40th Birthday Party

Parent Q&A

Select any title to view the full question and replies.

  • 40th Birthday Creative Ideas?

    (9 replies)

    Hello - My husband's 40th birthday is coming up soon, and we are looking for creative ways to celebrate it.  My husband wants to do something "special".  I know that can be subjective, but - for example - he doesn't want to have a party at our house or in a rented room at a restaurant/bar (although maybe he would be okay with those if there was an extra activity or something  that would give it an added "oomph") .  Maybe something else with more of a special activity or an event attached to it?  Any suggestions or things other people have done for big (adult) birthdays?

    We would not be including kids; we could do day or night; we have about 20 people we need to invite (but would love to do more if the activity/budget allows); and could probably budget up to a few grand for the right thing.

    Thank you!

    The best birthday I ever had was when my best friends, about 6 of them, picked me up by surprise early on the day of my 30th in a rented motor home and we did a road trip to Marin & Napa, redwoods, wine tours, etc., ending with dinner in a great restaurant. It was all ad hoc, we just went where the spirit moved us. 

    With 20 people that doesn't completely translate, but your budget should accommodate a rented bus on a wine tour/special dinner. Perhaps outdoors at a winery, or somewhere with a sunset view of the ocean, like Muir Beach.

    We all still remember that adventure fondly. 

    You should consider Mysteries for Hire for your entertainment.  They are fantastic, typically doing a Murder Mystery over a dinner, but they always customize to fit your needs.  The website is here:  http://mysteriesforhire.com

    You could consider renting out the East Brother Light House. If you rented all the rooms and had the place to yourself, that would be a lot of fun. They serve you appetizers as the sun sets over the Bay, and then a long, lovely dinner.  It feels like you're far away, when really you haven't even driven an hour. 

    Happy birthday!  :)

    I always find that doing something unexpected can be fun. Like going whitewater rafting for the day. Or going to laser tag and pizza after. Or paintball. Or a huge nerf battle! Something a 40 year wouldn't necessarily do! Think outside of the box! 

    Hi - I did something similar for my husband's 40th earlier this year. We did reserve a bar and catered food. Aside from mingling, we had some musician friends / family perform. My husband's brother composed a song to the tune of a famous song that was hilarious. I made a trivia game (since my husband loves trivia) all about my husband that everyone played and enjoyed. There were a couple of speeches. At other 40ths I've seen people step up to the mic and say a few words about the birthday person. Another party had a theme, where everyone dressed up to the theme; music and food were in sync w/ the theme, so these are other ideas. Really think about things your husband likes to do or used to like to do pre-kids and see how you can celebrate incorporating those things, and you'll have a hit!


    We are now in our 60s but when my husband turned 40 we were in the midst of baby rearing and house remodeling with full time jobs. A grueling time with absolutely no time off for neither of us. So I surprised him, asked him to cancel all contractors for the house and no appointments at work, I took the day off at work, left baby in extended day care and I rented a red Mazda Miata (very difficult to do then with no internet and no "luxury" lifestyle set up in society yet. I had to find a 'luxury sports car" rental in SF and go pick it up myself). I got myself a sexy outfit, packed a picnic basket (borrowed) and we went to Napa for the day. I had reserved a glider flight there for him. It was awesome (you can do air balloon too). What we did not know is that gliders are only for the pilot and one passenger. so only he did it because we had to return to town for more celebration. For the evening I reserved a large table at a local restaurant and surprised him with a dinner with our closest friends. For us it was a fantastic day just to step away from the daily grind and spend time together.

    We my birthday at SPiN in SF -- it's a ping pong bar.  We had two ping pong tables reserved, and made a tournament board with brackets to track the tournament.  It was fun for people to have something to do/watch, since not all of our friends knew each other.  The events team was great and it really felt like a special event.  

    I just want to thank the responder who wrote about her experience from 20 years ago! I'm also in my 40s with babies and the whole story just made me feel like I'm not such a weirdo, and I really love your attitude! 

