When it comes to bars and restaurants, it is usually what's on the inside that counts. Londoners will search long and hard for those venues that offer pretty plates and eye-catching interiors - bonus points if there's a sassy neon sign somewhere. However, there are some places that can just do both. We've pulled together the sexiest, silliest and most bizarre buildings in London, from a retail hub with a quirky structure to the most tech-savvy restaurant in Chelsea.
Bookended by Granary Square and Regent's Canal, The Lighterman is a three-storey bar and restaurant with some serious design props. Open and fronting a gorgeous waterside terrace, the venue has a plethora of indoor and outdoor spaces with a top-floor viewing gallery. If you want to head here on the weekend? Check out its brunch menu and range of bloody marys.
We’d be silly not to mention one of the most famous buildings in London – The Walkie Talkie. A must-visit for tourists, the structure looks like a two-way radio handset. Designed by Uruguayan architect Rafael Viñoly and opened in 2014, the venue invites you to visit Sky Garden Bars for its stunning views of the city and a couple of lip-smacking cocktails.
A vibrant retail hub at the heart of the Kings Cross development efforts, Coal Drops Yard is the former coal shed complex that now houses some of London's most sought-after dining destinations. Canopied by designer Thomas Heatherwick's immediately recognisable 'kissing roof', you'll also find all manner of unique bars and restaurants in the area such as Rotunda.
If you’re looking to snap oddly-shaped tall buildings in London, The Boomerang is a brilliant shout. Also known as One Blackfriars and The Vase, the structure is 170 metres high and houses 274 apartments – which boasts panoramic views of the city. While you can’t go in, you can take a few pics and tucker off to SAMA Bankside for a bottomless brunch or freshly pulled pint.
Greenwich Gateway Pavilions
Head over to Peninsula Square and you'll find yourself in the presence of the RIBA Award-winning Greenwich Gateway Pavilions from architectural firm Marks Barfield. A pair of two-storey curved glass structures, linked by a canopy, the hotspot houses an eclectic mix of venues, including contemporary art hub NOW Gallery. Hungry after? For delish Italian cuisine, Zizzi is just a six-minute walk away.
The Standard Hotel
While it might be easy to miss amidst the hustle and bustle of King's Cross, The Standard hotel is quite a beauty. Admire the 1974 white Brutalist building, complete with its eye-catching bullet lift to add a pop of colour. And if you fancy heading inside this joint, go to Decimo for Spanish cuisine or walk just a few minutes over to Hokus Pokus and crack on with theatrical tipples in a swanky setting.
Anachronistic in its surroundings, this mosaic-tiled frontage of this 125-year-old building has stood the test of time. An entryway for a sprawling subterranean spa-turned-event space, the baths were formerly a huge hit with 19th century Londoners and miraculously survived the Blitz bombardment. Dip inside the Victorian Bath House and you'll see that its equally decadent interiors make it one of the capital's most unique private party spaces.
Designed by Foster + Partners (the same folks behind The Gherkin and Millenium Bridge) Crossrail Station makes an aesthetic mark even amongst the glossy, asymmetrical towers of Canary Wharf. The building is home to a cleverly curated roof garden which is open and free to the public. Plus, there are plenty of nearby dining dens and activity hubs such as Fairgame.
No 1 Poultry
Despite being Britain's youngest listed building, the history of No 1 Poultry is a fraught tale of neo-gothic demolitions and a very angry Prince Charles. Sat opposite Bank Station, the postmodern clock-faced front was designed in the 90s by architect James Stirling - who sadly did not live to see his work completed - and comes with its very own rooftop pleasure garden in the form of Coq D'Argent, the city's favourite sky-high suntrap.
The work of Zaha Hadid - the undisputed queen of cool and curvy constructions - The Serpentine North Gallery is one of the most unique buildings in England. Originally built in 1805, the fluid glass-fibre structure and free art exposition has become a sublime spot for all manner of public and private parties. Fancy a spot of tea? Check out the Colicci Serpentine Coffee House.
The Caravan team may have made their name flogging strong coffees and chic brunches, but their first foray into formal dining shows there are a few more tricks up those Kiwi sleeves. Located in Chelsea's Duke of York Square, Vardo offers as much in the way of design ingenuity as it does in delicious plates of food - alongside a little rooftop terrace, this three-storey stone pavilion adapts easily to warmer weather thanks to 360-degree retractable floor-to-ceiling windows.