If you want to throw a party but dread the toil, don’t despair. It’s a snap to arrange a gathering at a nearby restaurant. Many dining establishments offer not only party rooms but party planning services as well. Some require a room fee, others ask for food and beverage minimums, but all of them are eager to make your shindig special. So stress ye not about that upcoming bar mitzvah, rehearsal dinner, birthday party or cocktail soiree. We’ve uncovered nine unique locales—complete with menu suggestions—that are willing and able to host your next festive occasion.
LOBSTER AND FILET DUET
Lord Fletcher’s, The Old Lake Room
Lord Fletcher’s is the mack daddy of the party, boasting no fewer than five different private rooms. Our hands-down favorite was The Old Lake Room. It’s decorated with whimsical fishing regalia and windows that face a majestic lake view. For a truly special occasion—and we define “special” in generous terms—go exemplary: surf ‘n’ turf. There’s nothing like a succulent lobster tail dripping butter alongside a tender filet mignon. Lord Fletcher’s also boasts an impressive array of wedding and birthday cakes—from carrot to Chantilly, coconut to triple layer Kahlua mocha—for up to 150 people. We can hear the clinking of the toasts already. $54.
GRILLED CHICKEN WITH WILD MUSHROOM RISOTTO
Spasso, The Wine Room
Spasso’s Wine Room is a sweet gem tucked into the back corner of the expansive restaurant. It’s a blank canvas for your celebratory vision: round tables or square, seated or circulating. But the best part is the superlative food and wine. Spasso’s kitchen surprises and delights at every turn with carefully chosen ingredients and creative combinations. For both broad appeal and sophistication, get the grilled chicken with wild mushroom risotto; it’s totally moan-worthy. Fernando Santa, the general manager, is an erstwhile sommelier, and it shows. Go ahead and party all you want: Spasso provides a complimentary car service that seats six people and ranges far and wide. Now that’s class. $16.
CURRY HOUSE CHICKEN
Cooper, The Cutting Room
The Cutting Room is an insider’s reference to the practice of “cutting whiskey,” as well as the movie theater that once graced this site. But the coolest thing about The Cutting Room is that it sits inside the restaurant’s central horseshoe-shaped bar—a private oasis or an eavesdropping perch, depending on whether the etched-glass windows are open or closed. Other special touches include hand-carved woodwork from Dublin, numerous draught beers and 2 Gingers, the latest splash in the spirit world. Put yourself into the capable hands of dedicated party planner Jessica Dill, who will guide you from beginning to end, with moral support to boot. They recommend the Curry House Chicken, which is not only quintessential but a perennial favorite in taste tests. It’s mild and creamy, accented with fresh vegetables and just a whisper of heat. One more bonus: Cooper is always open, even on Christmas Day. What a gift! $13.99.
PINOT NOIR TASTING WITH ANTIPASTO
Pairings Food and Wine Market, The Tasting Room
This intimate room features a long, rough-hewn wooden table. Picture a boisterous family meal beneath a gnarled olive tree in the Tuscan countryside. The 16-person space is ideal for an adult gathering, since it’s all about the vino at Pairings. The wine service options range from pour-your-own to a full-on wine seminar with a sommelier. Fans of the ultimate oenophile flick “Sideways” will want to sample a variety of Pinot Noir. The Antipasto Display of cured meats, grilled and marinated vegetables, olives, a baguette and crackers proved to be an intriguing array of flavors between multiple sips of wine. $69.99.
KOTA STO PHYLLO
Christos, The Myconos Room
The Myconos Room is true to its name, calling forth the Greek isle with scenic photographs and white stucco walls. And if those walls could speak! They’ve witnessed family reunions, bar mitzvahs and recently, a 100th birthday party. Owner Gus Parpas deems the Kota Sto Phyllo the ultimate gala dish, since it “looks like a million bucks” and tastes like it, too. The nifty golden packet of flaky pastry is filled with chicken, sautéed spinach, leek and feta and fairly explodes with flavor. Enjoy it with carrots and dill and let yourself drift on the Aegean for a spell. $14.95.
Jimmy’s Food and Cocktails, The Fireside Room
Jimmy’s posh, semi-private Fireside Room is an enclave of honey-toned wood, a cozy brick fireplace and lush carpeting. And there are no less than 20 different entrees to choose from. The Fireside Room has its own music and temperature controls, with myriad options on how to stage the room, serve the wine and present the food. The buzzword here is accommodation. Amen. $24.95.
SPICY SZECHUAN TOFU
We were thrilled when the revered St. Paul eatery opened a branch in The Shops at West End, and even more so to discover its semi-private dining space. To part its gauzy curtains is akin to unwrapping a precious gift, revealing gold-scripted wallpaper and three elegantly appointed round tables. The staff favorite is the Spicy Szechuan Tofu: a pile of burnished cubes of tofu stir-fried with green onion, garlic, chili, bean paste sauce and bell peppers. It’s slightly sweet and sneakily hot; the tofu’s creamy center runs interference for the zing. Watch out for lurking shards of chili, and in the meantime, feast your eyes on the astounding ivory friezes and ornate lion sculptures. $11.75.
Blue Point, The Wine Room
Craving the light and air of the tropics? Head to The Wine Room at Blue Point, with its easy-breezy feeling of potted palms, glass doors and ceiling fan whirring lazily overhead. The catch of the day is always the best choice, but salmon is a perennial people pleaser. The provenance and preparation of the salmon varies according to season. Our blackened filet was judiciously seasoned, cooked a point, and napped in a citrusy beurre blanc. The key lime pie is a must: impossibly lofty, bracingly tart and just sweet enough. $29.
CORNED BEEF AND CABBAGE
Jake O’Connor’s Public House, The Cellar Bar
The Cellar Bar hunkers in the basement of Jake O’Connor’s, as clandestine as an old-timey speakeasy. The rough-hewn wood beams, antique lanterns and leather banquettes enhance the romantic spirit of yore. The Cellar Bar also has its own bathrooms and a dedicated bar, so it is truly a world unto its own. Looking to hold a wake for 60 people? A victory celebration for the Gaelic football team? This is your venue, and corned beef is your dish. The slow-cooked beef comes with buttery cabbage and a drift of mashed potatoes. We think the rustic simplicity of the classic Irish fare perfectly matches the mood of the room. $13.95.