    My husband's 40's celebration was the best one by our friends account....

    Mad Men was trendy and we were fascinated by it and by the 60's ( year my husband was born anyway)

    So we invited around 40 people to join us to our Mad men party at our favorite bar called Penelope ( downtown Oakland) We talk to the owner, they provided like 3 cocktails of the 60's ( we payed for them, if people wanted something else, there was an "Open Bar" We brought a great playlist, they showed a movie on their flatscreen. People were very close because it was a small space, but they love it! People were excited to get dressed up and do something different. 

    I think we had to have like 10 platters of food, but it was a cocktail party and we invited after dinner, so nobody expected to eat at the party, just to have snacks...

    It was a sensation....What about doing Game of Thrones one? or a 70's party, lots of dancing :)

    have fun. it is great to be 40!!

Archived Q&A and Reviews

Indoor party venue suitable for adults and babies

Sept 2011

My husband is turning 40 in January and I want to throw him a great birthday party. We just had our first child in April, he just got his MBA and started a new job, so there's much to celebrate. A lot of our friends also have babies who would be between 5 months-2years of age by January - I'm trying to figure out a venue that would be fun for adults and also work for babies. Since it's the winter it will need to be indoors. Assume about 40 adults and 10 babies under 2. Maybe a kid-friendly restaurant or some kind of indoor activity center? Our small condo won't cut it...Thanks for any suggestions! anon

You might consider the fern cottage in kennedy grove park, el sobrante. Www.ebparks.org or call 8883272767, opt 2 mon thru fri for more info. It is actually easy to get to and is used a lot for small parties. East bay parks gal

40th Bday Party Venue

Nov 2009

I'm looking to plan a 40th birthday party in January. Cost is an issue so we're thinking about having it in a bar/restaurant and providing food but not providing the alcohol. Is this tacky? We would like a place in/near Oakland that can hold 60-70 people and that could support dancing. Any recommendations would be appreciated. Thanks! Party Planning

I had my 40th birthday last December at the Stork Club in Oakland (Telegraph @ 24th Street). The cost to rent the place was only $100. I supplied the food and the band and paid for drink tickets (though you could make it a cash bar). About 75 people showed, I think. The neighborhood is a little sketchy, but the folks who run the place are accommodating and friendly! Already 40

How to celebrate husband's 40th birthday?

Feb 2008

My husband is turning 40 in about a month and is feeling a bit down about it, so I'd like to find a fun and special way to celebrate. We have an 11-year old son so it should be something he will enjoy too. I am open to any and all ideas! Thank you! Julia

How about sending your hubby, plus some of his closest friends, brothers, brother-in-laws, whoever his closest circle is, to something fun? (Along with your son of course). For my husband's 50th I invited those close friends/relatives, men only, sent them to a Warrior game on a bus, fed them there, then had them back at the house here for champagne and cake. (Well, beer and cake for most!) Now that added up to a lot but you could scale it back to fit your budget. Going out with his gang or even just a few close buds could help ease the transition. Then when he comes home you can tell him how sexy he is and take it from there. I think most any guy would think that would be the perfect birthday! Anyway reassure your guy that things get so much better when you are older, you have so much more perspective and so much less angst!!! Have fun!!! anon

Go to the San Francisco In Door Sky Diving!!! you, your husband and your son can all do it and boy does it look like fun! check out their website http://www.iflysfbay.com/ have fun!

