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Looking for Medieval Private Dining in Boston

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I'm a Canadian and my fiance is an American from Nevada. We're getting married this June in Boston, as a "neutral nod" to our binational relationship (neither of us have any particular affiliation to Boston). We're truly unique people, so we're getting married with a medieval theme. We'll be wearing full period garb (costume) at the ceremony and will be "knighted" in marriage by a justice of the peace at Boston Common. The reception dinner will be a quiet affair with only a few friends attending, no more than 10 in total (since we're flying them to Boston from Canada).

We're looking for a fine restaurant in the greater Boston area where we could reserve a private room for the evening for about 10 people. Other than good food (and the food style doesn't really matter), we'd like a place that has a rustic or medieval theme to it, something old and stylish and antiquated where a bunch of knights sitting around a table wouldn't look too out of place. We'd also need a place that would allow us to eat there in medieval garb, so no place with a dress code (unless they'd make an exception)!

We've read about Medieval Manor, but it sounds like more of a dinner theater and we're looking for something private. Any recommendations?

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  1. BU castle?
    The Hampshire house on the common?

    3 Replies
    1. re: alwayscooking

      PS let us know when it is . . .

      1. re: alwayscooking

        We're targeting a Thursday evening in June, tbd.

      2. re: alwayscooking

        just a note:
        got married in the hampshire house in 95 and had a great time. i played bass in the lounge band we had for music, we had young children at the time, it was the middle of winter (january) and a justice of the peace service, the whole thing went off without a hitch. staff was great, food was quite good, parked our cars, and compared to what people pay for weddings, a bargain.

      3. Maybe Hammond Castle on the north shore would do it? You might need your own caterer. Alternately, Higgins Armory Museum in Worcester might do a facility rental. John Harvard's also has a massive wood round table in one corner, IIRC, and has an olden sorta look along with cheeky stained glass windows. The food, however, is far from fine dining.

        6 Replies
        1. re: newhound

          John Harvard's big round table has the right look but it's definitely not private dining and you'd have gawkers all night.

          The Castle at BU looks perfect from the outside but inside is pretty standard nice function room decor.

          I know what you're going for but can't find much to recommend for you. If you'd expand to an outdoor option, maybe a clambake (or other catered event) on Spectacle Island. Personally, having planned events on another (privately owned) Boston Harbor Island, I wouldn't want to have an outdoor wedding involving a boat ride (lots of issues with scheduling, weather) but it might work for this particular group.

          1. re: Chris VR

            http://islandalliance.org/events_tour... I didn't realize they did George's Island private events. Fort Warren would be an AWESOME setting for your wedding.

            I'm surprised to see the glass of champagne in the picture, though. My understanding when I was working in that area is that no alcohol was allowed on the publicly owned islands because they were part of the State Park system. That ay have changed, but I'd check first if that's important to your group.

            1. re: Chris VR

              It looks like that has indeed changed: not only is there a prominently featured shot of a glass of champagne on the "Private Events" page that you linked to, but there are glasses of wine on the tables in the photos of the alliance's gala on George's Island, and the Improper Bostonian review of the clambake event (from 2009) mentions buckets of beers.

              However, you may need to apply for a special license to serve alcohol at your event, so you should indeed ask about that.

          2. re: newhound

            Hammond Castle is PERFECT!

            1. re: StriperGuy

              Both Higgins Armory or Hammond Castle would be the right setting, but not for 10 people - those are facility rental options, not restaurant options.

            2. re: newhound

              I attended a wedding in Hammond Castle. The couple getting married were serious SCAers and the setting is a fantasy castle filled with real medieval antiques. You couldn't find a better venue.

              http://www.hammondcastle.org/common/i...

            3. I don't know if the Castle in Leicester has a private room , or whether it's very good. It has a reputation for being dated. It's a good hour from Boston, but the setting could be good.
              http://www.castlerestaurant.com/

              1 Reply
              1. re: trufflehound

                They do indeed have at least one private room; it was being set up for a party when I was there a week or so ago. The setting is perfect for a medieval dining affair. The food is "dated", as in it's a throwback to elegant food of the 70s and 80s -- Steak Diane and Steak Au Poivre prepared tableside, calf's liver with bacon, that sort of thing. A little overpriced, but nice.

              2. SCA is VERY active in the Boston area. You might try posting on of of their sites.

                http://carolingia.net/site/

                1. Does it have to be Boston? Have you looked at Higgins Armory in Worcester?

                  1. Thanks for all the help everyone! It doesn't have to be anywhere glamorous or exotic. It can just be a nice restaurant with a private dining room that has the right sort of "stately" ambience.

                    2 Replies
                    1. re: Eromyn

                      Well, sure, Eromyn, it doesn't "have" to be... but set some 'hounds on a task and we get creative... I wonder if the Monday Bar at Upstairs on the Square in Harvard Square would be interesting to you. The proprietors are always up for fun, the food's very good, and fun groups on a mission always seem to gather there. It's a few Red Line T stops from Park Street/Boston Common-- anachronistic, sure, but why not. It's not a private room but they'd accomodate somehow, I think.

