Place with personality for 135 and daytime dancing?
I'm looking for a venue for a Bat Mitzvah lunch in January. Ideally, we want an interesting (not fancy) space that allows non-dancers to talk while dancers eat, isn't too far from Wynnewood/Ardmore, is affordable, and, of course, serves wonderful food. Any ideas?
As someone who both fairly recently helped plan her sister's wedding, as well as someone who worked for an off-premise caterer for several years, I wonder if you'd be better off seperating the venue from the food. First of all, there are several fabulous locations in the area that are just that--locations. While they come equipped with a dance floor, lots of charm, and beautiful decor, you have to bring in your caterer seperately. This is good because you have more control over the variables in the equation (you don't have to settle for liking the food but hating the venue or vice versa), but can be costly because you generally will have to pay some sort of site fee for use of the space in addition to what you are paying the caterer. Also, sometimes a site will only work with certain caterers, so you might have to select your caterer from only a handful of choices as opposed to many. Secondly, I'm guessing that, given the occasion, you'll want your food to be in accordance with various dietary restrictions (not sure if it needs to be kosher or whether you'll just need to avoid certain foods that likely aren't "appropriate" for a Jewish event). Regardless, finding both a place you like that can both accomodate the size of your group as well as fit your dietary (and also taste, as keep in mind these are kids) preferences is going to be much more challenging than finding a space you like and a caterer who can provide you with food prepared in a manner that you trust.
If you are pretty sure you'd prefer to have an all-in-one package such as what a restaurant can provide, then the only suggestion I have is Evviva on Montgomery Avenue, since that is where a relative had his Bar Mitzvah, so I know the food is good, albeit not what I'd expect for this kind of event. I'm not sure if this location could hold a group of your size, but it seems to be popular for Bar/Bat Mitzvahs, as there were two taking place there simultaneously on the day that I went.
Good luck with your quest--perhaps, if the budget allows it, you should consider hiring a party planner/consultant.
Evviva! We have had several parties there, of varying sizes. We also attended a wedding there, which had some dancing - and room for people who weren't dancing.
They do a great job - good food (usually the guests have choice from four entrees), flowers, a parking lot - and wonderful value.
We have attended many functions at Evviva and were never disappointed. Go see it.
Would you consider the Union Firehouse and and a caterer? I realize firehall + bat mitzvah is not a natural combination, but you said not fancy, affordable and interesting.... they can certainly handle dancing and non-dancing guests, a band, and have plenty of space for the caterers to do their thing.