Venue for a Party
Archived Q&A and Reviews
Party space or restaurant for 30 guests
My sister and her new husband will be in Berkeley in January for a celebration of their marriage. They were recently married outside the area. I would like to have a party for them with approximately 30 guests. Does anyone have a recommendation for an affordable space to rent (with a kitchen to use for food we will bring) or perhaps a nice room in a restaurant for the party? We would like something comfortable that allows for mingling and conversation as well as eating and drinking. Sometimes small rooms at restaurants make it difficult to talk to anyone other than those sitting next to you. East Bay preferred but SF possible. Thank you! Party Planner
I recommend the Unitarian Universalist Church. They have a room called the Fireside Room that would be great for your size of a gathering. There is a full service kitchen and plenty of parking. This is the one in Kensington- www.uucb.org. I'm a member there and have seen many a groups rent out the space. There's always the retreat house in gorgeous Sonoma County, too. It's called Freestone. Monica
Looking to rent a place for a craft party
Hi-We are looking for a place to have a Baby blessing ceremony that involves having all participants decorate small flags. We are looking for a place, preferably in the East Bay, that has tables for children and adults to do painting and decorating with beads, sequins etc, so could be a little messy. Ideally, this place would be regularly used for crafts and could provide some of the supplies such as paint and glue- if not, we can bring it. Anyone know of such a place we can rent for a few hours on a weekend? Thanks in advance for your help. Andrew
We love MOCHA which is the Museum of Children's Art. We've hosted 2 or 3 bday parties there, and attended a couple of other children's parties. They have great collage materials, and the teaching artists help tailor the project to your interests. You'd have to call them about the particular configuration of people, but I've definitely attended parent child workshop times there. loves to play with art supplies
Try MOCHA (Museum of Children's Art) in downtown Oakland. I have been to children's birthday parties there. It may be just what you are looking for. Lots of workspace. Lots and lots of supplies. Sounds like a great idea for a baby blessing. Have fun.
MOCHA, the Museum of Children's Art, in Oakland, does party rentals. http://mocha.org/ Carrie
Family get-together for 50-60 people
My extended family gets together in SF every year for brunch/lunch on the Sunday before Christmas. We're looking for a new location this year that meets the following criteria: (1) has a room big enough for 50-60, ideally with some room for kids to run around, (2) has decent food, and (3) is moderately priced. Family members are pretty much all over the Bay Area, so someplace outside SF would work, too. All suggestions appreciated (even if we're too late to reserve for this year). Thanks! Kathy
I would suggest Temescal Beach House (through East Bay Regional Park District) in Oakland (by hwy 24/tunnel) for this get together. It is a great location with a room that kids can play in, a fireplace, a view of Lake Temescal . Very cozy.
My siblings and I are looking to put on a 50th anniversary party for our parents and are seeking recommendations for good restaurants, party locations and/or caterers in the Berkeley area. Our initial idea is a 50's themed party. Should be about 50-100 guests. Any ideas welcomed!
We had my husband's 40th birthday party at Bette's Oceanview Diner in Berkeley - since they are closed at night, you can book the entire place (we did a Saturday night) and their choices of menus were really outstanding. I know there was one that was typical ''malt shop'', and you also get free use of their excellent jukebox, which Bette will stock with era-appropriate music if you ask. We had 50 people for sit-down but could have had more if we used the counter seats and/or had more of a standing/mingling theme. The price was very good, too, and we still have friends comment on it years later. Sue
Good places 4 a party (art gallery, coffee house)?
Hi, plan to host a party as a celebration of my new business for 50-75 clients. I would like it to be within a few blocks of BART in Berkeley or Oakland on a weeknight. I'm looking for a good, hip, fun, space that I could rent, like an art gallery, a coffee house, or a small room in a restuarant. I could have it catered or use the food that's provided. Thanks in advance for your recommendations.