                      1. re: newhound

                        I think Monday Bar will give you a private room - friends had a rehearsal dinner there.

                    2. Smith and Wollensky's 'castle' location would certainly have the right ambiance, and I am sure could give you a private space.

                      4 Replies
                      1. re: Angel Food

                        I was about to suggest this -- it's a faux medieval castle (former armoury I believe), with early republic era paraphelania -- which would make exactly the sort of anachronistic atmosphere the OP is looking for, and it's slap bang in the middle of Boston, and probably (haven't checked) has private rooms to boot.

                        tb

                        1. re: trueblu

                          Great idea! They've "upgraded" their site and left out most of the photos of the rooms, but http://www.google.com/images?hl=en&am... should give you a idea of what they look like.

                          Also here http://www.facebook.com/smithandwolle...

                          1. re: Chris VR

                            I second Smith & Wollensky. It's also just a few blocks away from Boston Common.

                            -----
                            Smith & Wollensky
                            101 Arlington St, Boston, MA 02116

                        2. re: Angel Food

                          First place I thought of as well. For a smallish party, that should work out. You can grab one of the pseudo rooms they have, and the interior is pretty cool (each room has a theme so one would probably work for you).

                          The Hammond Castle would be cool too, but I think it probably would need a larger party than 10 to make it worth it..it's probably fairly expensive :-P

                        3. The size is probably wrong but Veronique in Longwood Towers in Brookline is manorial. They have two rooms, a ballroom and more of a dining room, both in Tudor style.

                          1. My first reaction is time machine to my mother's cooking which was pretty "medieval". The Medieval Manor would set you up I'm sure, those starving artist wenches and kaniggits could use the scratch I'm sure. http://medievalmanor.com/main.html
                            The Salem Cross Inn is a hike and more Colonial than Medieval but their fireplace dinners are a throw way back. http://www.salemcrossinn.com/
                            If you did your own thing, Hammond Castle is an awesome setting.http://www.hammondcastle.org/ They do special requests. Good luck with thus, Huzzah, etc...

                            1 Reply
                            1. re: EATTV

                              The 17th century house that serves as headquarters for the Cambridge Historical Society rents out space for functions--fireplace, antique accoutrements, etc. It's a nice size for your group, though could do a larger group as well.

                              You'd have to hire a caterer--maybe someone on the list could do medieval food for you, or knows someone who could.

                            2. As I understand your request, I agree with the Smith and Wollensky idea. I passed by on Monday night and recall the setting would suit your attire. The food is much better than Medieval Manor and given your group is only 10 or so, I'm sure you could book a single large table or perhaps a function room. Definitely call ahead and speak with them.

                              1. Thanks for all the suggestions!

                                Hammond Castle would be a brilliant idea by the looks of it, but I contacted them and their prices are almost frightening given our budget! Would be most memorable, no doubt though. Smith and Wollensky sounds really nice too and the location looks great. I also contacted the Castle Restaurant in Leicester, and they are really excited about this and would like to make this happen. It sounds like they would go out of their way for us. I realize that they are further away from Boston, but they are really enthusiastic.

                                So if we had to choose - Smith and Wollensky or Castle Restaurant, which would you recommend for a medieval wedding? Is the food quality about equal at each? Ambience?

                                3 Replies
                                1. re: Eromyn

                                  I have not been to the Castle but the fact that they are enthusiastic says to me that they are going to give you a great and memorable experience!! S&W has the decor and location, but I don't know if they will give you the same customer service/experience. Good luck -it sounds like so much fun!

                                  1. re: Eromyn

                                    Smith & Wollensky will definitely be a step up in food quality and "classiness" from the Castle; their famous steaks are enormous and their shellfish "bouquets" are really excellent. But it's also a large step up in terms of price; their steaks are in the $40-$50 range. The Castle has more of a lived-in slightly-kitchy feel to it but will be much more personalized; the staff there are great.

                                    1. re: Eromyn

                                      The last time I was at the castle the food was pretty sad. Frozen appetizers. Kitsch it definitely their strong point. Great hot dogs round the corner at Hot Dog Annie's however. If you are willing to schlep all the way to Leicester than maybe the Salem Cross Inn would be better?

                                      If London weren't too far the very thing would be Fat Duck's kitchen magician Heston Bleumenthal's medieval brasserie at the Mandarin Oriental Hyde Park. http://www.thisislondon.co.uk/standar...

                                      -----
                                      Hot Dog Annies
                                      244 Paxton St, Leicester, MA 01524

                                    2. Honestly, I think you should move your venue to the Seattle area and get married at the Bors Hede restaurant in Carnation, WA. They do a fabulously authentic medieval banquet that is delicious. The restaurant is in an entire replica of a medieval village called Camlann--no tacky Renn Faire stuff here--you really feel you're back in time. Every time we visit my family in Seattle, we try to eat at Bors Hede and even rent costumes from them so the evening feels more authentic. You could definitely host your event in their Undercroft, and you'd really feel that you were in a castle.

                                      http://www.camlann.org/