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Need birthday venue for about 10-20 ppl (Santa Monica, Venice, WLA, Weho, Culver City, H'wood)

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Thanks to CH suggestions I had a great b-day last year at Salute wine bar (now closed) in Santa Monica. I've already been investigating b-day options for this year on my own but want to get some feedback here before finalizing things.

B-day celebration coming up this Sat Aug 4

Here are some of the things I'm looking for:

- Can expand/contract to accommodate anywhere from 10-20+ people (people RSVP at the very last second so I truly don't know how many to expect)
- Not a sit down dinner. Don't want a huge bill at the end, but want my guests to have the option of ordering on their own and getting separate tabs. And to arrive/leave when they wish.
- Decent food important (better than "bar food"), farm-to-table a plus but not necessary
- Not impossible to find parking
- Wine/beer at minimum, but full liquor license is a plus
- Guests can get inside without long lines/obnoxious door policy
- Not a super-loud/dance kind of place--prefer a more lounge-y atmosphere
- it would be nice if they would let me bring in a cake (I don't mind paying a cutting fee)

Some ideas I had so far:

Ugo Wine Bar, Culver City
PaliHouse, West Hollywood (earlier in the evening there is no door)
Waterloo & City, Culver City (note--private room was too $$ so it would have to be regular bar area)
Library at Redbury Hotel, Hollywood

I have been to PaliHouse and Waterloo & City and like both. My concern about Palihouse is the difficult parking and the price points being a bit on the high side.

Oh, and I -live- in Brentwood--cannot think of anywhere in the area that would work but if wouldn't be a bad thing if there were a venue close to home.

Thanks for whatever help you can offer!

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  1. Check out 320 South Wine Lounge on La Brea. Terrific small plates. They don't have a full liquor license. But they have a great wine selection, and those machines so you can have a "taste" of things. It's fun. Edgar, the owner, really knows his stuff. And I'm sure he'd be fine with the cake. It's a terrific little place.

    6 Replies
    1. re: perk

      Great suggestion--will seriously consider them, just called and left them a message.

      1. re: sablouwho

        Definitely speak with Edgar....tell him Elaine recommended them. I'm a regular there. And a friend of mine did a birthday party there....and it was terrific.

        1. re: perk

          Perk/Elaine, thank you, I will definitely do so! Out of curiousity, do you remember the approximate number of people at your friends birthday party? Were people able to mingle with each other or was everyone just "stuck" at their respective tables? Just curious.

          1. re: sablouwho

            My friend basically took over the restaurant. (actually, you can't do that...so there were some tables available for other people. but she probably had around 50 people.) But it's definitely a "mingling" place....because people take their wine glasses to the "machines" and taste different wines. So....lots of people walking around. And you can hang at your table if you want! It's a terrific place.....

            1. re: perk

              Thanks Perk--I talked to Edgar and he and I realized together that due to their already-existing reservations and the number of guests I anticipate as well as the minimum spend required per person, that it will not work for this particular evening.

              That said, I totally respect him for telling me this. We tried to find a way it might work without a minimum per person (he offered the patio and said he could remove the dining tables and replace them with a few table height cocktail tables) but he explained that with the lesser amount of tables (to make room for mingling with the number of people I expect) that people wouldn't be able to order much food because they'd have to balance their plates on their hands since there would be very little "table" room for food and cake.

              That last bit killed it for me as we need to be able to eat and have cake. (I want to have my cake and eat it too.)

              I utterly respect him for his honesty and telling me that he thought I might wind up disappointed if we wanted to be able to order food (which is an important thing to me since this will be during dinner time).

              HOWEVER -- I have several other events that I am planning and this venue sounds perfect for those, so I am SO pleased that you reminded me about 3twenty as it sounds like a terrific place!

              1. re: sablouwho

                Glad you had a good conversation with Edgar....and his honesty is one of the things I love about him and the place. He's got a real passion for food and wine, and really wants people to have a good experience. Good luck with the event. (you SHOULD have your cake and eat it, too!)....and I'm sure when you get to 320, you won't be disappointed!

    2. Check out Laurel Hardware. You might be able to get the room in the front.