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Jan 30, 2013 09:23 AM

Private room in restaurants?

I was talking the other day about private rooms in restaurants, i.e. people who didn't want others to know their business would eat in restaurants with private rooms. I don't mean big back rooms, I mean intimate dining spaces with a curtain over the door and extreme discretion of the staff. Do those exist still? In Boston? How do people get in and out privately -- do the diners go out throught the kitchen so no one can see them with their mistress or whatever? Are the prices on the menu jacked up because you'll have to pay for your privacy? Inquiring minds want to know.

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  1. Private dining rooms are everywhere; there are scores of them in Greater Boston, if not hundreds. I've never heard of a private entrance, though.

    9 Replies
    1. re: MC Slim JB

      Well, then they aren't that private, are they. If X and Y come out of a private dining room, you can bet that the whole world will think they've been canoodling even if they haven't.

      1. re: somervilleoldtimer

        Actually, when I see people coming out of a private dining room, my first thought is that it was a business dinner, as that's what I regularly use them for. But thanks for using "canoodling"; I don't get to read Variety much anymore.

        1. re: MC Slim JB

          Exactly.. There are private dining rooms everywhere in town. From Legal Seafoods to steak houses, to "real" restaurants like Radius. Many of these are tucked in out of the way hallways, and many are more on the main hallway. In any case, there are literally tons of these spaces. We just had one of these dinners at Mortons.

          1. re: MC Slim JB

            Sure, when there are more than two. But have you had dinner with just one other person, for business or otherwise, in one of these private rooms?

            1. re: somervilleoldtimer

              So, if I understand you correctly, your inquiry is, "What are the best restaurants in which to conduct adulterous liaisons in town?"

              I'm happily married, but if I were looking for such a place, I'd focus on the kinds of restaurants my friends, family and colleagues would never go and never expect me to go, either: Cheesecake Factory, Top of the Hub, national chain steakhouses, the Stregas, anything regularly endorsed by the Phantom Gourmet. And if on the off-chance they did catch me there, they would probably assume it was my doppelgänger, not me.


                1. re: Infomaniac

                  Well, I'm at least reasonably happily married, so I'm not looking to sneak around. But what if I were more gainfully employed than I am, and I have a meal with a competitor business that I wouldn't want the world to know about? What if I was hoping for a job? Or spilling business secrets? I wouldn't want my fellow employees to see this happen. I suppose I just like the cloak and dagger aspect of it -- I'm sure there were private rooms in Ric's Cafe, for example. . A lot of the mystery of our lives has been replaced by reality TV, I'm sorry to say. I think private dining rooms would change our mystery deficiency. I could even go have a meal with my husband in a private room, and it would change the dynamic that we have when we eat together in a large room with others. Maybe it will be the next new thing, in which case I want some credit.

                  1. re: somervilleoldtimer

                    I suspect you're overthinking this. Surreptitious or at least private meetings happen all the time in restaurants, sometimes in private dining rooms, sometimes not, without needing the elaborate skulduggery of a private entrance.

                    I've conducted plenty of job interviews in a hotel lobby or coffee shop (the Newton Marriott is a favorite of mine for this: business hubbub going on all day long, nobody notices anyone else, plus easy highway access and abundant free parking). Pick a booth in the back corner of a Denny's, or a table at a Rainforest Cafe, or one of the 1200 seats at The Kowloon: what are the chances you'll run into someone you know there?


              1. re: somervilleoldtimer

                there are restaurants that have more than one entrance/exit, like eastern standard, clio and davio's, so a gentleman and his inamorata won't be seen in the door at the same time.

          1. The original comment has been removed
            1. I think Locke Ober had a room for two. Mamma Maria has a room for up to four. I suppose you could book it for two if it was slow or you met a minimum expenditure. I don't think either had a secret entrance. But, you could just wear your fedora pulled down low over your face as you walked in and out.

              2 Replies
              1. re: pemma

                Locke-Ober is no more. Mamma Maria does indeed have a dining room that seats two.


                1. re: MC Slim JB

                  Who'd have ever thought there would be a thread with both doppelgänger and canoodling mentioned?