A couple years ago my husband turned 40. I wanted to do something special but felt unsure as he is funny about having lots of attention paid to him. Nonetheless, I threw a giant party for him, called old friends, had them call old friends, invited all our kids friends parents who I knew he was friendly with at soccer games etc, invited all our nice neighbors, his and my family, people from our wedding. Then I made all is favorite foods, I cooked all day the day prior, I bought a really sexy outfit to wear, all our kids were there with as many friends as they chose to invite, I made a massive carrot cake, I bought fun music, I decorated and we had a total blast. Oh, I did a daytime affair as this is easier for everyone I think. Anyway, he still looks at the pictures from that day with fondness whenever they scroll across the computer. I think it was really nice for him to see how many people he knows, has known, who love him, who would come out for his party. It was very affirming for him - and I think men suffer from this - to know that he had made an impact on the people around him. It really was fun, and not too expensive - I mostly bought items from Trader Joes. I think I grilled tons of tri-tip (manly meat!) and made a huge, real and amazing caesar salad plus seasonal salads. I think your hubby would be pleasantly suprised even if he doesn't know he would like it, to have 30-40 people come to tell him how much he means to them! Good Luck. Sarah

I rented a room in a restaurant on Telegraph Hill and invited absolutely everyone my husband is friends with, and got about 50 people for two hours of drinks and appetizers. It was a complete surprise on a Friday night after work, and my husband did a 360 turn and had to catch his breath when he walked in, and then had a great time. A surprise is really awesome! I told him we were going out to eat at a little Italian place to celebrate quietly. Ha! Have fun

My husband and my brother are trying indoor skydiving this weekend....You can read more about it at www.iflysfbay.com. It's a bit of a drive (Union City), but an 11 year old could do it with him, so it could be a really fun family event. Good Luck

My husband felt the same way about turning 50. He was moaning and groaning about not wanting to celebrate. After I teased him with ''well, here's what we're doing when I turn 50'' he became a bit more interested in planning something fun. We rented a house in Bodega for a weekend sharing the cost with a group of close friends, (we have younger children so we included some with kids their age)Bodega Bay felt like a real getaway, was less expensive than Sea Ranch but still had all the great views, ocean access, etc. A good friend and I cooked the main birthday meal and the rest of the meals were assigned out - everyone chose one meal to cover for the whole group. Everyone brought a good bottle of wine or champagne. I had wine glasses engraved with a Happy Birthday message as a ''goody bag'' for the adults (just google engraved wine glasses and you'll find some surprisingly good deals). Everyone had a great time - but most importantly my husband said he would never forget it. Some of us arrived on Friday night, others on Saturday. Between the hot tub, the beach, the amazing views, and the good friends, it was a great weekend. The rental agency gave us Monday for free when I told them it was for my husband's birthday so that we wouldn't have to rush out on Sunday by noon (vacationrentalsusa.com) Just an idea! Good luck and I hope he changes his mind. Party Person

Restaurant 40th Birthday party Oakland Berkeley

March 2007

I want to plan a dinner with around 20 people for my 40th birthday at a fun restaurant in Oakland or Berkeley and wanted a few restaurant recommendations. I definitely want a festive environment and place where we can take our time with the meal. Please let me know if you have any suggestions. Thanks! Marcy

I suggest you consider Bucci's in Emeryville (on Hollis, north of Powell) to celebrate your 40th. Bucci's has a spacious feel, fabulous fresh food, nice wines, and easy free parking. One or more of the owners are usually present and they care about their customers' satisfaction. My favorite place. Long time fan of Bucci's

I love Pizzaiolo! It has a large table in the back room that seats 20+. The food is incredible, the atmosphere is totally cool and fun, and the decor is wonderful as well. Pizziaolo is located on Telegraph Ave. in Oakland, across the street from Genoa Delicatessen. Pizziaolo fan

Lamorinda Area 40th BDAY Party Place

Jan 2007

Hi! My husband and I are planning my 40th birthday party for late May/early June. We're looking for a restaurant (prefer Italian, Mexican, or French) to EITHER host an intimate dinner for up to 12 couples OR have a very large bash for 20 couples plus lots of kids (just food, no dj, dancing). I'm looking something in Orinda/Moraga/Lafayette/Walnut Creek/Pleasant Hill areas that's fun and reasonably priced. Help!

