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Rehearsal Dinner Locations in Ft. Lauderdale

Hi everyone! I just signed up on this site today and it looks like you've got a great thing going here! I live in St. Pete/Tampa and am planning my brother's wedding (he lives in Ft. Lauderdale). Does anyone have any recommendations for Rehearsal Dinner locations in Ft. Lauderdale?

There will probably be about 50 people and it is going to be in November, so the weather should be nice. They were thinking about something beachy but A1A is so dang busy (from what I have seen) that I think it's best if they don't do anything right off of there. They want something casual but sophisticated. They have even talked about bringing in a steel drum band to play during dinner. Any suggestions would be much appreciated!

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  1. Bimini Boatyard on 17th Street in Ft. Lauderdale is on the water and has a nice private party room. It sounds like it might be just right for your party.

    1. Sea Watch, on the beach, Lauderdale-Pompano border has a private room which will hold about 50. Great atmosphere!

      1. Try Casablaca Cafe on A1A- I recently went to 50th birthday party there and they did a great job.

        1 Reply
        1. re: JAC13

          Thank you. I have done a little research and saw several posts on a Fodor site that there is a 3K minimum with any larger party. Did you run across this?

        2. Depends what's important. Give me a better idea and I will come up with some options. If you want to do something casual and fun you can try Taverna Opa. If you want to go Upscale there is Trina which has a nice room across from the Ocean. Johnny V's may work too.
          I will give this some more thought

          1 Reply
          1. re: Sobe

            Okay thanks. I think they are looking to spend no more than 3k (and they would like to be able to have an open bar, or at least beer and wine). Not sure if upscale would be what they are looking for since they want to have a more casual atmosphere. They are doing their actual wedding and reception on a yacht so I think they are trying to keep the whole water and beach theme going for the weekend.

            We went to this one restaurant on A1A out on the beach that had these swinging benches and tables. They liked the feel of the restaurant (it being open, close to the water, casual, beachy, etc.) but it was so loud with all of the traffic, a little too casual, and plus the manager said they don't do private parties there.

            They would also like to hire a steel drum band to play at the dinner, so the restaurant would have to be able to accommodate something like that. Outside OR inside dining is okay.

          2. I am having an event for the same number of people at The River House. They've been great to work with so far and the food is very good. We've eaten dinner there. It's right on the river off Las Olas and they have a lovely patio and many rooms to choose from. go to their website ftlauderdaleriverhouse.com to see pics.

            2 Replies
            1. re: chisaveur

              That's actually the one place I checked out when I was down there. It was amazing, of course, but very expensive. Also, I think it is a little too elegant for what they are wanting. If it was my wedding though, I would have it there in a heartbeat!

              1. re: chisaveur

                They pretty much stick to the prices in the catering menus they give you for review, right? Do you mind me asking what your budget is?

              2. How about at the Westin Diplomat on Hollywood Beach? The hotel is fabulous, they're on the beach and also have a marina across the street on the Intracoastal. I have stayed there a few times and all the restaurants were good so I bet they have a great catering department.

                1. Go to the Rustic Inn on Ravenswood Road in Ft. Lauderdale, just west of the Griffin Rd ext on I95. It's a crab house with a pretty varied menu, and plenty of things for non-fish eaters, too. Newspaper on the tables, mallets to crack crabs... lots of fun, though not cheap, despite the "rustic" decor.

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: Rockin Rich

                    Rustic has a party barge that is attached to the restaurant. I use the term barge loosely as it doesn't move or anything. I went to several parties with about 30 people there and we had a great time. It won't be cheap but I think you should be able to do it there for $3000 for 50 people. It definitely fits the water theme. Fun resto. Also, it's very likely that you could hire the steel drum band. A suggestion: you might want to get a Jimmy Buffet-type guy as a 1 man band. I know it seems cheesy but it's much much cheaper and at a party like this, live music is live music. We had one at our rehearsal and it wasn't cheesy at all.

                  2. Chima would be great fun for a rehearsal dinner, and the space is flexible and attractive and I think it would run about $32 per person before drinks so you could probably arrange some table wines to pour and keep it to your budget.

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: PCC

                      Thanks-- I checked this out, but not quite what they are looking for. I think they want something on the water/beach with a Caribbean feel. They also want a steel drum band to play.

                    2. Did you look at Max's on the Beach?

                      1 Reply
                      1. re: LIfoodie

                        No, thanks! Again, I live in Saint Petersburg so I am not familiar with the area at all. Any other suggestions would be appreciated as I am compiling a list for when I go down next month!

                      2. you should really see if you can make river house work. order some of the more casual items to keep it from being too fancy. the steel band would be perfect for along the river. you may also want to see if tarpon bend, which is right around the block from river house does private parties...it is very casual...and the food is good. if you would want to change the theme away from the steel band type place i would give you some other suggestions

                        as far as the other sugestions:

                        casablanca - the food is no good
                        diplomat - good but very expensive
                        chima - good but 40 per person (not 32) w/o drinks
                        rustic inn - good for the garlic crabs but not much else
                        sea watch - you will be the only people under 70
                        bimini boatyard - locals go for happy hour not the food but it does go with your theme

                        1. The Downtowner is on the river and has a private party room. The food's pretty good. They also have live music. Not sure about pricing or being able to accomodate a band in the party room. You could do the water taxi to the restaurant.

                          1. Hey guys. I am in the same boat. I was thinking of using the Maikai. We have about 30 people and the menu comes in at 54 per person without alcohol. I remember going there long time ago. Is the food still good?

                            1 Reply
                            1. re: s70swinger

                              Fun touristy place with good drinks but the food is not so good. You should be able to do much better for 54 per person.

                            2. Definitely check out the Bimini Boatyard. It's on the waterway and they have a nice size private room. The food is pretty good and it sounds like the atmosphere you're looking for. I have been there for two private parties and they did a very nice job on both. I also don't think it's terribly expensive.