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Wedding cocktail party venue - help please!

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torontofoodiegirl Jan 16, 2008 01:35 PM

My fiance and I are planning a small, out-of town wedding with a larger cocktail party style reception to follow, here in Toronto at the end of August (approx 120-150 people). We're looking for a venue with great food, moderately reasonable prices (not cheap, but not through the roof), and (if possible, given the time of year), a patio. We're planning the event for a Sunday, so restaurants might be an option. Any ideas?

  1. TorontoJo Jan 16, 2008 01:55 PM

    George has a gorgeous patio that would be perfect -- it's more of a courtyard, as it's surrounded on four sides by the building. But it has multiple levels and trees with white lights -- it's beautiful in the evening.

    And btw, even if a restaurant is not regularly open on Sunday, many places will open for a pre-booked event.

    1. Lazar Jan 16, 2008 02:14 PM

      Doesn't have a patio, but the Academy of Spherical Arts does a good cocktail party. I have only been there a couple of times, but both times I did enjoy the appetizers...although, I must admit, I don't quite remember what I ate....so they must have been pretty good cocktails.....

      2 Replies
      1. re: Lazar
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        pearlD Jan 16, 2008 02:35 PM

        Worthy of consideration I would give "The Estates of Sunnbrook" a call....I went to a wedding at McLean House that had about 120 or so people and it was lovely...they (Sunnybrook) have various sized rooms to rent ...not sure if they all have access to the 'outdoors' but more than likely.
        You could also call "Spadina House"...don't know about the 'food' part but the grounds would be great in August

        1. re: pearlD
          p
          pearlD Jan 17, 2008 07:35 AM

          Just had another thought...You could try booking "The Conservatory" at CASA LOMA...it too, is a lovely setting..not sure if the 'food' is very good but since it's a 'cocktail party' that shouldn't present a huge problem.
          The trouble with "Sunnybrook", "Spadina House" and "Casa Loma" is that they are VERY popular choices with Brides etc and particularly in the 'wedding season...but worth a try in my opinion.

      2. JamieK Jan 16, 2008 03:27 PM

        Waterside Bistro does cocktail receptions and they have two wonderful patios right on the water. In case of inclement weather (lots of thunderstorms in August!), one is covered with a canopy. Plus there's plenty of free parking.
        http://www.watersidesports.com/bistro...

        My friend who is a professional event planner, held a personal event there and was quite pleased with the food and service.

        -----
        Waterside Bistro
        255 Queens Quay E, Toronto, ON M5A, CA

        1. t
          The Goddess Jan 16, 2008 06:24 PM

          Estates of Sunnybrook has a ton of room options, including one opening out to the patio. I've done a number of corp events there for 100-120 people; food is fantastic, full service venue, outstanding value; can't recommend 'em highly enough. Similar but a bit smaller, The Manor at Bob Rumball Centre for the Deaf; a little jewel that nobody knows about; like a small house, with an outdoor stone patio. Steamwhistle Brewery has a room that opens out to look out over the water; they have list of preferred caterers, you can make your own choices. Panorama top of the Manulife, owned by Eatertainment catering, you can walk outside patio. Ultra Supper Club, fabulous rooftop patio, great food. Brant House has walk out to patio. The Fifth Grill wonderful food, with a beautiful rooftop patio walkout (but their drinks very $$$), Toronto Botanical Garden (formerly Edward's Gardens) has beautiful room that opens out onto a patio, list of pref'd caterers; a stunning location visually. No patio, but a fantastic view of the lake is the St. Andrews Club & Conference Centre, full service venue, good food, 27th floor of the Sun Life building.

          6 Replies
          1. re: The Goddess
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            LemonLauren Jan 16, 2008 06:41 PM

            i'm betting sunnybrook estates is already booked for sundays in august (considering i just booked my wedding there for july 2009!). the room with the outdoor patio is called the courtyard ballroom and it's in the vaughan estate. they do half day bookings 11-4 and then 6-2am - or full, but it's steeper.