I hosted my husbands 40th BD party at the Lafayette Park Hotel on Mt. Diablo Blvd. I rented out the library for an intimate dinner for about 25 people. They will work with you to create the meal so you can have any cuisine you prefer and they even let me bring in my own wine (Picked up at Costco!) and the corkage fee was very reasonable. This was years ago but I still only hear good things about Lafayette Park Hotel. Congrats on your hubby turning 40... JM

2004 - 2006 Recommendations

Club and Band for a 40th birthday

March 2006

Any ideas on clubs or similar places to rent for a party with a band in the Oakland/Berkeley area? Nothing fancy, a place that can hold 150 people, ideally where we can set up our own bar but in-place bar is ok too. Also any suggestions for bands that play music everyone can dance to - thinkcover tunes, songs from Aretha Franklin, the Committments, Robert Cray etc. Any and all suggestions gladly taken! Meri

The Berkeley Yacht Club (and perhaps other local yacht clubs) can be rented for parties as you describe. Karen

40th Bday Party Ideas for Husband???

Dec 2005

My husband turns 40 in May. I want to do something fun to celebrate the event but not a normal party. For example, 50 of us played croquet at Meadowood for his 30th bday. (That was before we had kids -- LOL!) He likes golf, wine, sporting events, is very outgoing. I could do a golf tournament with a dinner afterwards but don't really want to because a lot of his friends don't golf and also we've been to maybe 4 of these already. Maybe a tour of some special wineries with dinner in a cave afterwards for 20 or so? Any idea how to orchestrate this? Maybe an event at an A's game but something nicer than a tailgate ... I don't want to travel as he travels 90% for his job and it's also a hassle to offload our three kids for a weekend. I don't want to spend a fortune but I do want to do something nice. What have you seen that is fun and also memorable? Again, many thanks!

One memorable 40th birthday party that my husband and I were invited to took place on a cruise boat in the Bay - with dinner and dancing. We stayed overnight in a hotel in San Francisco with other party-goers, so that extended the festivities even more. Bonnie

Stay home, make him a nice dinner, and give him a wild night in bed. This is what most men want as a gift for any occasion. scott

A fun 40th birthday with kids

Nov 2005

I am turning 40 in a couple of weeks and would like to plan a fun 40th birthday party. I have a 6 week old baby, and most of my friends have children under the age of 3. I would like to plan a party that is FUN for adults and that parents can bring their babies to. Ideally, I would like to plan something indoors that is active and different. To give an idea of what I am looking for, if I knew where I could rent out a place that has a trapeez I might consider something like that. I'm not necessarily looking for something kid centered, rather I want to ensure that parents can bring their kids along without a problem (i.e. A bar at 10:00 pm probably wouldn't work). Any ideas you have would be highly appreciated! Mary

I attended a party at Trapeeze Arts in Oakland last year. It was fun for everyone, although most of the kids there were closer to teenagers than toddlers. Susan

We had my mom's 80th at Habitot. It was great actually. The children could play safely. We had the party after hours and rented the entire museum. We didn't have to worry about the kids and the adults all had a good time. anon

40th birthday for 50 people, music, bbq & beer

April 2005

I'd like to have a birthday party to celebrate my husband's 40th birthday party in August. I'm thinking fun and casual -- catered bbq, beer and music. I'd like recos on places that might be good for this type of party and would accomodate 50 or so people. I looked into the Redwood Heights Rec center, but it sounds like they're booked for August and don't allow alcohol.

