tend to opt for the simpler salads instead.
Kath’s Tip: Go for a booth seat, where you can spread out, and try my favourite – cold-brew iced coffee – in the warmer months.
Have you used any of these spots for meetings, or do you have any other favourite spots to recommend? Please drop me a line and let me know. I’d love to hear from you. http://runnethlondon.com/contact/
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Kath Sloggett is an entrepreneur, career coach and start-up adviser. She started her career in large organisations – including PwC, Coca-Cola and BT – before branching out into smaller businesses, becoming the CEO at Everyman Cinemas. Using this wealth of experience, she began coaching entrepreneurs and professionals, and launched her own businesses including Runneth. Kath is a working mother so she can speak from personal experience on managing parenthood and career.
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