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I can't believe it is this hard to find somewhere...

Hi all,

I want to hold a surprise birthday party for about 40-50 people in the 30-40 age bracket - anywhere in the Toronto area is fine. My criteria:

1) Private space
2) Food as either buffet/station style or a sit down – doesn’t matter as long as it is good.
3) Open (and therefore private) bar
4) Dancing – a dance floor with DJ – again private or at least semi private – in other words, not a club.

I don’t want to spend an absolute fortune but am willing to put some money in so let’s say a maximum of around $50 a head all in…does such a place exist?

Thank you all!!!

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  1. If you want food and an open bar for fifty bucks a head, you won't be finding it in Toronto. Most places would charge you the fifty bucks just for the venue.

    2 Replies
    1. re: Danybear

      I would agree. You may have to give up the open bar in favour of food. Hopefully, some other hounds may know of a venue where food and drink can be covered for $50/person. I don't think even banquet halls can be had for this price. Perhaps consider a patio serving drinks and some apps but again, I think your budget may be too low.

      1. re: tuttebene

        It will be November so patio will probably be out.

        There are restaurants that don't charge for venue space but then there isn't dancing. Someone mentioned Lexy Lounge that has a downstairs area....any one heard anything about that or something similar?


    2. I have not been to this place in a long time so I don't know the prices, etc. They have a lounge with a dance floor downstairs.


      2 Replies
      1. re: blue bike

        I had my wedding there a few years ago. They did EVERYTHING wrong. From hiring half as many servers needed for our crowd, to giving us a buffet when we clearly stated IN WRITING, and in serveral conversations that the party was to be food stations and passed hors d`oeurves - NOT A BUFFET. They also messed up the food. They gave us wrong (and gross) toppings on our pizza, which again, were detailed in writing. We never got a tasting, despite many promises we would. I could go on, but I won`t . It`s just too depressing.

        1. re: Delish

          I can believe that you're having a problem finding a private space with a DJ, dinner dance floor and an open bar for 50 dollars a person. That's a pretty tall order. Which night of the week are you looking to have this party?

      2. I think your best bet is to rent a cheap space (a tall order in itself) and then hire your own caterer and DJ. My friend is planning something similar and she is looking at the Steelworker's Hall on Cecil St (Spadina and College) and Legion-type spaces. Now the Steelworker's space is more functional than beautiful, but friends have had lovely weddings there - you need to be creative with decor and maybe rent tablecloths etc from a party rental place. They can supply a bartender, not sure if you need to get an event license. I believe the basic hall rental fee is $500. The legion-type place I am thinking of is not actually a Legion but something similar. I am foggy on the location, somewhere west end south of Queen, but a friend had a fun 30th birthday party there. The decor was 70s rec room and the bar was cheap. If you are at all interested I can find out more details. Both spaces definitely accomodate dancing, not sure how much sound equipment your DJ would need to provide.

        1. I'm not exactly sure on the budget with open bar but I had my shower at Rossini's on Avenue and the 401 more or less in August of last year. They have a private room upstairs (which they had just renovated), with a separate bar, and a small dance floor. Since the ownership was switched a few years ago, Rossini's is pretty good food wise, and they did an absolutely phenomenal job. The food was great (hors d'eourvres, antipasto, pasta primavera, a choice of 2 entrees, and dessert, but I didn't pay for the shower so I don't know prices), the service was good also.

          The only other place that comes to mind is Sorrento Ristorante on Yonge. They just opened recently but the food is good and they have a private space upstairs with its own bar (but am unsure of dance floor)

          1 Reply
          1. re: icey

            Thanks - Rossini's looks good. I'm going to look into it.

          2. The Rosewater supper club may be work for the everything you want, but $50 would only cover the food and space, minus the grat.

            1. I had my 30th birthday upstairs at the Victory Cafe -- it was private with our own bar and you could dance if you wanted -- this was 7 years ago so I don't know if they still would let you use the space like that. The price point may also be an issue.

