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Brooklyn restaurant for a wedding ceremony and a reception

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ellecheek Feb 1, 2013 02:22 PM

Hi. Suggestion, please, for a Brooklyn restaurant to hold an inexpensive wedding and reception for 50 people in September 2013. We are both foodies, non-traditional and quite honestly, not flush with cash.
Ideally..
Great food, thats a given
There would be something special about it. They'd have a particular spot that would be a lovely place for the ceremony and a separate room for a sit down dinner or brunch. Crap, have not given much thought to most restaurants not having a cabaret license.
There will need to be some booze. Is it ever possible to bring in your own?
Ici is a contender, although they are booked every sat night in 9/13 so if we did book there, it would have to be at a different time.
I greatly appreciate your help and any suggestion.

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  1. v
    vatl619 Feb 1, 2013 05:49 PM

    ici's private room is really lovely.
    take a look at soigne in park slope.
    also frankie's 457 has the wonderful garden and barn for a group of your size and the food is fantastic.
    maybe take a peek at rebar in dumbo?

    1. l
      linda313 Feb 2, 2013 06:14 AM

      Not sure if this would completely meet your needs, but since you said "nontraditional" . . . we recently had a wedding party at the Bell House. (The actual wedding was back in Detroit.) Their bar area is available for private parties, in exchange for guaranteeing a $1,000 drink minimum. (Which we didn't quite make, but whatever. It still amounted to a reasonable cost for space+booze.) Frankie's 457 catered.

      Minuses: not elegant, and the space is not suited to a sit down meal.

      Pluses: funky and fun and unique. Our guests (we packed in about 75 people) absolutely loved it. Not doing it in a restaurant (we checked out a number of them) freed us to shop around for the food and add our own touches, which held down the bill. (It was substantial food, but served buffet style.)

      The Bell House staff were very laid back and fun to work with. They did mention that they have in fact hosted actual weddings. There's a small raised stage at one end of the room that can serve as a focal point for the ceremony.

      Congratulations, BTW!

      1. e
        ellecheek Feb 2, 2013 10:40 AM

        Hi! Thank you so much for the info. Please keep it coming!

        Love the Bell House but to hold a wedding there, as well a reception, it becomes quite expensive (9K just for the space and booze) Ouch.

        Frankies is in my neighborhood. Will definitely check out the back garden as we have only eaten in the front. Their food is delicious.

        Rebar is a contender. I left them a msg. Bit concerning as they are on many hot lists right now for weddings. Dates/Dollars may be an issue. Love the vibe though. It would be ideal.

        1. p
          PinotGringo Feb 10, 2013 08:53 PM

          Would you consider renting a space and catering? That could potentially cut down on costs, especially as a lot of places like that allow you to bring your own alcohol.

          If you are, I would mention the Picnic House in Prospect Park as a venue. It's around $5k to rent the space for a Saturday night at the height of wedding season (June and September), and goes down to $3,500 when it's the off-season. I'm not entirely familiar with their catering situation, but I had a friend who married there on the cheap a few years back and she was all compliments. Also she got some lovely pictures in the park itself!

          Another thought for venue-with-caterers is the Brooklyn Society for Ethical Culture. I believe that one is $3k. It is also right near the park, is a classic old building with stained glass windows and a beautiful garden. It's a bit of a hidden gem.

          I know this isn't strictly what you asked for, but I thought I'd throw it into the mix in case other people were searching as well.

          3 Replies
          1. re: PinotGringo
            jen kalb Feb 11, 2013 10:11 AM

            While the Picnic House rental itself is not expensive, use of their required caterer makes if fairly expensive .Its also very much in demand. If you search Prospect Park Picnic House you will find the relevant links.

            When we looked earlier this year, Rebar priced out ok, but ethnic restaurants were a much better deal if you actually want food.

            Its possible to do your wedding and reception al fresco in Prospect Park, if you are willing to take the risk of weather.

            "something special" in such an impacted market does not come at a low price.

            1. re: PinotGringo
              e
              ellecheek Feb 12, 2013 10:04 AM

              Catering scares me for several reasons, mainly reheated food, cost and pain in the butt factor (chair rentals, table cloths, glass, plate and silverware rentals). Thank you though for the suggestion.

              I find it interesting that there aren't more artsy/creative places in NYC set up as a restaurant and an event space. New business model, perhaps?

              The idea of an outdoor wedding on a beautiful day is lovely. The thought of pouring down rain on my outdoor wedding is not. My Mother is disabled and getting her into the park would be tricky, and in the rain it would be disastrous.