I have a recommendation for the person seeking an art gallery or coffee house for business launch party. The Linen Life Park Avenue is an ''art gallery'' near Pixar Studio in Emeryville that is a ''great'' space for a party. Some access to Bart, but parking is not a problem. Ask for Darrell Robinson and tell him Gregg Brown referred you. It is really a classy hip place and your guest will be extremely impressed with your choice. You can cater yourself or have them arrange. Gregg
I'm looking for a place I can rent for a private Saturday night dance party for a 45 year old birthday celebration. Many of the older posted venues no longer exist, so I am hoping for some new ideas! Ideally a place where we can play our own music with a dance floor and bring our own food and drinks- A place like Ashkenaz would be ideal. party mama
I DJ for a lot of different family-friendly gatherings and have found that there are nice multi-purpose rooms for rent by local churches, temples, and other religious centers, as well as senior centers. I suggest that you choose a neighborhood or part of town that best suits you and your guests, and then look at the spaces in that area. They often include access to a kitchen, which is nice when you're having a private party. Flooring is a major factor to consider for a dance party. Some dance studios are available for rent, but may not allow shoes. Don't forget about parking, too. Feel free to contact me if you'd like to brainstorm about specific venues. Good luck! - DJ Sandina sandina10 [at] earthlink.net
Try the Hillside Club, on Cedar St. in Berkeley. http://www.hillsideclub.org/rds. R.K.
I had my 50th birthday party at the Boat House on Lake Merritt. It was fabulous! You bring your own music (we used a DJ) and food. You can find out price and availability from the Oakland Dept of Parks and Rec. It was very affordable and the location couldn't be better. They have a great kitchen there with many kitchen supplies. The dancing space is perfect. Best of luck! Barbara Lee
Check out the Oakland Parks Dept. Sequoia Lodge is a great party/dance place. They have a ''sunken'' sitting area with a big fireplace. There are 2 other places within the Oakland Parks Dept...I can't remember the names...one starts with ''L'' ....they all have great dance floors and kitchens and parking. Good luck, anon
Seeking Hall Rental - New Year's Eve Party for 100
Hi, I am seeking an affordable hall rental to throw a party for NYE for about 100 people or less, All ages. Something in or Near Berkeley ideally. Someplace Not dumpy and not expensive- something in between in decent neighborhood, ideally with parking, close to BART, and HWYs. Could be a church, community center, dance center, etc. There will be NO alcohol. Thanks. David
A couple of possibilities that spring into mind in North Berkeley are the Hillside Club on Cedar St and the auditorium at the Jewish Community Center on Walnut St, but it's hard to make recommendations without knowing your definitions of ''affordable'' or ''dumpy.'' Good luck!
I am looking for a location to host a Halloween Party that is reasonably priced or free to non-profit organizations. The age range is infant - 5 years old approx. Stumped .....
Kids 'N Dance in Oakland and Lafayette rents their space. Not too expensive. KM
You can rent out the fieldhouse in Point Richmond for parties. It is a large building full of toys, things to ride on or climb, and has a large grassy playground surrounded by a fence. There is a kitchen, bathrooms, kid sized table and chairs etc. It is run by PRAM (see www.PRAM.net) and is inexpensive. The cost to rent the fieldhouse is only $50 for a 4 hour time slot or $75 for the whole day.