              1. The Stealth Lounge at the Pilot Tavern might fit the bill. I have heard that they will allow catering and might permit you to set up your own bar (the only way you'll make that price point).

                1. It seems strange that $2500 seems too cheap for a party! I think if it is more of a buffet style menu it will work better financially which is what I was thinking more of with the price.

                  I was thinking that a lot of restaurants do a fixed menu for $35 and then $15 a head for alcohol (considering some people don't drink and some are driving) is enough. Most restaurants don't charge for a party room and if there is already dancing it is included (or I pay the $600 for a DJ if there is space).

                  Getting to $100 a head is more like the price for a wedding!

                  Thank you all for your suggestions - I really appreicate it.

                  6 Replies
                  1. re: chickadee999

                    There's no way that you're going to find $15/head for an open bar. What you might want to do is have a ticket system for the bar for alcoholic drinks and open bar for non-alcoholic drinks. That way you can have a fixed price in advance and people who want to drink more can pay or scrounge tickets off of those who aren't drinking alcohol.

                    1. re: chickadee999

                      This place is quite cool, and pretty cheap: http://424events.com/. You may be able to get pretty close to your goal, although I would expect you'd still go over somewhat...

                      1. re: chickadee999

                        But what you describe is in fact a lot like a wedding. 100 per gets you a pretty basic wedding reception in TO, no DJ, no extras. Buffet is not necessarily a cheaper option either. I think you could do a nice evening party, maybe in a bar's upstairs room, serving good snacks rather than a full meal. Consider Ipod music. Think outside the box a bit. "Open bar" can also just mean that you pick up the tab for everyone, which might be a better deal for you than a restaurant's fee if you really think people will drink $15/head. Good luck!

                        1. re: chickadee999

                          You forgot the tax and gratuity on $35 and $15.

                          1. re: chickadee999

                            I plan events for a living and it is hard to do a reception without drinks or a DJ for $50 a head in this city. Very very few wedding come in at $100, usually much closer to $150 here.

                            I second the 424. Nice venue great small rooms. You bring in everything (linens, dishes, glasses etc) but the price point is one of the most reasonable in the city.

                            1. re: chickadee999

                              It's good you asked here first because if you were to propose an offer like that to venue owners they'll simply laugh in your face. There is no way you can expect anyone to cover open bar for $15 per head.

                              $15 is just enough to cover 2 pints at any regular bar in Toronto.

                              Your best option are legion halls, community centres and such. Don't bother looking at restaurants, banquet halls etc at that price range. Consider making your own food also, get some pot luck action happening perhaps.

                              My friends and I did one at a legion hall where the cash bar was ridiculously cheap. Like $3 a beer.

                            2. I've been to numerous Bar/Bat Mitzvah's at the Pickle Barrel on Leslie St. They have a party room downstairs. The times I've been there, it was buffet and open bar for beer and wine only.

                              1. If you don't mind Parkdale, give this place a try.


                                It's on Queen just west of Dufferin, in the same stretch as Wrongbar, Cadillac Lounge.

                                They do catering and events and I know them to be pretty flexible in providing an affordable package.

                                Even if they aren't what you are looking for, I think this type of smaller neighbourhood bar/restaurant is likely to be your solution.

                                Good luck!

                                1 Reply
                                1. re: Pantz

                                  The Rino on Queen just West of Dufferin (Across from Cadillac Lounge) has a private second floor, and it is suitable for dancing..
                                  They will set up a Bar, but your party may want drink vouchers for downstairs
                                  You could easily do it within your budget.
                                  I have been to several Christmas parties there, and the food is surprisingly good.
                                  I am very critical.
                                  The Buffet menu is flexible
                                  Beautiful Roast Prime Rib, Pasta, Turkey or Chicken,.Vegetarian. choices.
                                  Fresh and not overcooked veggies, everything was really, good with the exception of desserts.
                                  The desserts tasted like something straight out of a Costco Bakery

                                2. Not sure if you've already had the bday party but Panorama at the Manulife Centre is another option as they do a lot of private functions. $50/head is likely low though, but you can call to check.