Group Dinner at Otto
On the Thursday night before our wedding, I took a group of our relatives from Chicago out to Otto, since they had come out early to see us. I think there were 10 of us, seated around a round table in the back. We had to wait for at least 15 minutes to be seated, and the music back there was really loud -- too loud to talk to someone across the table. My cousins were excited to eat at a Batali place--and try some new flavors--but I can't say I would really recommend it for a rehearsal dinner. The food was on par with my other visits, but service was slow, especially when we wanted to order.
I would consider having your party there only if you're having enough people to take the back room (if they offer even offer that). That way you'll have more control over the music and would be able to walk around and mingle. However I do understand why it's a good idea -- affordable food and good wine in a lively atmosphere.
Our rehearsal dinner was in the downstairs section of Alta, however I'm not sure if they do parties like that anymore. They were pretty strict about how long we could stay (Friday night, out by 9pm), but were very hospitable about letting our guests come to the bar as early as 5:30pm (and believe me, they did!). They could fit 60 down there.
(and congrats, if this is for your wedding!)
Had a birthday gathering at Otto and was disappointed. Service was good, but I did not care for the pizza at all. Most of the pizzas we ordered were burned. That aside, I would deter you from this as a choice because of the noise level. The music was blaring so loudly that people right next to one another couldn't talk. And the music choices were odd...everything from the Pulp Fiction soundtrack to the Black Eyed Peas.
re: Honey Bee
Thanks everyone! This is very helpful. My fiance and I have always loved Otto, and that's why we considered it but you are right, unless we could have the whole back room, I don't know if it would work. I will call them once we have come up with a short list.
The room at Alto sounds good, but that is awfully early to be kicked out. I'll search around for more spaces like that.