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Private Room for About 75 on a Friday night


I've been researching private rooms in Manhattan for a Friday night. I would ideally like to spend less than $180/person (1 hour cocktail hour with open bar and hors deourves, three-course sit down meal with wine service). Ambience is definitely a priority. My tastes are very eclectic -- I like rooms that ae grand such as Eleven Madison Park, farmhouse rustic (AOC Bedford), quietly elegant (Wallse) and more sleek, modern (The Modern). I do not like rooms that are very stuffy (Lespinasse) or Victorian-like. The quality of food is very important. I am leaning towards New American (this is for a wedding reception -- so looking for something that can appeal to a wide range of tastes).

I would ideally like a private room as opposed to a restaurant buy-out -- costs can be really prohibitive. Lupa has a $35,000 restaurant buy-out cost -- and it only seats 70! That comes to $500/person.

I've discovered that the following restaurants do not do private parties: Babbo, Gramercy Tavern, Stanton Social, Hudson Cafeteria, Blue Ribbon. The following restaurants are too small: Harrison, AOC Bedford, Mas, 5 Ninth, Blue Ribbon Bakery, Salt, BLT Fish, Hearth. These restaurants exceeds my budget (either because of restaurant buy-out policies or it is just too expensive): Daniel, Danube, Cru, The Place, Alto.

I've narrowed it down to these for now:
Tocqueville (however, limit is 70 people; no breathing room in terms of guest list)
Astra (not private room, but Charlie Palmer's catering thing)
Dish (catering thing -- used to be a restaurant)
Tribeca Grill
Wallse (limit is 70)
Red Cat

I've also thought about renting a space and using Abigail-Kirsch -- although I've never tried her food and have no clue what her fees are.

I would love any opinions or feedback you may have. Thanks!

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  1. 75 is a very large party.

    I know that City Hall in Tribeca has a very large downstairs room . . . I have used it. But I am not sure it will sit that many.

    1. I'm not sure why you say Astra is not a private room. I've been there a few times for lunch. It's one large, attractive room with a terrific view and a terrace. In the evening, it's used strictly for private functions, and I imagine when it's all decked out, it would have a very elegant feel. And Charlie Palmer's food is not too shabby. So, if the cost would fit your budget, I think it would be an excellent spot.

      1. The Tasting Room that recently opened on Elizabeth St. is an option. I'm pretty sure their new restaurant can accomidate 100 people and they have a solid wine list and great greenmarket fare. Best of luck,


        1. Wallse has delicious food! and can be excellent for small parties, although it seems to be small for your guest list. If you had room to budge on that, I'd say go there.

          Tribeca Grill, however is also amazing! and might be able to accomodate your group.

          Either way, that's what i would pick ;)

          1. I think the whole Abigail Kirsch route could end up being cost prohibitive...Have you thought about one of the private rooms at Blue Water Grill? They were so accomodating when my parents made a sizable birthday dinner for me there.

            1. I've actually decided to book it at Astra. I went there for lunch and thought it was pretty good. I know that the evening food and the lunch food is totally different. I really wish that we would be able to taste some of their food before we sign the contract. Unfortunately, Astra has a policy of no tastings until we fork over the deposit.

              The room is beautiful, and they seem very flexible. We shall see...

              3 Replies
              1. re: Miss Needle

                Have you considered asking if the evening food would be like what is served at Aureole, Palmer's upscale restaurant? If so, you could give it a try. I've never managed to dine there (it's on my never-ending "go to" list), but there have been very positive posts about it by other Hounds.

                1. re: Miss Needle

                  Miss Needle,
                  How did your wedding reception turn out at Astra? I'm looking for places for late Aug or early September for an intimate wedding of 30-40 people. Any input you could provide would be great! Also any pics you could provide would be so helpful. Thanks!

                  1. re: foodlover31

                    Astra worked out really well for us. We were really happy with the choice and would definitely recommend it. We ended up having about 88 people (you know how guest lists can grow) -- and I thought it was perfect for the amount of guests. I'm thinking that Astra may be a bit too large for a 30-40 person wedding. But they can section off areas so it may be able to work. They have the main dining room plus lounge areas where it can be used as a changing room or a place to keep your things. The terrace with views of the 59th Street bridge was a great touch. I thought the food was excellent (with the main courses being merely good -- they ended up being a bit overcooked). A few of the guests said it was the best food they've had at a wedding ever -- so it was really nice to hear that. The service was very good as well. It really was a pleasure to work with those guys. They're out to please you without kissing your ass. Also -- a couple of notes about the building -- they had a guy downstairs at the entrance to escort guests to the elevators. It was a nice touch. And as Astra is located in the Design and Decor building, the building is very charming and beautiful on the inside. Unlike most brides, I dreaded the whole ordeal of planning a wedding. But the best thing about Astra as that it was so freakin' easy -- the manager Gavin coordinated everything for us and we really didn't have to do much but to show up. It really was a no muss no fuss affair which was perfect for us.

                    If you're seriously considering the place, you should visit it during lunchtime. The menu is totally different, but you'll get an idea of the layout. The feel is totally different during the evening, though. Here's Astra's website:


                    And here are some pics my relatives took. You can see what the place looks like on most of them. Just start on "Stan Flower" and click through. The pics of Astra end at "Karaoke".


                    Congrats and good luck!

                2. I had my wedding reception at Park Bistro last year, and it worked out great. It was a buy out, but no where near what the other places are charging. Maybe because they also own a catering company,Park Aveenue Catering, is why it was less expensive. They have a web page. Anyway i had no complaints, and as a matter of fact, ive become a regular customer of Park Bistro now, and they take such good care of us!

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: LvtoEatzz

                    As a long-time patron of Park Bistro, I found your post very interesting. I thought their catering company did the private functions in a townhouse on 29th St., around the corner from the restaurant . From what you've described,i.e., a "buy out" of the restaurant itself, does that mean they no longer have the townhouse space? Also, I Googled and found the name -- Park Avenue Gourmandises -- but no website. Do you have the url? (Note: Park Bistro used to have a website, which included the catering info, but gave it up several years ago.)

                  2. Abigail Kirsh is very over priced to match her ego(she jipped us on two occasions). She uses a couple bare lofts and you will have to rent everything pushing you way over budget. Tribeca Grill is so nice if they could close for you. The same group opened Mai House a few months ago. If you were looking for an Asian or French theme, they could do it. We were there Saturday for 9:pm dinner and they were empty since they had very little press. The chef is Spike Mendelsohn from the current season of top chef. The food was amazing(we had a seven course tasting menu) and priced much better than the other restaurants in the group(including Tribeca Grill and Nobu). They would probably do this with reasonable pricing so they get publicity.

                    1. You can try Del Posto too. They have a large room downstairs that would definitely hold 75 or more. I have not had the food at Bryant Park Grill, but they also have a private room. Another idea is 8 1/2 restaurant on 57th street. I know they have a private room, but I'm not sure how many it can hold.