            1. re: LemonLauren
              t
              The Goddess Jan 16, 2008 06:54 PM

              Congrats, bride! You will have an utterly fabulous wedding there.

              1. re: The Goddess
                Splendid Wine Snob Jan 17, 2008 08:04 AM

                The Sunnybrook Estate is indeed one of the most beautiful and classy venues in Toronto. I've attended several functions there and the food was always suprisingly good for a large group.

                1. re: Splendid Wine Snob
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                  millygirl Jan 17, 2008 04:25 PM

                  Another place to check out would be Graydon Hall. The grounds are amazing, and the food is excellent. Arpi Magyar is the Ex. Chef, formerly involved in Pronto, Scaramouche and Auberge du Pommier. You can't go wrong. I attended a wedding there and it was very elegant.

                  1. re: millygirl
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                    qman Jan 18, 2008 12:27 PM

                    I will add another recommendation for Graydon Hall.

                    My sister was married there Sept 07 on a sunday with about 160 ppl and it was great! As mentioned, the grounds are amazing, the terrace is great for mingling. I also have to say that the quality of the food there is top notch. One of the very best meals I have ever had at a wedding, including places such as Arcadian court, King Eddy, and Estates of Sunnybrook.

                    Highly recommended.

              2. re: LemonLauren
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                torontofoodiegirl Jan 22, 2008 07:50 PM

                It is booked...

            2. c
              cocolita Jan 17, 2008 05:36 PM

              For that number with a patio I would definitely check out Jamie Kennedy at the Gardiner museum. Bright and airy room with excellent food and they are available for private events every evening except friday.

              3 Replies
              1. re: cocolita
                t
                The Goddess Jan 17, 2008 08:18 PM

                Downside of the Gardiner is access, as in parking. If you're doing a wedding, with aging relatives, consider the walk from where they have to park to where the reception is. Adding valet parking to an event is very cost consuming. Graydon (an excellent choice, BTW) and Sunnybrook both have free onsite parking a terrific bonus.

                1. re: The Goddess
                  t
                  torontofoodiegirl Jan 18, 2008 01:33 PM

                  Many thanks to everyone who's made suggestions thus far!! Some of the places suggested are ones we hadn't thought of before (eg. Panorama, which looks like it has fabulous patios; Waterside Bistro, which I hadn't even heard of), so we've now got some great new ideas to follow up on. I should clarify that (though we're not entirely sure what we want) we're inclined to think we want to have it somewhere a little bit less traditional than Sunnybrook, Graydon Hall, etc. due to the fact that it's just a cocktail party and not a full-blown wedding.

                  Will report back once we've decided, but in the interim, we're always happy to hear more suggestions or comments from anyone who's had an event at one of these places....

                  1. re: torontofoodiegirl
                    z
                    Zengarden Jan 18, 2008 03:07 PM

                    A few more suggestions.

                    There is David Duncan House on Don Mills, north of York Mills. It's very traditional but they can probably accommodate you. Lots of parking.

                    If you want to go casual, there is Whistler's at Broadview and Mortimer. It's not a dive but it isn't traditional like the lovely spots that have already been mentioned.

              2. t
                The Goddess Jan 18, 2008 06:16 PM

                TFG, just remember that any place worth its salt can configure a room to be more or less formal for you. If you're doing cocktail, they should set it up with cocktail chargers or stations for you, rather than a room with a bunch of round tables. That will change the ambience of the room. So don't discount Sunnybrook or Grayden; both places have rooms that, when configured properly for an event like this, will be more relaxed.

                Also forgot to suggest the old standby Stop 33 at the top of Sutton Place hotel; a little partial to it m'self, since it was the scene of my OWN wedding (mind you, that was a thousand years ago, but the view from there is still fantastic).

                I've also suggest the Rosewater Supper Club; the food is very good, and the atmosphere is quite lovely for a reception of this nature. Good buddy took that reco for her own wedding recently, it was just perfect, about the same number of people.

                1. t
                  torontofoodiegirl Jan 22, 2008 01:31 PM

                  Has anyone hosted or been to an event at the Berkeley Church? Any comments on their food?

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