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Portland, Maine - Rehearsal Dinner Spots?

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Does anyone have any recommendations for a party of about 50 people in downtown Portland?

We're thinking of hosting our rehearsal dinner at one of the great restaurants downtown. We've been to (and love) Fore St, 555, Bresca, Katahdin, Back Bay Grill, Street & Co, Hugo's, etc....but only moved here a few months ago so we're not sure which ones (if any) host small private parties of this nature.....any recommendations?

Thanks!!

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  1. Fore Street's back room can be reserved, but they cap out at 30 or so. For a crowd of 50, I have been successful getting Hugo's to close down the restaurant; we had the entire place for our event. It was wonderful!

    1. Joe's Boathouse, in SoPo, their function outbuilding has marina waterfront views, but it's no Hugo's. I'd like to see a list of places in town that would close for a private party!

      3 Replies
      1. re: joss2

        Private parties generate more money for a restaurant than a regular night of service. Thousands of dollars for a set menu and all the alcohol that will be consumed makes for a good night for the kitchen and wait staff. You may do more covers on a regular night but the average per person check is higher with a private party, if done correctly.

        1. re: mjp81

          My experience is that a private function, thought they tend to spend more on alcohol, does not generate more money for the restaurant. The restaurant could probably spin those tables 2-4 times in the course of a night. So yes, if it's a restaurant that doesn't book up every night, they are more than likely going to work with you- but the Fore Streets of the restaurant world will almost never make more on a private function than they would on a night of regular service...

          1. re: Bunnyfood

            Its not so much about what a restaurant will or won't make with a private function versus an open dining room - its about what their focus is. Most A-list restaurants like Fore Street or an up-and-coming 555 aren't going to close their doors to prospective patrons for anything less than an extraordinary event. There may be exceptions, as alluded to in an earlier posting about Hugo's, but as a general rule the notion of a Street & Company-type restaurant sending dozens of patrons away because they find a placard in the window that says "Sorry, closed for a private function" would be horrifying to a manager.

      2. 50+ is a tough one at one of Portland's top restaurants. I like the Hugo's idea. You could approach the owners of 555 also. I'd suggest giving them a loooooong lead time and making your request for a relatively slow night (Sunday, Monday, Tuesday). Another possibility is contacting Black Tie Catering in Portland and discussing different, creative location options with them.