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Jul 2, 2007 06:10 PM

Inexpensive wine-focused dinner for small party

I'm looking for a place to host a dinner party for about 7 people in the Santa Monica/LA area. I'd like to have a very wine-focused dinner...meaning lots and lots of wine (can be inexpensive) and some good food. Inexpensive is key.

I've been referred to Upstairs 2, and I've taken a look at Bodega Wine Bar in Santa Monica.

I emailed the people at Upstairs 2 to ask about setting something up, but I haven't heard back from them, and after reading a few posts regarding that restaurant on these boards, I'm a little leery of going there! I keep reading about the manager's bad attitude; this has to be a fun, light-hearted, really enjoyable evening.

Has anyone been to Bodega or have any other recommendations? I don't want to spend more than $45 or so per person, if possible.

Thanks so much in advance!

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  1. I've always had great experiences at Upstairs 2.

    Alternatively, you should check out Cube on La Brea/near Melrose. I'm not sure if they have a liquor license yet...but they have a private room, they'll work with you to create a 6-course dinner ( I think it was 6-courses) and you can bring unlimited wine with no corkage fee. We had 10 people and it was $40 per person --- it might be a little more with less people, but worth checking out.

    It might also be worthwhile to check out Lou --- this is in Hollywood, but I remember the food/wine being reasonable.

    1 Reply
    1. re: Obessed

      Ah BUMMER!! I just called Cube...they only do a private party for 10 people or more. :( That sounds ideal!

      I'm going to call Lou on Vine; I'm not necessarily tied to Santa Monica, so Hollywood is fine. You guys are awesome! Keep the recs coming.


      ETA: I just emailed Lou as well. Thanks again for the great recommendations!

    2. While I really want to like Bodega, I'm not sure that's the right place for a dinner party - for one, it's much more of a bar scene. Also, the food is more along the lines of pizza, some paninis, etc. It's decent, but nothing more in my opinion. I also personally don't find their wine list that interesting (nor, if I recall correctly, does it change that often).

      I've only been to Upstairs 2 once, and had a good time. I think that unless you were careful with menu planning, however, you could easily bust your $45/person limit - while the food is good, serving sizes are small.

      My recommendation would be to try calling/emailing Lou ( and see if they could set something up for you. At the very least, the wine list and food is much better than that which you'd find at Bodega. I had my birthday dinner there last year, and they were very helpful in helping me stick to my price range.

        1. I really like Upstairs2 a lot. Look into Wine Cellar and the Cheese Shop Beverly Hills.

          I want to suggest Bin8945, but I think it's outside your budget.

          Enoteca Drago has a nice private wine room.

          1. Try calling Peter or Ivo at Il Tiramisu in Studio City. they can probably work out a very nice wine pairing dinner for you, for a price you will like.