Spot for a 40th Birthday party?
Looking for a place to host a large-ish (50-100 people) group celebration. There is only a moderate budget but would like to NOT have a cash bar with good nibbles.
You're right -- that is a huge range. Let's start at 50.
The area can be close to downtown, on a weekend and a closed off space would be ideal. I've not hosted such an event before so I don't know the figures involved but I know I won't go to a cash bar -- not to offend anyone who does that...;)
From the parties I've been to I'd like to have food on hand that is fancy enough to be appetizers but substantial enough for people who show up who've not eaten and need a light meal.
I'm not sure if I've filled in the blanks...
Ok well to give you a sense of the cost for something like this, one of my co-worked just booked the private room (Prince Arthur Room) at the Bedford Academy in the Annex which holds about 50 to 75 ppl and the mins spend on a weeknight was $1200. For that you're looking at about two drinks per person and a small amount of pub grub finger good there is a platter menu the website you can have a look at. I can't tell you want it would be for a weekend as this was for a Wed night but I can assure you it will be more. I would guess, min $1500 spend. Now this is place is a pretty basic pub. If you want something a bit nicer, I would say you're looking at a min spend of about $2,000 for a Friday or Sat night.
36 Prince Arthur Ave, Toronto, ON M5R1A9, CA
L'Unita, Sopra, Crush Wine Bar, Biff's and the Drake (maybe it's possible to reserve half the dining room- I've been there for group dinners with around 40 people) might work for groups of 50. Beerbistro can do receptions for 45. Opentable lists the details for the various rooms/restaurants, if you search for your date, and click on "larger group".
I'd expect open bar would mean the price would creep up to at least $100/person at most downtown restaurants (I'd expect to pay $30-$40 per person for good nibbles, around
$40 per person for drinks, around $20 for tax & tip), even if the appetizers/meal were kept on the light side. I'd call up restaraurants/bars that you like, and ask them how much they'd charge for open bar, if you already planned to serve/buy appetizers/a light meal for your guests.
Since you don't want to do a cash bar, you could also consider providing a few/several/many drink tickets to each guest, rather than a completely open bar, if an open bar would make the party too expensive. I've done this at a birthday party in the past (at a club, not a restaurant, but I've been to events where drink tickets have been provided to guests as they arrive), and more tickets can be handed out as the night goes on.
Recently, I attended a group dinner for about 60 people at Great Cooks on 8, in the evening, after the Bay had closed. http://www.greatcooks.ca/gc-on-eight/
The food at the Bedford Academy has become Firkinesque lately.
455 King Street West, Toronto, ON M5V1K4, CA
265 Davenport Rd, Toronto, ON M5R1J9, CA
134 Avenue Rd, Toronto, ON M5R2H6, CA
4 Front St. E, Toronto, ON M5E 1B2, CA
1150 Queen Street West, Toronto, ON M6J 1J3, CA
My pick for cheap and cheerful with a pool table in the room would be Rails & Ales, on Danforth near Greenwood. ;-)
While it might be out of the OP's price range, if I wanted to host 50-100 people in a restaurant, I'd probably try to do a buyout. If it was my birthday, I'd probably do a buy-out at Khao San Road (I don't even know if KSR does buy-outs), with bottomless pop, beer and Thai iced tea.
neigbourguy, if you're ok with mezes, I know that Megas will rent out the back half of their place for large groups. Not exactly the kind of space/restaurant where you might want to host an open bar or a 40th birthday party, but it would be a moderately priced option. Whistler's also rents out their private space on the second floor, but it's a large space that's probably better suited for groups that are >100 people. I would think you could also do a buy-out with open bar at Lolita's Lust.
I'm curious to hear about other suggestions.
513 Danforth Ave, Toronto, ON M4K1P5, CA
Rails and Ales Billards Lounge
1106 Danforth Ave, Toronto, ON M4J1L5, CA
Khao San Road
326 Adelaide St W, Toronto, ON M5V 1P7, CA
I had a cocktail reception with hors d'oeuvres at Hart House Gallery Grill for my 40th birthday a couple of years ago. The food was great and the price point wasn't particularly onerous.
7 Hart House Cir, Toronto, ON M5S, CA
I used to love the upstairs room at Joy Bistro, (I hosted about 120 there several years ago and I don't remeber the price point) but haven't been there since the reno so I don't know if they changed it at all.
884 Queen St E, Toronto, ON M4M1J3, CA