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(small) office Christmas party venue ideas - cocktails/appies format

twinkienic Oct 24, 2011 02:35 PM

I'm trying to help generate some ideas for a venue for a small office Christmas party (estimated ~35 people) on a Friday evening. Budget is limited, so restaurant buy-outs are a no-go. Minimum spends are also probably too much for the budget given the number of people expected, which makes it difficult since we're hoping to book on a Friday. Sounds like people prefer a venue where people can mingle and move around, hence the preference for a cocktails/appies format.

I've combed other threads (including GE's recent similar question) and am stuck on ideas now...

Places we've tried but have fallen through either because of cost or because they're already booked or because they won't do group bookings:


Alibi Room

Revel Room

Cactus Club

Irish Heather

Places that still need to be looked into:

Edible Canada




Little Nest


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  1. k
    kinnickinnik RE: twinkienic Oct 24, 2011 07:27 PM

    I've been to a couple of events at the Rogue Kitchen and Wetbar that I've quite enjoyed. The passed appetizers were well done and there was a good variety. Their Eastside Lounge is a good fit for 35 and has its own bar. Good beer selection too.

    1 Reply
    1. re: kinnickinnik
      twinkienic RE: kinnickinnik Oct 25, 2011 12:07 AM

      Oh, forgot to mention that I suggested Rogue to the organizers and I think it was one of the places that didn't work because they were booked or too expensive. I do enjoy Rogue though... great beer menu! I've never been in the Eastside Lounge room... it looks great! I'll have to keep it in mind for future events.

    2. LotusRapper RE: twinkienic Oct 25, 2011 04:14 AM

      Little Nest is for ......... the little people, isn't it ? ;-)

      Alibi Room has a nice cozy basement to book. Been to a small party there.

      Actually Steamworks in Gastown has a whole separate private room beside the main area. Can prolly accommodate 50 easily. Been to a wedding reception there.

      6 Replies
      1. re: LotusRapper
        twinkienic RE: LotusRapper Oct 25, 2011 07:49 AM

        Little Nest is for adults who cater for little people and bring them along ;)
        A couple years ago I was organizing a meeting and I think fmed had mentioned that it's possible to book out the space in the evenings and ask them to cater.

        I love Alibi Room but sadly they no longer take reservations for groups more than 10 and don't take any reservations for the downstairs room.

        I'll pass on the suggestions of PICA and Steamworks... thanks! How do you guys find the food there?

        1. re: twinkienic
          fmed RE: twinkienic Oct 25, 2011 03:52 PM

          We had a Christmas party last year at Guilt and Co. In Gastown. Food wasn't great but the room was interesting. It is supposedly haunted! (cue scary sounds).

          Also- how about Calabash?

          1. re: twinkienic
            LotusRapper RE: twinkienic Oct 25, 2011 06:57 PM

            Steamworks events rooms:


            Food ....... I think of them as gastropub food with good value. But then for group events I don't pay much attention to the food anyway (unless it sucks) ;-)

            1. re: LotusRapper
              grayelf RE: LotusRapper Oct 25, 2011 07:27 PM

              Steamworks does have really nice event rooms but I have to say the food is pretty awful.

              1. re: grayelf
                LotusRapper RE: grayelf Oct 25, 2011 07:49 PM

                SW works for me better than Earls/Cactus Club/Milestones/Joey :-)

                Twinkienic, an ex-colleague of mine, whose side job was serving at Crave (Main St) mentioned once they can accommodate group events given the right factors. Just brainstorming ..... maybe they could be an option.



            2. re: twinkienic
              kinnickinnik RE: twinkienic Oct 25, 2011 10:38 PM

              I don't remember much either way about the food at PICA - but do recall the earnest (student) service and nice location with a bit of a view. Pretty low key space and room to move around (there were ~40 at the thing I went to).

          2. k
            kinnickinnik RE: twinkienic Oct 25, 2011 06:22 AM

            Too bad about Rogue - I think they're pretty reasonable but I'm sure they book up quickly.

            How about the Pacific Institute of Culinary Arts? Nice location by Granville Island.

            1. b
              barcosbarcos RE: twinkienic Oct 25, 2011 07:59 PM

              I've rented out the back part of the Railway Club for an Xmas party before. The appies weren't anything to write home about but didn't disappoint. They've got a good beer and wine selection as well and it wasn't too expensive to rent out the spot for the evening.

              1. LotusRapper RE: twinkienic Oct 25, 2011 08:20 PM

                Since you inquired about Irish Heather, I wonder if other venues under the HHG (Heather Hospitality Group) umbrella hosts small groups ?

                1. k
                  kinnickinnik RE: twinkienic Oct 25, 2011 10:40 PM

                  Another thought: Waldorf Hotel. I've not been to anything there but they seem to have a number of spaces of various sizes.

                  1. t
                    twinkienic RE: twinkienic Oct 26, 2011 11:49 PM

                    Thanks for the suggestions, guys! I've sent emails off to Calabash, Railway Club and Irish Heather. Railway Club's room comes with our own private bartender, which is pretty cool!

                    The Waldorf looks cool but it turns out their spaces are for ~100 people so the minimum spends are way over our budget.

                    5 Replies
                    1. re: twinkienic
                      waylman RE: twinkienic Oct 27, 2011 12:13 PM

                      Maybe Salt Tasting Room?

                      1. re: waylman
                        grayelf RE: waylman Oct 28, 2011 06:05 PM

                        Or Au Petit Chavignol? They can accommodate 25-48 according to their latest press release, so size would be just right. And ya gotta love the wodges of free parking and proximity to downtown. I don't think either they nor Salt have hard liquor licences though so if you're set on cocktails, maybe not.

                        1. re: grayelf
                          twinkienic RE: grayelf Oct 29, 2011 12:48 AM

                          I DO love the wodges of free parking. I love APC in general and I think it'd be a lovely space... but I don't think the food would be enough of a "meal" for the office party (they want the food to feel more substantial, I think).

                          1. re: twinkienic
                            LotusRapper RE: twinkienic Oct 29, 2011 09:43 AM


                            After eating at APC and leaving, I feel like I'm ready for the rest of my meal ;-)

                            1. re: LotusRapper
                              grayelf RE: LotusRapper Oct 31, 2011 09:42 AM

                              We haven't been for dinner since April (?) when we left stuffed after a pork belly delectable and some French onion soup. I'd love to try their burger though it occurs to me that none of these dishes would work for your event, oops.

                    2. a
                      amelieducroix RE: twinkienic Oct 29, 2011 12:04 AM

                      how about the Refinery on Granville?

                      4 Replies
                      1. re: amelieducroix
                        twinkienic RE: amelieducroix Oct 29, 2011 12:50 AM

                        Yes! The Refinery is great... but they limit the length of your party and the minimum spend for all night is over our budget, sadly.

                        I must make a point to get to one of their cocktail kitchen dinners one day!

                        1. re: twinkienic
                          peter.v RE: twinkienic Oct 29, 2011 02:30 AM

                          Sadly, Cocktail Kitchen is no more! However, former GM Lauren Mote, now of Kale and Nori, is presenting a similar cocktail competition and dinner at Legacy Liquor called Bittered Sling Bistro.

                          1. re: peter.v
                            twinkienic RE: peter.v Oct 30, 2011 04:58 PM

                            Oh! I'll have to check that out instead! Thanks for the tip

                            1. re: peter.v
                              grayelf RE: peter.v Oct 31, 2011 09:43 AM

                              That sounds good! More info here: http://scoutmagazine.ca/2011/10/26/go...

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