You could try the Berkeley Yacht Club. They rent it out to people who aren't members for parties and such. They have a bar, and a kitchen (I believe you'd have to hire the caterers), as well as an area for bands. Karen

My husband has a cafe in West Berkeley called Home Cafe (900 Grayson at Seventh Street, near Scharffenberger and Ecole Bilingue) which he occasionally rents out in the evening for private parties. It accommodates 50 people comfortably (standing up, milling around), and there's also a beer bar and back patio. No room for a dance floor, though, if you're looking for that. The nice part about the cafe rental is that you get the whole place for yourself and your friends since the cafe is closed in the evenings. Check out the cafe during the day, and if you like it, call Bill at 510-919-7279 for more info. Clarisse

There's this place called the Congo Lounge above another place called Pizza Rustic. Pizza Rustica caters a variety of foods (not only pizza) for parties in the lounge upstairs. It's a fun little space that not too many people know about... ideal for a party your size. They lease out the space for a reaonable amount for private parties with full catering. I think they can hook you up with music too. I know that they have performances from time to time.

They've got a full bar with tiki lounge decor... so maybe a hawaiian shirt/hula skirt kind of party might be fun. The place is located on 5422 College Avenue in Rockridge. Hope you find what you're looking for! Good luck! Jina :)

There is a new gaming center located at 2570 Bancroft Way in Berkeley (cross street is Telegraph) that caters to large birthday parties. I took my little brother for his birthday and we had 20 kids playing video games all in the same game at the same time.. It was a ton of fun. Their website is www.glabonline.com. I would recommend this place for any private party for 10 year olds and higher as they are reasonably priced and its alot of fun. Justin

Need ideas for husband's 40th birthday party

June 2004

Hello: My husband is going to be 40 in Aug. and I am usually creative but I am stumped about how to celebrate. Please recommend something you may have done or think would be nice for a 40th birthday. Thank you! stacey

When my husband turned 40, I threw him a great suprise poker party. I invited about twenty men friends who showed up after a fancy family dinner. While his friends arrived I put up the card tables with green cloths, produced the chips, cards, peanuts, drinks, etc. Everyone seemed to have a great time and at 11 o'clock I served dessert and coffee. I know I REALLY pleased my husband. Janet

I chartered a yacht through a company out of Alameda called Compass Rose for my husband's 30th birthday. I got one of my friends to man the boat and to direct all the guests on board before I arrived with my husband. He thought we were going on a dinner cruise, which he was excited about as it was, but when he saw 30 of his friends on the boat, he was just ecstatic. I put scrapbook pages on all the tables and took polaroids of all the guests. Throughout the night, they were then able to put their pictures on their page and write him a birthday message. Everybody had a blast! Kelly

2003 & Earlier

Cheap 40th Party

Jan. 2003

My partner turns 40 this year, so we'd like to mark the occasion. However, cash is very tight this year, so I'm looking for suggestions on the best cheap party you've every held or been too. Must be child friendly, medium-sized crowd, outdoor options fine (birthday is in the summer). Is potluck too tacky? Cake and beverages too cheap? Thanks! Anon

Why not organize a weekend long group camping party? That way the party lasts all weekend and folks can come for as long as they like. You can have group meals and everyone can pitch in food and drinks. Big Basin and Tilden (as do other camping places) both have great group camping sites but book soon because they fill up fast. allison

I'm a big fan of fun, so here are some party ideas I've used for my birthday's in the past that I think are pretty cool. They are pretty cheap too!

1. Bowling. There is the bowling alley in Albany and another cool bowling alley in Castro Valley. I'm not sure what the names of either alley are but you could look them up online. Fun for all and kid friendly. I can't bowl to save my life but I still like to go bowling with friends.

2. Mini Golf. There is a cool course in Castro Valley, one in Concord, and I'm sure more are around that I don't know about.

3.Ice Skating. Lots of rinks around. I like the one in Berkeley more than the one in Oakland.

4. The Bocci Ball courts in Lake Merritt. You could rent the bocci ball kit from the park. Also there is a Bocci Ball group that will teach you and your friends how to play for free if you contact them in advance!

5.Crazy game and party in your home. Ask your guests to bring a game they like to play with others like Twister, Uno, Pin the Tail on the Donkey etc. Get a Pinata (sp?) and fill it up with goodies. Have a potluck and offer cake and beverages.

