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Rehearsal dinner with a view?

bookchik Aug 18, 2007 09:09 AM

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.


  1. soupcommie Aug 18, 2007 11:43 AM

    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. m
      Marion Morgenthal Aug 18, 2007 12:19 PM

      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
        Bob Martinez Aug 20, 2007 12:08 PM

        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. e
        england718 Aug 18, 2007 12:30 PM

        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
          tiger2 Aug 18, 2007 06:27 PM

          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. j
          jdf Aug 19, 2007 07:03 AM

          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. b
            bookchik Aug 19, 2007 07:42 AM

            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
              bibinewyork Aug 21, 2007 11:54 AM

              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
                welle Aug 23, 2007 09:14 AM

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

            2. r
              roux42 Aug 23, 2007 08:14 PM

              We are having ours at Pete's Downtown, the food is ok but the atomsphere is fantastic and very Brooklyn/New York for our out of town relatives.... You cannot beat the view and the staff is sooo very nice!

              Good luck!

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