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Suggestions for DTLA spot for small private party drinks and appetizers?

  • j
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Looking for a place within easy walking distance of LA Athletic Club. Need to host a small casual cocktail party for a couple of hours. 20-30 people. A selection of finger foods. A budget of $1-1.5K. From 6-8 p.m. on a weekday. Not looking for anything extravagant, most people will be having just a couple of beers or a glass of wine. Just looking to add a social component for some conference attendees.

Is this realistic? Food quality is important but not top of the list. Not a lot of houndly types in the group. Thanks!

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  1. Hey Jase, two Saturdays ago, a good friend from Hawai'i hosted a reunion dinner for 20 of her best LA pals at Mas Malo on 7th btwn. Grand and Olive. Ours -- and other similar larger parties -- were seated on the second floor and we had a blast. Blast being the operative word, that second floor's spatial acoustics gradually made for a fairly noisy evening as the restaurant filled and the chatter carried upward. Outside of that, the food, drinks and company were great as was the attentive service.

    If the cacophony gets to be a bit much, a quieter, plushier and less casual option lies just upstairs in the same building. 7 Grand shares a common main doorway with Mas Malo but, has a separate, bouncer-staffed entry to the immediate right which leads up to two, plaid-carpeted flights of stairs and into the cozy, club-like whiskey bar. You won't find food here but, you can certainly have a conversation and perhaps a game of pool over an impressive selection of fine -- and pricey -- whiskeys and cocktails for grown-ups.

    Mas Malo
    515 W 7th St, Los Angeles, CA 90014

    1. Drago Centro has a private room (outfitted with wired and videoed kitchen).

      I've attended an event fitting your needs to a T at that space -- beers, wine, finger foods.

      Drago Centro
      525 S. Flower St., Suite 120, Los Angeles, CA 90071

      1. How about the Standard Hotel either on the patio downstairs or better yet on the roof pool bar.

        Standard Hotel
        550 S Flower St, Los Angeles, CA 90071

        1. Thanks guys! I'll make some phone calls to see what works. I'll report back when the event happens. Appreciate the help and suggestions.

          1. Riviera would be great too. Near Staples. Great bar and small plates of creative Mexican.

            1. I just had dinner at The Gorbals....and it was really fun. Small plates. Full bar. The wine selection is small...but very interesting. It's not a big place....but I think they don't get busy until late....so I'll bet they could make it work for you. I'm not sure where the Athletic club is...but this is 5th and Spring.
              The menu is really different. I'm looking forward to going back. And the chef is the winner of the second season of Top Chef....so that's an interesting bonus for your guests.

              1. Had the event at Mas Malo. We ended up with 50 people and a budget of $2500. It hit all the requirements. Easy walking distance from the Athletic Club, they were able to give us a private room and we came in under budget. They were easy to work with and responsive.

                We got the private room downstairs. Nice set up since it has it's own bar and plenty of tables and couches, perfect for mingling and noshing. I liked it better than the second floor option due to being able to control the sound and giving more privacy. Got one of their preset options for food. A good variety of finger foods and quantity to satisfy everyone. We had an open bar and the alcohol prices were pretty reasonable.

                The food here won't blow away any hard core mexican hounds or most locals who have explored our city's offerings. But for the type of group I had, it was perfect. It gave people a feel for Mexican other than your usual gloppy combos, but the flavors weren't so unfamiliar that it scared people off from trying it. Many of the attendees were fascinated by the chicken mole skewers having never experienced mole before. The chips with the multiple salsas were also a hit since it went beyond the usual pico de gallo. People could go home and talk about the new flavors they tried and they were exposed to something exotic. It was a different LA experience. So it's a good balance for that type of group, new but not off putting flavors.

                Overall, it was a hit and we received a lot of compliments on the venue, food, service and ambiance of the private room. Thanks for all the help and suggestions.

                2 Replies
                  1. re: perk

                    Jase might be the best report back person on Chowhound.

                    Check out some of the reports he does on the other boards when he goes on vacation. He posts some great questions to the locals and then after his visits he really goes into detail on his experiences. Some of the best reporting on CH.