Dinner for a large group in University City at a place with a good vibe?
Hi, all. Every year, I plan a dinner for a large group (50-60 people) who are visiting Philadelphia to attend a radio convention that's centered around WXPN. We're looking primarily for good food and service, innovative and hip (but not over the top), and middle price range. It has to be a place with a bar. Most people attending won't have a car, so we try to stay within reasonable walking distance and on the west side of the river (though I could probably convince the group to cross the river if we found the perfect place that was still pretty close). We also like to try somewhere new every year.
As you can see, we have a lot of constraints! Are any cool spots jumping to mind?
In past years, we've tried:
White Dog Cafe
How is City Tap House? Might it be worth crossing the water to La Calaca Feliz or Vernick or the Dandelion?
Maybe you can book El Rey at on Chestnut St. Pretty hip, has bar, pretty good food and moderately priced. It's really not very from XPN at all, closer than many of the West Philly places. Everybody wants to stay west of the river when in UC but Rittenhouse Sq is less than a mile from much of the Penn and Drexel campuses.
Dandelion is a good idea too. A little farther and more expensive. But it has a lot more space--you would basically be taking over El Rey, they may not even do it.
Being that you have a lot of provisos you might want to look into Waterworks. It normally would not be my first choice but then you already listed a few that I would have suggested first.
The view is drop dead -- the food is definitely decent and they have a bar. You could even couple it with a trip to the Art Museum which is right next door.
There's a thought! I have no clue if the Art Museum restaurant offers private space for large groups but you could do a lot worse. Worth it to ask.
Well, I'm plumb out of any other decent choices within your confines.