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Location for 30th Birthday Cocktail Party

Hi Everyone,

I am turning the big 3-0 in exactly a month and am looking to throw a cocktail party in mid-October for about 60 (give or take) of my nearest and dearest.

Ideally I would like to hold it at a bar/lounge ( or restaurant that includes a bar/lounge) and be able to maybe section off an area or make some type of arrangement with management to be given a particular area to hang out in and have waitresses designated to my area. I will not be serving food and it will not be an open bar. Most likely I will buy a few bottles of champagne and then everyone else can order what they want on their own.

I would loooove to be able to find a place that will not charge me extra for a room or space. But if they do it shouldn't be more than $200.

In terms of vibe I'm looking for a place that doesn't have super crazy loud music, isn't pretentious etc. This is a 30th birthday party after all...not a 20th.Some place where people can hear each other talk and just have a fun time.

I'm looking at Watershed because I love there outdoor area (which I realize is a bit of a risk in mid-October). But I'm not 100% sure it will work.

Any other ideas?

Thanks a million!

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  1. With 60 people for cocktails, I would contact the Palomar. While there's no outdoor space, specifically, they DO have a pool area, and I don't know if they can do anything with that.

    However, their cocktail hour food is really good and they have a fantastic variety of it. They also let me customize the bar for our wedding, so if you wanted, say, a "signature 30th birthday cocktail" or something, they can do that. They are very good at customizing things.

    And if you need a birthday cake recommendation....let me know!

    Edit to add: CoCo Sala is also another option to consider - I think they have outside space, but I'm not 100% certain - they have gallery space and I vaguely remember them saying something about a roof (keep in mind it's from when I was gathering info for wedding planning and some stuff did run together). they were also very friendly.

    1 Reply
    1. re: Jeserf

      I should mention that it doesn't need to be an outdoor space....especially since it will be mid-October.

      I'm going to take a look at the Urbana bar tonight and see what they say.

      Also it probably will be 40-60 (which I imagine is a range but usually not everyone shows up that you invite and they might not all be there at the same time).

      And yes let me know about your birthday cake rec---in case we go that route.

    2. I think you're going to have a difficult time booking anywhere when you'll have 60 separate checks due to no open bar and no purchase of food for the group. That's not very appealing to any lounge/restaurant, especially when they know people will be lingering as it's a "party".

      Maybe instead of a couple bottles of Champagne, you could buy appetizers for your group. You'd probably get a lot more venues willing to give up prime space on what is likely a Friday or Saturday night that way. Otherwise, many establishments probably won't do it, as there won't be any kind of contract/financial guarantee for giving up a spot for 60 people.

      3 Replies
      1. re: invinotheresverde

        Do you really think separate checks would be a problem? It's no different then if 60 random people went to a bar or lounge usually and had separate checks.

        But good point on the apps vs. champagne.

        1. re: Elyssa

          You'd mentioned possible waiter service. That's a lot of tabs. It's really hard for waitstaff to keep separate tabs on parties that large since it's a mingle-y event by nature. Just a hint from a restaurant perspective.

          Happy 30th. :)

      2. Has anyone been to One Lounge in Dupont Circle on a Saturday night? A friend of mine just had an engagement happy hour there and it was my first time being there (well since it was Estruca a few years back). I really like the space and the manager I talked to was great.

        They have a minimum per person which is $10 (basically one drink a person---not a big deal) or $12.50 in the more intimate upstairs space but no other costs involved and they are pretty flexible on the space you get.

        I'm just wondering if it gets crazy loud in there (and therefore I should go upstairs instead)? They said there is a dj on the weekend. Also what is the crowd usually like?

        While my bf is in town we will stop in this weekend but it's a holiday and probably not the best measure of a usual Saturday night.

        They warned me that I should probably book it in the next week or so so I'm hoping my Chowhounders can fill me in on the place.

        1. Ceiba did something like this for me inadvertently - I don't think they realized when I booked that people would have separate tabs. (It was for a work happy hour with about 50 people).

          Once they realized what was going on, they stepped up, added a server, and worked their tails off. I left a really big tip on top of tips left for drinks, because the servers were constantly running back and forth from the bar to our area. This was during an "off" time - 4-6 pm. I don't know if they'd do it again if they knew what was going on, and I wouldn't ask them to - I didn't realize how difficult it is logistically.

          Also, you can generally expect to meet a bar minimum for reserving the space. So, you need to run up a tab of, say, $500. If people are heading to the bar themselves and not dealing with the servers, you pay the balance.

          1 Reply
          1. re: pamelak52

            Thanks.

            I am looking at One Lounge where the minimum is around $10/person. So around $400-$600 minimum but really that's one drink a person since this won't be during a happy hour deal. I think we should reach that type of minimum. They don't make us pay anything up front which is good. My friends like to drink so I don't think it will be hard for almost everyone to spend at least $10.

            But I like Ceiba's lounge area so maybe I'll give them a call. Plus---mojitos!

          2. Has anyone been to the new Cities? I use to hang out at the old one in Adams Morgan AGES ago.

            Do you think this would be a good place to hold a birthday party? What is the vibe like? Thanks!