Entertaining 30 clients: Magical experience in a great town- where?
Greetings Chowhounders! Every year, I entertain my 30 best clients one night at an annual conference that, this year, is in Boston. I am completely unfamiliar with the dining scene there, but very excited, as I always hear great things. The goal of the evening every year is amazing food, a great atmosphere, and a chance to NOT talk business for a night. This is the 7th year running now, and we've had some simply amazing experiences at the following places:
Araka- St. Louis
Restaurant August- New Orleans
The Carlyle- Portland
Kevin Taylor- Denver
Restaurant 1789- Washington DC
J.G. Domestic- Philadephia
All great experiences, wonderful places to dine (I highly recommend each of them, if ever you find yourself in those towns).
I am looking to duplicate/improve upon those for this year- My goal is a wonderful night, with great food.
Budget (cut a bit this year- darn recession!): $100 a person
# of attendees: 25-30
Private Dining space/room: Highly desired.
Location: Prefer near the Convention Center, but willing to cab it (a reasonable distance).
If the venue has a great local story/flair to it, all the better. Many of the attendees are (actual) historians, so a bonus there.
Chowhound has helped in each of these events every year in the past- I am so hopeful for the same excellent guidance for this year in Boston! Thank you!!!
Unfortunately, most places in Boston with "history" attached to it are not co-extensive with good food (as in traditional "New England"-style places.)
However, if you want a good story, dine at Scampo at the Liberty Hotel, which used to be a jail (and the attendant bar pun of Clink). I think they have private rooms too and you may be able to get in under the $100/pp limit.
Or to really mess with people, you could go to Medieval Manor and have a contest of how many historical inaccuracies you can spot. (This is very much tongue-in-cheek)
Having hosted events there in the past, food alone averaged around $95/pp (for a 3 course meal with 3 entree selections, preceded by some of their fantastic pizzas as appetizers during the cocktail reception). You could do it a bit more inexpensively, I think they have a set menu as low as $75/pp, but that only provides on entree choice, so that's not really a reasonable option in my mind. If you are doing an open bar (average 2 drinks per person) and wine with dinner, figure an all in cost of $150-175/pp (depending on the wine), inclusive of all taxes and service charges. There is no better private dining room in Boston that I have been to (food, service, atmosphere). Give them a call, the event staff is a pleasure to work with and may be able to be creative with your budget. The room is perfectly sized for 30 people. Any more and it would start to get cramped.
The Boston Public Library has an event/dining venue which would be right up there for history, an attractive venue and great food. Events are catered by "A Catered Affair", which is very well known for their food. I think they would be willing to work within your budget. It is in close proximity to the Convention Center.
Also try the MFA and the Gardner Museum for hosting. The MFA has a great restaurant called "Bravo" and beautiful outdoor garden.
Already mentioned is Scampo at the Liberty Hotel - this would be a very exciting venue for an event and they have attractive outdoor space - perfect for the time you will be here.
I'll also suggest the Barbara Lynch Gruppo family of restaurants. They are pricey, but perhaps you can work with them to host something fun at "Drink" or "B&G Oyster". Also call them to see about the Chef's Table at Menton or in the South End. It may be above the $100 budget, but I believe it is worth pursuing. I am sure to get pushback from loyal CH'er's, but I am just throwing out any options that may work for you.