              I mistyped, Bell House is actually 12G, not 9G

              1. re: ellecheek
                Peter Feb 13, 2013 04:41 PM

                Just to play devil's advocate, our wedding used a caterer and the food was beyond outstanding. It was so good that to this day 3.5 years later people comment on how good the food was. And they served 150 people.

                More amazingly, they didn't even have a kitchen to work from -- they cooked everything in hot boxes in the street. And the entree were lamb chops and salmon. Both cooked to perfection. Much, much, much better than wedding food I've had from caterers with full kitchens at their disposal and much, much, much better than wedding food I've had from fulltime permanent restaurant kitchens.

                So don't rule out a caterer because of the food quality.

                Lastly, they handled the entire rental process for tables, linens, chairs, silver, glasses, everything. All we had to do was say yes and write the check. (Yes, renting all that can add to the cost but we had a venue for free so it was break even most likely.)

                BTW, the caterer we used was Food In Motion. Based in the West Village but the two owners live in DUMBO.

            2. l
              linda313 Feb 14, 2013 06:28 AM

              Confused about why the Bell House is coming up as so expensive - $12G would be a major ouch! Is that for the larger music venue? We got away cheap with their bar space for our reception (though I see how the logisitics of doing the actual wedding there as well would be complicated, maybe impossibly so).

              I will echo Peter about not being intimidated by caterers. I was, too, but after checking out restaurant prices we gulped, started looking for caterers, and were glad we went that route. They made it very easy.

              For what it's worth, for our actual wedding back in Detroit, we worked with a local soup kitchen for the reception/dinner. Sounds crazy, I know, but their head chef is an amazing cook and put together a menu that absolutely wowed our guests. I'm wondering if there are organizations here that also do catering on the side??

              Another place we considered, that I'll pass along, is Stone Park's catering hall (where Pizza Rustica used to be, on 3rd St. in Park Slope).

              1 Reply
              1. re: linda313
                t
                tex.s.toast Feb 14, 2013 08:31 AM

                Im fairly certain that is the price for the full space. we got married there and paid less than that, but it was for a sunday.

                another factor would be that they dont do the pricing per person - there are, i think, three levles, up to 100 people, up to 150 people, and up to 200 people, and since the cost is liquor-inclusive for all yoru guests, more people cost more (but you dont get a discount for having 50 guests, the price is the same as if you had 100).

                Im not sure id call those prices for a 5-6 hour rental of a facility and unlimited (premium) drinks for 100+ "expensive" - especially if you start costing it out at places that charge for liquor by the hour/guest.

              2. p
                pellegrino31 Mar 5, 2013 01:51 PM

                We had our ceremony and reception at Frankie's 457 and loved it. It was a few years ago but our wedding was in November so we were inside the whole time. I know they say they can seat more but we had 30 seated for dinner and it was on the cramped side but no one seemed to mind. It felt more like a dinner party rather than a standard reception which is what we wanted for our event.

                The budget was very reasonable by NYC standards - food and beverage was about $110 per person plus the cost of linens, gratuity, etc.

                The food was terrific - we had eaten dinner there several times before the wedding and I wondered how well the food would translate to a larger group/family style. It was just as good.

                The staff was also very attentive throughout the entire process. I think the event planner's name is Marci - not sure if she is still there since it's been a few years.

                One thing I'll mention is that they don't have a cabaret license which was the only downside in our minds. But if you don't care about dancing then it's really a great spot.

                1. c
                  CarmenR Mar 5, 2013 07:06 PM

                  Funny you should mention this- a few weeks ago I posted a similar thread looking for suggestions for a lunch on our wedding day!

                  We are doing a restaurant buyout for our reception+ceremony and, I must tell you, the cost is NOT as insane as you might think. We looked at some places where the buyout price was 1-2k an hour with a 3-5 hour minimum, most of which included a lot of booze (but not food.) I would imagine that if yall have a favorite restaurant that isnt huge, it may offer a reasonable buyout option as well.

                  As a sidenote, we did want to bring in cases of champagne (my fiances uncle deals in it) and no one we spoke to, restaurant wise, would do it for legal reasons. Our end choice is allowing us to purchase it virtually at cost through them, however, with a miniscule markup so it's almost the same. They are also handling all the food (passed and stationary hors d'oeuvres) and are allowing us to bring in some limited outside food and are going to work on special "sentimental" dishes that are not on their menu if their kitchen can do it. I feel like this is greatly diminishing our stress as we don't have to coordinate a venue and caterer and bartender and liquor supplier..etc. We may be paying a touch more (which is even debatable) but god...it's going to be so much more pleasant.

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