I'm looking for an in-door rental facility in the East Bay for my husbands 50th Birthday party. The facility will need to accommodate a band, dancing, and 100+ guests. We're on a budget so I'd like to keep the cost of that hall down to about $600. I've looked at the existing recommendations on the website, but still need additional suggestions
My husband & I got married at the Sequoia Lodge in the Oakland hills. It's run by Oakland Parks & Rec. It's a beautiful lodge with full facilities;we had 80 guests, catering, a DJ with dancing, and full seating with tables, and the room could have held more. The price was reasonable at the time, but I don't know what it is now. Give them a call for a price and a look-see. andrea
If you're interested in Berkeley, you might want to check out facilities on and around campus. There are large meeting rooms in the student union building and in some of the residential facilities. Extension has a building in downtown Berkeley (around the corner from the main library) with a large ballroom with a beamed ceiling and a fireplace. I have no idea the cost of these rooms. Good luck anon
I have rented the City of Albany's Community Room. Its large enough for your party, resonable rates, and they do the table/chair set up for you. The Coordinator I worked with was Jess and his number is 510-559-7217. Chelle
You might try the Sons of Norway Hall on MacArthur about a block south of Fruitvalle. I think they can accomodate about 100 and they are very reasonable. Parking is tight, but you can probably use the Safeway lot next door. A number of AC Transit lines run near by so your guests can easily use the bus or come up from BART. Have fun! David
Try the Joaquin Miller Community Center. http://www.oaklandnet.com/parks/facilities/rental_joaquinmiller.asp The City of Oakland also has other sites available to rent. Merrilee
I know a great place for your party - Lake Merritt United Methodist Church in Oakland. I am the facilities manager for the church and handle all the rentals. Our social hall easily acommodates 100 folks, a band, and dancing. The view of Lake Merritt is wonderful, too. Please give me a call at 510-465- 4793 and we can discuss details. By the way, we also rent out our sanctuary for weddings and holy unions. We have meeting space as well. so if anyone is looking for an East Bay location for their event, please give me a call! You can check our website at www.lakemerrittumc.com for pictures. B Avalon
Can anyone give personal recommendations on where to host a large party (for 200, evening buffet) in the East Bay? I'm interested in details like quality of food, on site or brought-in catering, parking, costs, etc. Thanks in advance. Helene
I would definitley recommend the Rockefeller Lodge in San Pablo, CA. I had my wedding there and it was beautiful. The lodge is surrounded by gardens and fountains and they have a beautiful indoor area with a bar. They offer a buffet dinner and or appetizers. They are in the phone book and they have really reasonable prices. Try it you will love it. Alex
You could try the Faculty Club at UCB. It's beautiful and they can cater a buffet or a sit down dinner and they provide everything. We had our wedding there and it was great. Katherine
Check out the book ''Here Comes the Guide.'' It is geared towards weddings, but it is very handy. FYI - people have to pay to be included, so it is not objective nor inclusive. You can probably find it in your library. Helena
I am the new facilities administrator at Lake Merritt United Methodist Church on Lakeshore Avenue in Oakland. I can recommend our Stark Room for a large party of up to 200 or so guests. We do not offer catering, but an awesome kitchen is available for caterers to use. Parking is on the street. While this seems to be a potential problem, we have had many large events and people have seemed to find a place to park. Rates vary according to group size and facilities needed. We also have a spectacular sanctuary for weddings. Please check out our website at lakemerrittumc.com. I would love to help you out! B Avalon
MOCHA (Museum of Children's Art) is a creative place for a buffet-style party. It is a fun setting, not fancy, but your party could range from informal to formal. The gallery space is really nice. Outside is a courtyard for guests to take a breather. This is at 538 Ninth St in ''Old Oakland.'' You would have to arrange for the catering (La Cheval and the brewery are each within a block, as is a nice deli.) You can also hire MOCHA artists to have an art activity for guests. 200 would probably be the max you'd want to have. Call MOCHA at 465-8770 to inquire about costs, capacity etc. Lissa
I did not see the specific question about a Big Party location so I do not know if you are only interested in the East Bay but I recommend that you check out Pacific Bell Park for party rentals. I work here at the Ballpark and we have lots of options to choose from. If you are interested, please contact Giants Enterprises at 415-972-1800. emurphy
