A restaurant, a café, a cocktail bar, a garden, a place to encounter art at the Royal Academy.
Sir Hugh Casson Room
The Sir Hugh Casson Room is a light and airy café located on the ground floor of the Keeper’s House, with views over the Annenberg Courtyard. Open all day to Friends of the RA, its selection of freshly-baked pastries and refreshing drinks make it and ideal meeting place or post-show haven. On the walls you’ll find our latest Art Sales display, showcasing artworks by our Royal Academicians and invited artists.
Adjacent to the Sir Hugh Casson Room, the Belle Shenkman Room is a more intimate lounge. With its velvet mohair chairs, it’s the perfect place to sit and while away the hours with spectacular views of the garden.
Offering a more formal dining experience, our restaurant on the lower-ground floor of the Keeper’s House provides a stunning setting for lunch or dinner, with dramatic classical casts adorning the walls.
Please note: your booking will be confirmed by our reservations team. Without a confirmation email, your booking is not guaranteed.
The Shenkman Bar is an ideal spot for a pre-dinner or post-exhibition drink. Our expert bartenders create an ever-changing list of cocktails, from a perfectly made Martini to a classic Negroni. The Shenkman Bar opens out into the lush oasis of the Keeper’s Garden
The Keeper's Garden
Design by renowned landscaper Tom Stuart-Smith, who has created his personal vision of an art oasis, the Keeper’s House garden features our very own ‘fifth plinth’, currently featuring work by Ann Christopher RA. Titled Following the Journey, this sculpture evolved through several months of development and is characteristic of the artist’s abstract visual language, which often uses solid form versus line to create a sense of tension and balance.
The Academicians’ Room
The Academicians’ Room is the RA’s private members club, a vibrant and relaxed haven where members can meet to share wonderful drinks, conversation and food in beautiful surroundings designed by Martin Brudnizki. To book a table, please call 020 7300 5881.
Works by Royal Academicians, alongside a selection by emerging and established contemporary artists, are available to purchase at the Keeper’s House and online.
In the Sir Hugh Casson Room, you’ll find Basil Beattie RA: A Passage of Time, a solo display of works on paper ranging from some of Beattie’s earliest prints to vibrant new drawings.
We are also proud to present Chris Orr RA: The Miserable Lives of Fabulous Artists, as part of our Academicians in Focus series in the Belle Shenkman Room. The current exhibition includes around 28 new unique works depicting famous names from art history in a range of weird and wonderful scenarios.
Friends membership enquiries
T: 020 7300 8090
Open seven days a week, 10am – 5pm
Welcome to the garden
Tom Stuart-Smith introduces the Keeper’s House garden.
History of the House
Sydney Smirke RA knew how to build an artist’s home. Nestled in the corner of the RA’s Annenberg Courtyard, the Keeper’s House is his sideways extension of the grand urban palace, Burlington House. Created over 140 years ago, the space was the grace and favour residence for the Academy’s Keeper. Smirke’s plans guaranteed every nineteenth century convenience from the finest vaulted wine cellars to the Models’ Staircase, a private external entrance giving direct access to the Keeper’s studio at all hours for a select few.
Award winning architects Long & Kentish have sensitively restored the Keeper’s House retaining many details from vaults to old ceiling beams and hearths originating from the 1660s. This history is matched with contemporary luxurious interiors designed by award-winning architect David Chipperfield RA.
The scope of what is now called the Keeper’s House may have widened, however hospitality remains at the core of this revitalised space – in essence, ‘a home away from home’ – for Friends of the RA, Patrons, Royal Academicians and visitors.
Who is the Keeper?
Be it bees, goals or the privy purse, modern day Keepers exist to take care of their charges. Our Keeper is the officer of the RA Schools (the longest established art school in Britain, established in 1769 and still running today). They are responsible for guiding and inspiring the next generation of artistic talent admitted each year onto our postgraduate diploma.
Although the Keeper no longer takes up residence at the Academy, they attend the Schools during the week and practice within one of the private studio spaces within the Royal Academy. Our current Keeper is Rebecca Salter RA, a painter-printmaker.
As you pass through the glass atrium of the Keeper’s House you may be able to glimpse the students in their studios. They are at work so please respect their need for peace and quiet.