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40th bday party rec - private dining room

I am looking for a private dining room that can accomodate 20-25 people for an upcoming 40th birthday party. We're not interested in the fine dining standards - Daniel, Le Bern, Per Se, Jean-Georges etc. Went to a bday party in the Craft private dining room recently, and while the food was fantastic, we are looking for a more lively, fun atmosphere. Thoughts so far: 5 Ninth, Savoy (but, is it lively enough?), Tocqueville (again - how is atmosphere here?), BLT Fish, Anthos, Compass, Highline, Cru, Spice Market (is it too played out though?), BLT Steak. I'm helping my brother in law plan this for his wife - his direction is "incredible food a must, fun and non-stuffy atmosphere very very important." Is Stanton Social appropriate for a 40-ish crowd? Will the food be "incredible?" Any input/suggestions will be much appreciated! Thanks

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  1. If you are looking for a private dining room, I don't understand why it matters what the atmosphere is like in the public dining room since you will make your own vibe. For example, the private dining room at Tocqueville is on the second floor and, thus, far removed from the main dining room. But in answer to your question, Tocqueville is a low-key place though not stuffy.

    Compass is not particularly lively. We had always liked the food, but the last time we were there, the meal was very disappointing. Even when the food was very good, I'd never describe it as incredible.

    Gramercy Tavern might be a good option. While the formal dining room is more on the quiet side -- though not at all stuffy -- the Tavern Room is definitely very lively. The only possible catch is that the private dining room seats 22, so your brother-in-law would have to keep the guest list to that number.

    http://www.gramercytavern.com

    2 Replies
    1. re: RGR

      Thanks RGR. I'm not sure why ambiance is so important to the party planner since he's interested in a private dining room. He did mention that he'd like to have pre-dinner drinks at the bar wherever we go - to sort of set the party/festive mood, I guess. I'll let him know about Tavern Room - thanks for the suggestion! Hopefully his guest list will permit the size.

      1. re: skgchow

        Another possibility might be Keens. They have several private rooms, and the Lily Langtry would be perfect for the number of people your friend intends to invite. (Photo on the website) Keens' bar room is a great place for his guests to congregate beforehand.

        http://www.keens.com

    2. Not sure how many it holds, but we were at BLT Fish on Sat. and saw a private party on the 2nd floor wine room and they were having a GREAT time. Food is great and atmosphere is fun.

      4 Replies
      1. re: taboo

        Thanks for all the input everyone. We are going with BLT Fish for the party...

        1. re: skgchow

          Can't wait to hear how it goes..... I might have a party there as well.

          1. re: taboo

            I would definitely recommend BLT Fish for your party. Although it didn't meet the "people watching" criteria that my brother was looking for, the party was a smashing success. I think part of the allure of good people watching/bar scene was so that people had a chance to mingle and get in the party spirit before dinner. However, BLT Fish has a fabulous bar in the private dining room - so that spirit was cultivated among ourselves. And the event planner helped us plan the seating and room layout - everything looked great. The passed hors d'oeurves were fantastic - better than dinner in my opinion. The service was spotty, but overall the night was a success. Birthday girl was surprised and that always helps. Can be pricey, I think there's a $3000 food/beverage minimum, but if you're inviting a large crowd as we did its pretty reasonable per head. Best of luck with your party planning...

      2. I had my own at Public. Food was great and a little bit different (ex. kangaroo was on the menu). Room was semi private but what was cool was that we had a cocktail hour in a separate room off the bar area. Our table was actually semi-private as you can look out at the general dining room. 3 walls of the room were part of the wine collection. Only problem is that it may not be big enough for your party. I would call and ask.

        Also had my wife's party at Hearth. Food was great and the dining room again is semi private. It is actually one long room so it may feel a little cramped. I think it could hold 25 or so.

        The only issue I see is that neither of these places had a really lively atmosphere but as someone else put it, it is all what the group makes of it since you are kind of secluded in a dining room anyways.

        1. Try the private dining room at THOR. It over looks the main dining room and the bar scene downstairs is hopping. I cannot comment on the food though.

          1. Stanton Social is a little young. I had a party for large group at STK in the Meatpacking District and it worked out great. Good food, good scene, GREAT people watching.

            http://stkhouse.com/

            1 Reply
            1. re: UWStoSONO

              We had our wedding dinner at BLT Fish in the private room on the second floor. We entertained 40 people with an hour of cocktails and passed apps followed by a sit down dinner. We tried many restaurants/spaces including Astra, 11 Madison, and Tribecca Grill looking for a room that could accommodate about 40. Many private room are 20-ish like Grammercy Tavern and of the larger rooms BLT had the best room and best food at the best price. Tribecca Grill's room is nice but the food was not of the quality we were looking for. 11 Madison has a nice room but the price was astronomical. Astra had great prices but the room was way too big for a 40 person event (perfect for 75-150). BLT Fish's room is nicely sized and has its own private bar at the back of the room. Its big enough that you dont feel cramped around the tables during cocktail hour. We set the room with two long tables, perfect for 40 with two couples at the ends of each table. BLT does not do tastings but you can come by and sample apps if there is another event booked and the chef will serve the events menu in the main dining room for you. During the cocktail hour we served Spicy Lamb Tenderloin, Mini Crab cake, Lemon Risotto Bites, Lobster Roll and mixed fried shack items (Fried Calamari, Fried Oysters, Fried Clams). All the apps were great but the crab cakes and risotto bites were especially well liked. For mains we served the fillet mignon and the hallibut with salsa verde. The service was well done and there were no hitches. The restaurant was very accommodating in creating the menu, including working with us on a cheese course (which they dont normally serve) and tasty options for our vegetarian and vegan guests. The food was well executed and appreciated by all of our guests, all of whom are frequent diners in Manhattan's best restaurants. I would book again at BLT Fish and recommend it without hesitation for any small dining event.

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              BLT Fish
              21 West 17th Street, New York, NY 10011