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What to Wear to Dinner in London

What to Wear to Dinner in London

Heading to the UK Capital and wonder what to wear to Dinner in London? In this guide we will round up the London restaurants dress code rules along with some outfit suggestions so you know exactly how to dress for dinner in London.

Important Note: This post may contain affiliate links which means if you click through and make a purchase I will make a small commission at no extra cost to you. 

For some reason people seem to worry about what to wear for dinner in London and we are often asked do London restaurants have a dress code. 

The truth is that London as a capital city is really a melting pot of different cultures and as such you will see all manner of clothing on the streets of London and different smartness levels. 

Do London restaurants have a dress code?

As such most London restaurants do not have a dress code and there really isn’t an extensive what not to wear in London list that you should be worried about. However as always there are exceptions which do enforce a strict dress code which we will get to later. 

What to Wear to Dinner in London?

If you are what what to wear to dinner in london the first thing you need to look at is the type of restaurant you are heading to. 

The great thing about London is that you will be able to find every kind of cuisine on this planet and many with no dress codes. 

If you are going to one of the many chain restaurants in London then the attire is definitely casual. You can just go to these dressed completely as you are whether you have jsut come from work or are laid back having had a long day sightseeing. 

Some great examples of chain restaurants in London that have no dress code and are great even if you are traveling with children include:

  • Wahaca (Mexican Cantina)
  • Bill’s (Eclectic)
  • Cote (French Brasserie)
  • Flat Iron (Steak)
  • Comptoir Libanais (Lebanese Cuisine)

To name just a couple of the chains we like to eat at in London. 

But if you want something more authentic and perhaps want to go to an independent or local restaurant you will find there are many that have casual dress codes too. 

The only London restaurants with a dress code tend to be those that are holding a Michelin star, those that are located in 5 star hotels or those that are in luxury venues for instance the restaurant at the Shard in London.

 We will look at these in more detail later but first we will round up some of the great types of restaurants in London and there related dress codes.

What do people wear to pubs in London?

One of my favorite types of restaurants to eat in London and something that should be on anyone’s London bucket list is eating in a traditional London pub. 

In case you were wondering people in London eat as well as drink in pubs and it is definitely a place you can have dinner with kids too (though the later you go the rowdier the pub will be). 

If are are wondering what to people wear to pubs in London the answer is literally anything. 

Pubs are frequented by everyone in London for both dinner and drinks and therefore you will see all sorts of dress. 

Many people will go to the pub directly from work and if they work in a more formal setting they wil come in in suits but you are also as equally likely to see tourists and dressed down locals so do feel free to come as you are. 

When I go to a pub in London I will normally just wear jeans and a top (jumper for winter and t shirt for summer) and have never ever felt underdressed. In fact I think it is almost impossible to feel underdressed at a pub in London. 

Some of my favorite pubs in London include Ye Olde Cheshire Cheese and the Punch and Judy in the Covent Garden Piazza. 

What to wear to a curry house in London?

After eating in a London pub, the next thing that should be on your culinary London bucket list is eating in a traditional curry house. 

The best place to get a curry in London is on a street called Brick Lane in East London which is just a street with curry house after curry house. We normally eat at Aladin’s on Brick Lane but you can’t go wrong with any. 

The great thing about what to wear to a curry house in London is that you can wear anything. If you have had a long day out sightseeing in London you don’t need to worry about changing before dinner or going in anything higher than casual attire. 

Again wearing jeans and a t shirt is absolutely fine for going to dinner at a curry house in London. 

What do you wear for dinner and drinks in London?

If you are worried about what do you wear for dinner and drinks in London don’t be. There is not a strict dress code generally speaking for dinner and drinks in London. 

Usually in most places jeans and sneakers are fine to wear for dinner and drinks in London

What I wear to Dinner in London?

When I go out to a dinner in London (for places not on the list below) I will normally wear the following 

A Pair of Jeans

I will normally opt for a pair of skinny or well fitted jeans when I go out to dinner in London. However, this isn’t necessary. When wondering about what to wear for dinner in Paris you are told to avoid the baggy or loose jeans but London isn’t as strict so wear whatever you feel comfortable in. 

Shop jeans here

A Blouse or Jumper

Depending on what season you are traveling to London in I would normally pair my jeans with a nice blouse or if traveling and wondering what to wear in London in December a jumper instead. 

Again, the tops can be a dressed up or as casual as you like. However if you want to wear something with a bit of sparkle or lace this is also acceptable too. 

Shop jumpers here


If your are traveling to London in November or December then I recommend wearing a pair of thick heeled boots (Thin heeled boots are on our what not to wear in London list as they are a danger on cobblestoned streets or escalators). 

However if you are visiting and wondering what to wear in London in July or August a pair of flats or wedges or sneakers is fine to wear in most London restaurants however do wear sneakers at very high end restaurants with caution. I would recommend calling these places in advance just in case.

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What to Wear for Dinner in London at specific restaurants?

As I mentioned above there doesn’t tend to be a dress code at London restaurants however there are a few exceptions in the form of very fine dining restaurants, michelin starred restaurants and those in luxury venues like the Shard or a 5* hotel. 

I will try to cover as much as I can in this section but if there is somewhere you want to know about that isn’t covered in the below list please leave a comment and we will get back to you as soon as you can. 

What do you wear to the Ritz

If you are wondering what do you wear to the Ritz in London the answer is it depends on when and where you are eating. 

If you are visiting the famous Palm Court at the Ritz then you will be expected to adhere to a formal dress code. This dress code applies to both lunch at dinner at the Ritz. 

In reality this means that men are expected to wear a jacket and tie. Jeans and sportswear are unacceptable for both men and women. 

This dress code applies to the following places in the Ritz:

  • The Palm Court
  • The Ritzz CLub
  • The Ritz Restaurant and Terrace. 

In other areas of the Ritz including The Rivoli Bar, Long Gallery and the Ritz Garden the dress code in smart casual but not that shorts, trainers and sportswear are not permitted in any restaurants or even bars at the Ritz. 

Can you wear jeans to the Ivy London? What is the Ivy London dress code

The dress code at the Ivy London is smart casual. This means that you can even wear shorts or short sleeved shirts if you are visiting London in summer. The only proviso is that they are tailored and in good repair. Cargo shorts and anything ripper/dirty would not be acceptable. 

However it is worth noting that many people go to the Ivy London to celebrate so there will be many people dressed up. 

NOte: If you want to book the Ivy London, this restaurant is in WEst Street. Ivy Brasseries have now popped up all across the UK but these do not offer the same experience and do not have the same dress code. 

Is there a dress code for the Shard restaurant

There is a dress code for the Shard restaurants. All shard restaurants operate a smart casual dress code. Therefore the following are not allowed at Shard restaurants

  • Flip FLops
  • Sneakers
  • Sportswear
  • Shorts

Jeans are allowed so long as they are smart but I would always ring in advance to cehck as rules can change.

Is there a dress code in London bars?

There is a dress code in some London bars. Some bars will say no sports wear or sneakers but this is done on a case by case basis so check wiht the bar you want to go to before arrival. 

What do you wear to High Tea in London

While many London restaurants do not have a dress code afternoon teas do. If you are wondering what do youn wear to High tea in London I would recommend sticking to a smart casual to formal dress code depdning on the venue. 

Check out our what to wear to afternoon tea in London guide for more details. 

And no matter the month you are traveling to London we have an in-depth guide for you. Click on the below monthly guide to tell you how to dress for each season in London:

What did you wear to dinner in London? LEave us a comment and let us know where you went and what you wore.