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Good Calgary restaurant for staff Christmas party?

I was wondering if the Calgary Chowhounders might have any good suggestions for a place to have a staff Christmas party. There would be about 40 in attendance, and we would prefer a space where we could have at least some privacy. In the past, certain smaller restaurants have even closed and hosted us exclusively. Downtown would be best, but we're willing to consider other options. It must have good food and good drinks, but other than that, we're open to anything. Thanks!

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  1. you might be too large a group but we went to Big Fish last year and it was so fantastic we are going back this year.

    They did oysters and cocktails in the bar before dinner then we had a 4 course wine pairing dinner - everything was delicious and the service amazing.

    they closed for us and gave us the menu choices a week or so ahead of time.

    2 Replies
    1. re: pants

      Thanks, Pants. I wonder if they would do the same at Open Range.

      1. re: feuerzeug

        I went to a staff xmas party at Open Range last year for my husband's office, and a friend's law firm did their xmas party there too. I actually really enjoyed it. We had cocktails and passed appetizers to start and a great selection for entrees. I had the rack of lamb - which was really popular - and it was perfectly cooked (which is often not the case). It was by far one of the best xmas party meals I've had (FAR better than, say, the Palliser ...).

    2. Most places with private rooms or that are willing to shut down have a budgetary minimum - IE how much spent in the evening on food and drink. 40 is a good number, but you might have some difficulty getting to some of the established minimums at a few of the locations.

      Places big enough and with reasonable minimums (if you budget $75 a head for example)

      Divino (several rooms here - you'd probably end up in the Stone Cellar. If i remember correctly, they had a $2500 minimum). Great food and drinks.

      Rouge - semi-private spaces... great food.

      Belvedere actually was surprisingly reasonable for shutting down the restaurant. They do a great job with the beverages.

      2 Replies
      1. re: yen

        Thanks, Yen. Those are all great ideas. I always seem to forget about Divino, but I've always had great food there.

        1. re: yen

          Argh, of course Divino is already booked for every single date we wanted.

        2. What about an office party of say, 20 or so??? any recommendations??? also, pants, wondering what the cost of Big Fish was last year??????

          1 Reply
          1. re: sackman

            We were about 25 people at big fish - we weren't supposed to find out the cost but... i think it was about $125 a person - but that was 3 courses, all the wine, appetizers and cocktails for a couple hours prior to dinner as well.

          2. Our xmas party last year was in the basement of The Tribune, and was delicious. I think 40 would probably fit it quite comfortably.

            1. These are all very good suggestions. Anyone have any ideas for something unique, fun, possibly ethnic?

              2 Replies
              1. re: feuerzeug

                Well, the top of the ski jump does a decent catering job (for unique and fun).

                Maybe eight would shutdown on a weeknight for 40 - then you could go to Mercury afterwards and revel it up for your fun component. The food is tasty, but not so ethnic. It's a nice space though.

                For ethnic, maybe Atlas foods for Persian then belly dancing? I think Sahara has Belly dancing as well, and they could shut down the entire top section for you.

                Calgary Tower (*yawn*). The zoo does brunch... dunno about catered events but i would guess yes.
                Jonas' is small enough that it would be a good restaurant and ethnic, but not very unique.

                Greek feast complete with plate smashing? Whole roasted lamb, souvlaki, meze platters, ouzo, opa!

                La Pachanga / Don Quixotes for Spanish then salsa dancing?
                Tapas, beverages, and mingling at a million different small restaurants?

                A night of Omakase at Blowfish would be killer food with nice atmosphere too (just set the chef free, don;t pick off the menu).

                It really depends on your crowd, your budget, and what you consider to be unique, fun, or ethnic.

                1. re: yen

                  Last year our office went to Club Paradiso (upstairs from Village Cantina) Carly's Angels was the entertainment, Carly was VERY entertaining. There was no sit down dinner, appetizers were served (quite a selection to choose from).
                  Looking for a different venue this year, laid back atmosphere but fun. Our crowd doesn't like to dress in costumes, or formal. They like to mingle and have some laughs (a lot of laughs). Any ideas?

              2. I could use a recommendation on a 200 person place at a mid-to-low-end price, also downtown. Anyone have any ideas?

                5 Replies
                1. re: mcmuffin

                  You are probably a little late to try to find a 200 person place at this point. Most of the large venues are booked by corporations at least a year to two years in advance. My company has theirs booked five years in advance. You may be able to book an entire restaurant but then its not going to be mid to low end. Best bet would probably be to book a community center and have it catered.

                  Sorry to sound pestimistic, but that's the reality in Calgary right now. I was recently looking for a room for an 80 person meeting and everything was booked and that was for the end of May!

                  1. re: Zydeco_Mama

                    Hmmm- we just had our year-end dinner last night at Mt Everest's Kitchen and they accommodated 50 of us with no problem, and I only booked a month in advance. Surya would have taken us gladly as well. What you have to look for are places that don't do a lot of evening business.

                    We negotiated $30p/p and it was very much worth it, a great event if I do say so myself (as chair of the committee).

                    1. re: John Manzo

                      Yes, but 50 people May long weekend is not 200 people at Christmas.

                    2. re: Zydeco_Mama

                      Why not try the MacEwan Conference and events centre. I attanded a christmas party a few years back and the food was great.

                  2. Well for some parties I would suggest www.commonwealthhall.ca or you might check the Toad N Turtle Pub, or http://www.executivehotels.net/calgar... (the Executive royal inn)

                    1. I booked Niko's Bistro in Kensington last year for 75, but 40 would fit very well, we were a git crowded. Niko is very accommodating on the menu and will work with you on any dietary/religious concerns. He's not likely to shut the place down for you on a Friday or Saturday night but so far he's been open to week nights... but as was mentioned below the $$$ per person you have to spend will factor heavily.

                      Niko's is outstanding as far as I'm concerned and I don't think you can go wrong there.

                      1. You could try Rush. Since they're so new they're probably not booked, but there's also no way to tell if they'll handle a staff party well. The food is excellent and they have a good wine list.

                        1 Reply
                        1. re: AriaDream

                          We had a great one Murreitas last year. Don't know the cost, but the oysters and lamb chops were to die for.