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rehearsal dinner venue near Cleveland Park

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I am getting married in Cleveland Park next month and we are trying to find a place for the rehearsal dinner. The dinner will be on a Friday night. We are looking for a place that can accommodate approx 25 people and would like to keep costs at $600ish (plus tax and tip). We're trying to keep it pretty casual and inexpensive.

Any ideas on a place that can hold that many people without being crazy expensive and where we might be able to hear each other talk (given that it will be Friday night)? Close to Cleveland Park would be great, Tenleytown or Friendship Heights, etc. would be fine too. Thank you!

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  1. I wonder what Lias would charge..

    it's a nice space, and the food has always been great when I've been there...

    7 Replies
    1. re: Jeserf

      What about DINO or ARDEO ?

      1. re: chicken kabob

        Definitely don't think you could get out of those places for $600. What about Soristo or that new tapas place?

        1. re: chicken kabob

          Both are good recommendations but probably not at your price range.

          How about Spices? Not sure if they have a private room, but you can always call to check.

          For something much more low-key, I know you can rent out California Tortilla for events. Mmmmm how I love Cal Tort! :)

          1. re: Elyssa

            Elyssa, are you serious about Cal Tort for a rehearsal dinner? That is insulting to the host and guests who are coming far and near. I don't think Spices would be a good place for a rehearsal dinner. There are many better restaurants that would fit the bill in the area than these two.

            What about that French restaurant, Levoudou (spelling?)?

            1. re: Jacey

              I don't think your suggestion was much better. At $24 per person Lavandou, would mean people could have an entree, no starter, dessert or drink... What are the other better restaurants you had in mind, that wouldn't have a screaming high minimum for a private room and could fit the budget? She said casual and inexpensive, heck I was thinking comet ping pong, but figured they would want more than $600, to rent it out. Some people like low key options like that, depends on the couple. I don't think it hurts to throw it out there.

              1. re: Jacey

                I am absolutely not joking. I personally love Cal Tort and it would probably be my bf's dream come true if we could hold a rehearsal dinner there. (Of course his first choice, less we think he's some non-foodie, would be Corduroy but that doesn't really seem to fit the bill here). I said it was "much more low-key" and wouldn't recommend the poster booking it without checking out first, like any restaurant, but I think its a fun, cheap alternative.

                Not everyone out there can afford nor wants a high end or fancy restaurant (French or otherwise) for their rehearsal dinner. My best friend is getting married in the fall and most likely getting take out from the oh-so low-end Chicken-Out. This may insult you and your guest but its what she can afford and wants and I think its going to be excellent.

                We have different tastes, that's clear and I'm ok with that.

              2. re: Elyssa

                And btw I meant Dino and Ardeo are not in your price-range. I don't know about Soristo or Sabores (I think thats the tapas place) since I've never been. Tapas is always a good idea though since you can do platters etc. Can add up though but adds variety which is fun and makes people mingle.

          2. I'll just throw this out in case it's helpful, if not truly chow-worthy -- I went to a very nice, casual rehearsal dinner, in another city, not DC, at a Buca di Bepo. It's a chain and of course not the greatest italian food you can get, but the dishes are family style, big tables, fun decorations, etc, and food that tends to please lots of people, and they have different rooms, so you could presumably take over one. I'm guessing it would fit your budget, but I don't know. Don't know if north Dupont is really where you'd like to be either -- like I said, just throwing it out there. (And I should say, I've never been to the DC Buca, just ones in other places.)

            1. I think $600 for that many is going to be hard anywhere, but I wonder if Nam Viet couldn't get close. Their site says they host private parties at their locations. I've only been to the CP location twice, and both were years ago.

              1. A tiny bit further then you wanted to go, but what about Pizza Paradisio? They have private rooms, and I don't know that their minimum is as high as most other places. A Friday night is hard because a lot of places have higher minimums that night because you have to make up for the business they could be doing in that space, so I imagine a place like Dino would probably have a higher minimum. What about Indique Heights or maybe Lebanese Taverna? I don't know if they have private rooms, or what minimums would be there, Ardeo/Bardeo suggestion above might be worth looking into.

                I know this isn't the best food option but what about Maggiano's in friendship heights? They seem to do a lot of private events, so it must not be too expensive?

                $24 per person considering that people will want a drink is just pretty low...

                If you could up your budget I know Seacatch in gtown has really low minimums, free valet, and most of their info is online... I know it isn't where you wanted, but you might consider it, I think even their minimums are online, if not they gave it to me within one email which was pretty good.

                1. I would try CP's- their roof deck is beautiful and is a casual fun atmosphere

                  1. You never know what some of the nicer places might be willing to do in the slow summer season...i'd just devote a couple hours some evening and call around to all of them...Dino, Ardeo/Bardeo, Yanni, Indique, Sabores, Spices, etc etc and just be up front and tell them what you are looking for and your budget. You may want to consider providing dinner and having a cash bar, or perhaps having a lighter meal and one beer and wine choice or something like that. One suggestion outside of CP that might work also is Anna Maria's in dupont...really good 'mom&pop' italian food that you could easily do for that budget with a couple of choices and one beer or glass of house wine per person. The entrees come with salad or soup and bread which helps alot, and are mostly around $12-18. It's kind of nice inside in an old fashioned way too. I've seen parties in there many times.

                    good luck & let us know what you decide!

                    2 Replies
                    1. re: DCDOLL

                      If you are serious about keeping it causal you should do it at Comet Ping Pong; it would be in your budget and it would encourage everyone to talk and move around a bit. Plus you could challenge your future in laws to a game of ping pong. I think it would be great.

                      1. re: arugulafilesdc

                        Thank you so much for all the recommendations! I am contacting the places that were suggested.