Work Cocktail Party for 30 in Oakland or SF Financial District
I'm looking for a restaurant to have a work cocktail party for around 30 people (no sit down dinner, just drinks and apps). I'm assuming we would need a private room so everyone can mingle but a nice space off to the side would work as well.
My office is on Lake Merritt so one idea is Lake Chalet, though I think their service is awful. A few other ideas are Pican or Ozumo, but I'm hoping for something a little different (we go there all the time). (Luka's is great btw but I'm looking for a place that's a little nicer.)
If not some place close by in Oakland, then somewhere in the Financial District in SF since our out of town guests will be staying there anyway and it's close to BART. A few ideas are Americano, MarketBar, but again, looking for something a little different. Ideas? As for price range, I think something comparable to one of those places I've listed.
Just tossing out some ideas since you've covered a lot of the obvious choices.
Yoshi's is good for things like this, a bit more upscale, and they have a whole page about it on their website. Bites and drinks, they do well.
What about going more bar than food, and asking if you can bring food in. Someplace like the Easy over on Lakeshore, or The Trappist, or all of Van Kleef or Heinhold's. The benefit of going with a place that doesn't do food at all is you can pick your favorite place (like Pican or whatever) and have them make a few flats of munchies - separating your space decision from your food decision. I'm not sure any of those is better than Luka's, though.
The Scott's Seafood down on JLS might be the best of the Scott's. A little, you know, corporate, but the drinks and food are decent. They have a room in the back about the right size. I have a soft spot for that particular Scott's.
Fat Lady has a banquet room. Never been.
I'm kind of thinking that Soizic has an upstairs, but I don't think they do. They do have that largish bar area. If you promised only a few hours, and they could seat people in the main room, maybe they'd let you.
One of the Dim Sum places has an upstairs (was Tsing Tao, 2nd and Broadway, as I remember), which would be different. Legendary Palace is faded but has some atmosphere. The chinese don't know from cocktails, however.
My first thought was the upstairs space at Mua - I haven't been in a while, but I think it could be a good size for 30 people.
I'd also consider Levende East, Sidebar, and Grand Tavern - Grand Tavern would probably be the easiest to get a semi-private space.
Caffe Verbena in the APL building (11th and Broadway) serves good drinks and good appetizers. The atrium is a very attractive space for a party.