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Laid back afternoon birthday party

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I found the perfect place for my husband's 40th birthday party -- Franklin's fountain. However, the owners can only rent out the space on weeknights and, since we'll be coming from DC and his family will be coming from NY, that won't work. So, I was hoping I could describe some of the things I liked about Franklin's, and you might be able to think of similar places:

-- My husband would be pretty uncomfortable with a fancy birthday dinner in his honor -- something casual is much more his style.
-- Someplace where there's something to do (in the case of Franklin's, order another scoop/check out the old-timey candy, etc.) is better than a more traditional sit-down place.
-- He has a big sweet tooth, but savory would be OK too.
-- He's a bit of a history geek
-- Afternoon (lunch/linner/dessert) is better than dinner, mainly for its more casual vibe

Any ideas? Or should I just beg, beg, beg Franklin's fountain to let us have the place on a weekend? The party will be in January, and I'd expect about 20-25 people.

Thanks!

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  1. A couple things first - have you ever been to Franklin Fountain? I ask because I don't see 25 people fitting comfortably in there. There's only about 5 tables indoors. Also, ice cream in the middle of January? Are you sure the guests would enjoy that?

    I think your best bet is to go elsewhere. I have two ideas:
    "More than Just Ice Cream." I mention this because it has a very casual dining room, but also has a connecting ice cream parlor. It doesn't have near the charm of Franklin Fountain, but the ice cream is very good and there's way more options for food as well as a larger seating area that would easily accomodate your party (you may not even need to rent the whole room). There's not anything else to do mind you, but while waiting for food, perhaps the guests could check out the ice cream flavors?

    The other idea I have is Max Brenner. It's a Chocolate house that serves a gaziliion types of chocolate desserts as well as savory items. It's a pretty big room, and in the dead of winter, might be a nice warming spot. They also have a small candy shop within the restaurant, so you can browse there while waiting for your treats. It's a small chain I think, so definitely nothing historical, but it seems it would be really fun with a group.

    1. You could also check in with a couple of locally owned places that have more than one location and might be able to accommodate your group. I'd call Capogiro or Naked Chocolate.

      1. Not sure about budget, but you could check out lucky strike, a bowling alley/bar, have been to a couple of b-days there--------cool,modern allies on the second and third floors with bar and bar food. There's also something similar in Northern Liberties that I've never been to but have heard a some people talk about and would think more reasonably priced.....North Bowl, maybe? I'm sure someone on this board can help me out with the name!!

        2 Replies
        1. re: bonappetite

          It is North Bowl. It has a more laid back vibe than Lucky Strikes, and it would make a great place for a casual birthday gathering. They have lane + food + drink packages for large groups.

          1. re: barryg

            We had a Friday night/rehearsal dinner at North Bowl recently. They were great to work with. They have set packages but were extremely accomodating about mixing it up to make the combination that we wanted. The food was very good. The wait staff was extremely attentive. We had peolpe/ 30s to 60s age group. Everyone enjoyed the drinks, food, fun (we actually bowled). And, we had ice cream sundaes for dessert. We would rec. to you. Go there and check it out.

        2. These are all such great recommendations! Thanks! I'll definitely check all of these out -- bowling is a great idea -- and if anyone has any more, feel free to keep 'em coming.

          Thanks!