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Aug 18, 2007 09:09 AM

Rehearsal dinner with a view?

We're desperately looking for a nice-but-casual spot to have a rehearsal dinner for 40 or so people, and would love a view of the Manhattan skyline and/or water. Funky is fine, tho not grubby or divey. Any suggestions?

As an aside, we were supposed to have it at Alma, but they just cancelled on us after weeks of assurances that all was fine! We were so upset by how they treated us that we'd like to advise others against them as a venue.


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  1. Sorry you had that experience. Did they give you a reason? It's funny that you mentioned Alma, because that's the first place that occurred to me, because it was the only restaurant that I could think of with that kind of view. (Although the food, in my opinion, is only OK.) A water view or Manhattan skyline view is a tough one. Obviously River Cafe is out of the question. I wish I could think of something. Maybe you should take a drive around Dumbo, Red Hook and Williamsburg. Sorry I know this isn't much help. If something occurs to me, I'll post it at once.

    1. A few thoughts come to mind (although none perfect, I'm afraid). Giando on the Water in Williamsburg is, as the name suggests, on the water. I don't know what size groups they accommodate (or how the food is--I've never been there), but it might be worth checking. In DUMBO, there's Bubby's and Pete's Downtown (Italian restaurant across the street from River Cafe). And, you might think about asking Fairway if you can rent out their back patio and have them cater it. No idea if they would do it, but it could be a hoot.

      1 Reply
      1. re: Marion Morgenthal

        I've eaten at Giando's about 5 or 6 times. I'd rate the food as a solid B. The food is fairly priced, a pleasant exception for "view" places. They can easily handle a party of 40 if you give them adequate notice.

      2. I live just around the corner from alma and the two times i went the service was terrible. the food is average. shame it has such a nice view. It doesnt have a view but Pit stop just down the street has a lovely back yard.

        1 Reply
        1. re: england718

          We recently attended a rehearsal dinner at Bubbys in Dumbo and had a great experience. The view is awesome! The couple reserved the entire upstairs area. There was a small bar set up as well as a three piece band. I think they had some passed hors d'ouevres. The food was served buffet style and was quite good. Certainly not fine dining, but was great comfort food. They don't have the best reputation on this board, but everything was very solid/good and was the casual and homey vibe that the couple wanted. Service was excellent.

        2. Though not with a direct water view, Five Front in Dumbo will give you a section of the restaurant that can accomodate 40. Then, you're just a block walk from the water. Otherwise, Pete's Downtown (don't know how the food is these days) or the very expensive River Cafe would both give you direct views.

          1. Thank you for your replies! I will look into Bubby's, Giando's, and Pete's, for sure. While we loved Five Front the moment we walked in, we were horrified to see about 6 cockroaches climbing up the outside wall as we ate. I know they exist all over...but....

            About Alma -- I was in communication with 2 people there (one a manager, one a chef) over a 2-week period, both of whom cleared the date and details, said all was fine, etc., but when it came time for the owner to sign off on the contract apparently they suddenly remembered that they had a policy of no friday-night private parties. It was infuriating, to say the least!

            Why aren't there more restaurants with views of manhattan???

            Thanks again.

            2 Replies
            1. re: bookchik

              How about Water's Edge in Long Island City? it's right on the East River with a perfect view of the Manhattan skyline. Your guests will need cars, though -- it's not terribly close to any transportation.

              Here's a review:


              1. re: bibinewyork

                they have a free ferry for dinner guests from 34th st. pier in Manhattan.