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restaurants that allow pre-pay for group dinners?

trying to organize a large birthday and would like to avoid a disasterous bill-splitting situation that happened last year. any suggestions/thoughts?

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  1. Here in the UK many restaurants would pre-agree a limited choice fixed price deal. A veggie or fish app, followed by one meat, one poultry, one fish and one veggie choice for mains, and a crowd pleasing pudding with coffee maybe? Include half a bottle of wine or equivalent and what will you be looking at? $50? Maybe a little more? Cash bar for extra grog.

    Managers of chain restaurants may not have discretion to offer deals though.

    1. Are you looking for something like Robin Joy describes? If you could elaborate as to the last one, it will help.

      1. I think pretty much any restaurant that can handle large groups will let you do that. Some require it for parties over a certain size, for example:

        http://www.slanteddoor.com/private#room

        1 Reply
        1. re: Robert Lauriston

          that's what i'm looking for, but not quite in the price range of the slanted door, and while this thread has been very helpful so far, was hoping for people being able to share experiences (good or bad) with specific restaurants that have handled this before.

          for drinks, i think i'll just tell people to order from the bar.

        2. The other way to go is to choose a restaurant where the food is served family style, or where you can arrange for a menu to be served family style. Some restaurants already offer multi-course family style meals either on a regular basis (thinking of Haven) or as "Sunday supper" and would probably be willing to put together something similar for your group.

          3 Replies
          1. re: Ruth Lafler

            I can say from experience that that could still lead to an hour's discussion over how to split up the drinks bill.

              1. re: Robert Lauriston

                Well, so can the set-menu with choices. The key is to determine in advance how the drinks bill will be handled. The most obvious is that nonalcoholic drinks and table wines are included, and everyone pays for his/her own cocktails.

                Or you could choose not to socialize with people who quibble over splitting the bill. ;-)

                I've been to dozens of chowdowns and can't remember a single occasion where there was a problem with splitting the bill (we either run a separate drinks tab, or agree that people who had beer will throw in a few bucks more -- wine is generally shared, and the occasional person who doesn't drink is offered the option to contribute less, which is rarely taken).

            1. Yes I think a pre-arranged limited menu is the way to go, like a wedding banquet, one meat, one fish, one veggie, same price for everyone.