Potlucks ARE NOT TACKY!! They are fun, especially if you have friends that love to cook, or have the money to buy really good take out!!

Hope this inspires you or someone else! beth

Potlucks are never tacky -- they're a wonderful way to bring people together without a big display of consumerism, any pressure on guests to bring additional gifts, or any pressure on you to orchestrate a huge menu. Just make sure you specify what type of dish folks should bring, or (in my experience) you'll end up with seventeen salads. I went to a potluck wedding a couple of years back -- it sounded weird at first, but it was really one of the most relaxed and happy weddings I've ever been to. Actually, the location was great, too: a clubhouse on Panoramic Hwy, just down the road (south) from Mountain Home Inn. I don't know the name of it, but I bet you could find out from the Mill Valley Chamber of Commerce -- I feel like it's a mountaineers' club, or something like that. Alexa

How about taquitos (you could even buy the frozen variety), guacamole, margaritas and beer with lime and cake? A pinata for the kids. A variety of hispanic music on the stereo. Viva la Fiesta!

Last spring for my 30th b-day my husband organized a great party at our house. He purchased drinks from Costco, my mom made a huge lazagna anbd a couple other large dishes, there was a spread of tomatos, basil and fresh mozzarella cheese (also from Costco). And, he ordered a cake. He didn't plan to have people bring food but when people asked if they could bring something (which at least half of the guests did), my husband asked them to bring food. There was a ton of food, lots of kids and people had a great time. So, its definitely ok to have a 40th b-day party at your house and if people bring food, that is even better. I think there were about 50 people there and it cost us less than $400! had a GREAT B-day party

We used to have my daughter's birthday party at Lake Merritt, at the picnic spot right above the boat house. There are two (maybe 3) tables with a great view of the lake and a nice large grassy area for spreading blankets, throwing frisbees, etc. It's a bit back off the main road, and pretty quiet, not too much foot traffic either, besides the occasional jogger. Nearby: Your almost-40 partner and friends and family might not be interested in going to Fairyland (and can't get in without a child anyway) but attendees who want to do more than sit around chatting can walk down the hill to rent a paddleboat, sail, etc. See http://www.oaklandnet.com/parks/ for more info. They also have a larger boat to take groups for a whirl around the lake, which was $2/person last time I went and lasted half an hour or an hour. The bird sanctuary's a block down, the rotary garden's across the street, and there are walkways for biking, skating, etc.

You can reserve the tables up there through parks & rec, but we never did, just had someone show up early that morning and save it for us.

As far as potluck, how tacky it is depends on the sort of people you're inviting ;) We always did potluck, provided condiments, cake, drinks, etc. and it worked out great. Gwen

A potluck would definitely be tacky. However, if you have a party in the middle of the afternoon, nobody will expect a meal. A homemade cake, juice, chips and dip are fine and not too expensive. People come to the party for the company and not for the expense of the food. Have it in your house and use your own dishes to save on the expense of paper plates. Have fun! anon

I went to a 40th birthday party recently, where everyone met at a restaurant for dinner. Everyone order their own dinner, some paid as a group, some paid separate check. Everyone seemed to enjoy it. There were not enough space for the kids to run around, but noone seemed to mind (the kids, the parents, other guest nor the waitresses). The restaurant had a party room, although it's quite small, but private. Afterwards, we went to their house for cake, coffee and opening gifts. p.l.

