Recommendations needed for a wine group dinner
I’m a member of a group of wine lovers that meet once a year in connection with a nuclear medicine conference. These annual dinners are a tradition dating back 40 years. The participants come from all over the world (USA, Canada, Europe, South America, etc.) and the format is that each person brings one bottle of a prized wine from his or her cellar (two bottles per couple), and these wines are paired with food at a good local restaurant. The number of those attending these dinners is typically 20 to 30 individuals. This year the meeting is in Vancouver, BC. I am looking for a restaurant that would accommodate our group. A private room is ideal, but as long as the group can be seated together at one or two large tables and the restaurant is not so noisy that it makes it difficult to converse and to hear the oral presentations discussing the wines that have been brought, a private room isn’t critical. The other big issue is the corkage charge. I’m aware of the recent change allowing BYOB in Vancouver, but some restaurants have responded with a very hefty corkage charge of $30 or more per bottle, which would put them out of range cost-wise for our dinner. So I’m looking for suggestions for potentially suitable restaurants with good food, the ability to accommodate a large group, and reasonable corkage, hopefully under $20 or at least a willingness to negotiate a reasonable corkage fee. Most of the people will be staying at hotels near the Vancouver Conference Centre, so restaurants located far away might pose a problem with respect to travel time and cost of a taxi. Any suggestions from my fellow Chowhounds (I’m a long-time Chowhound now living in Seattle) will be deeply appreciated. Thanks.
Unfortunately, most BC restaurants need to get a clue. Corkage averages $25 and few places negotiate. Here is a list maintained by Stephen Bonner http://bccorkagefees.blogspot.ca/ which looks somewhat up to date. Kitsilano Daily Kitchen seems the most flexible and you can probably buy it out for the evening. The food is pretty decent too.
Five sails would probably work well. They put on dinners for several of the wine groups in Vancouver. They also have a beautiful private room that should fit 20+. Very accommodating to oenophiles
Depending upon the day of the week, i wonder whether Hamilton Street Grill would negotiate their corkage fees. The private room would easily accommodate 25, and has presentation capabilities.
In a somewhat different concept, can you consider booking a hospitality suite at one of the hotels, and having your food catered in? I have worked for organizations who did that.
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