My husband has a huge family, so I've had to throw my share of parties on a tight budget.... Two of the best bets I've had are spaghetti (could work for an italian theme) and nachos. I think the nachos are actually the cheapest - get a giant bag of tortilla chips from Costco (about $3) and huge can of nacho cheese, which you heat in a crock pot, and can even dilute with water. Everyone seems to like spaghetti and nachos, so you really can't go wrong with either one. Hope this helps! Heather

I threw myself a birthday party for which I asked all comers to bring 1.) their favorite dish + recipe and 2.) their favorite piece of music. We spent the night playing everyone's favorite music, which I recorded onto one tape for a really great mixed tape (and great memories!!). The recipes went into a scrap book with signatures and whatever else the person wanted to write. The food was great, the people relaxed and conversational with a built-in conversation topic--their musical tastes. I ended up with music from Early American Appalachian to hard rock to classical to Zydeco to African to South American. It was a blast--cheap for all comers, great for my memories. Amy

Ideas for 40th Birthday Party

Nov. 2002

I am looking for some great ideas on what to do for a good 40th birthday party in January. It seems that a lot of ideas are for outside which really don't work in January and we have a small house which doesn't hold a lot of people. We would like some ideas that would be fun and memorable for kids as well as the adults. kristi

For my mom's 60th birthday party we went bowling and did a 50's theme and it was GREAT. It was at the bowling alley in Danville. We had about 60 people and we divided them in teams and assigned them lanes. We had a tournament and gave prizes to the winners. Everyone had a button (pin) with a picture of my mom on it and that gave them access to the Bowling alley bar so they didn't have to pay for drinks and then the bowling alley tallied the total for us. We also had 4 Brothers Chinese (also in Danville) cater the event. The food was not fancy but it was plentiful, delicious and relatively inexpensive. We also got my mom an old style 50's bowling shirt with ''It's my B-day'' printed on the back. Last but not least, we hired an awesome male singing group to come sing some doo-whop type oldies and everyone loved it. It was really a fun party. I'd highly recommend it. Feel free to email me with questions or for referrals to singing group/pin maker/shirt company/etc... nina

Why not go bowling? Albany Bowl has food, a bar, and relatively cheap bowling. If you don't normally go, it could be fun and nostalgic. If it wasn't in January, I would also recommend going somewhere like miniature golf. Bring out the inner child! MizzBee

For my 40th birthday party, I had a dessert potluck. The invitations said ''you only live once -- eat dessert first!''. This definitely works as an indoor party (my birthday is also in January). I didn't have kids at the time, but this seems like an idea that kids would like too -- although I guess they might like it a little *too* much -- you might have to keep an eye on them to make sure they don't overdo it. I still think it's an idea worth thinking about, especially if you love dessert as much as I do. -- dessert lover

Restaurant for 40th birthday party


Does anyone know of an affordable restaurant with a private room for a 40th birthday party? Further complication is that we are doing it soon, and in December. Any suggestions would be much appreciated....

Restaurant for party - I don't know what your level of affordable is but Santa Fe Bar and Grill has a beautiful garden room for private parties and their caterers will work with you on price and service.

Venezia on University Ave. in Berkeley has a private room, as does Milano in Emeryville (their restaurant in Oakland on Grand may as well). The Pelican Inn in Muir Beach (Mill Valley) has a beautiful private room called the conservatory, but I believe you need to pay to rent it (this room is larger than those at Venezia and Milano). All three have great food, and I believe Venezia and Milano are both moderately priced; Pelican Inn is on the higher end. Good luck!

Try ZZA'S in Oakland on Grand Ave. They have a smallish banquet room for private affairs. From what I understand the food is very good.

Kensington Bistro which is a very lovely restaurant at Colusa Circle in Kensington is available for private parties. 525-1530.

A new restaurant on University Avenue in Berkeley next to Wild Oats called Pomegranate (1500 block, north side) has a private room. Reasonable prices.

I recommend Cafe de la Paz for the 40th birthday. They have a great room and great food and are very reasonable. I had my 50th birthday there. They are located across from Chez Panisse.

For the person looking for a restaurant with a private room: Mandarin Garden is a chinese restaurant in downtown Berkeley. The food is excellent and they can provide a private room. Just tell Bob Wong, one of the owners how much you want to spend per person and he will propose a menu.