I'm looking for a place to have my 30th b-day party. The party will have about 50 guests. I would prefer to bring my own food, otherwise veggie friendly appetizers. I would also either like a full cash bar or be able to bring in alcohol. I'll have a DJ, so dance space is key, too. I looked at the archived suggestions, but alas all were either unavailable or too expensive. I've tried community centers & churches, but most have a 10 PM curfew or only do weddings (?!?!?!). I've also tried Cafe de la Paz & Pyramid Brewery. Any leads you could offer would be great. Or if someone wants to lend me their house :) 30 year old party animal
It may be too far for you, but I've had two birthday parties at the Italian-American Hall in Alameda. It's a somewhat sparse place, but there are plenty of tables & chairs, and a sufficient area for dancing and a small DJ setup--as well as a small stage. (I taught some line dances and it worked out just fine.) There is also a big, working kitchen. I think there were 40-50 people each time and it was maybe 1/2 filled. There was an extra charge for having alcohol on the premises (insurance). I rented it through Andy Pagano at Pagano's Hardware on Lincoln; Andy has since passed away, but I'm sure if you called the store, they could tell you whom you can rent it from. I seem to recall that it was $150-200 for the whole night. Have fun! Jennie
The Allegro Ballroom (Emeryville) - it has dancing space and is very reasobable in cost. Best of luck
There's a lovely small school (65 students) on Pinehurst, basically in the canyon between Montclair and Moraga. The site is spectacular, nestled amongst redwoods. The building itself is new and quite lovely. I know the school, like all CA schools, is hurting for money, and I wonder if they'd be willing to let you use the facility for your party for a small fee on a weekend. I think they also have a kitchen. I think they've had bands play there on weekends for fundraisers,and they have a community room that looks like it could accommdate 50 wild dancers quite nicely. Check out photos at: http://www.canyon.k12.ca.us/school/photos.htm There's contact info there, too. You could call and ask... Jennifer
Hi, I do not know what all has been mentioned, but I do know of 2 great places. One is the Black Box in Oakland on 19th and Telegraph. Laura(ie) is the manager. There is a dance floor, art gallery, couches, they have a bar, and if they are allowed to sell thier liquor, or whatever, they give u a cheaper rate. There is space for food, a loft that has space for more sitting and eating. They close up at 2am. There's room for a DJ and it is sooooo nice. I have thrown concerts and my mother's 50th b- day party. There is plenty of parking, Bart is right around the corner, bus stop right in front. Very nice and the people are friendly.
Also, Ashkenaz on Gilman and San Pablo, Starry Plough on Shattuck, La Pena on Shattuck off Ashby. All of these are in Berkeley. Also, check the Berkeley Marina hotels. They can be reasonable at times. That's all I have to offer as far as suggestions. Hope they help. Good Luck Marissa
Have you considered the Berkeley Yacht Club? they have a full cash bar along with a kitchen that you or your caterers could use, and room for at least 100. And you don't have to be a sailing nut to book it. Other yacht clubs may have similar possibilities -- I'm not sure. You can find information about them on line -- just do a google search. Karen
You might try the Redwood Heights Rec Center. It's very inexpensive, has a nice kitchen and a not completely beautiful, but dress-upable space. I think it's ~75, with an additional cost for a liquor license. Phone number: (510) 482-7827 Website; http://www.oaklandnet.com/parks/facilities/centers_redwood_heights.asp
I am looking for a venue for an adult birthday party. I've looked at the UCB Parents Web Site and saw the suggestions for restaurants, but I am looking for a place where we would be able to have a band and catered food. We're hoping to do this in either December or January and would prefer to do this in Oakland or Berkeley, or at least somewhere in the near East Bay. Our price range for the rental is about $500-900, more if there's an inclusive price. Nothing too fancy, but nice and large enough for 50-75 people. Thanks for your help. Nicole
Oakland Zoo - the Snow Building. I attended a party there once and it was a great location. They brought in a band and caterers and all worked well. JaredJo
You might try Preservation Park in downtown Oakland. They have two or three different sized halls that are very nice. I think they are listed in the yellow pages under the City of Oakland. Olga
There are 3 places I know of to rent thru (I think) East Bay Parks and REc. One is the Sequoia Lodge, one is Leona Lodge (that may not be the right name) and there's one more. All 3 are in Oakland in nice places and have kitchens dance space and parking. Sequoia Lodge is really nice with a big fireplace and lots of redwood and woodsy. I've been to weddings and birthday parties at all 3. They seem to be fairly available if you're not terribly choosey about dates. Have fun, June
Note from Myriam:
Sequoia and Leona Lodge are actually a City of Oakland Property. See information here: http://www.oaklandnet.com/recreation/recreation.html and here: http://www.oaklandnet.com/recreation/recreation.html
Some ideas and places where I've been, although I don't know any prices at all * Sequoia Room in Montclair (frontage room on east side of Hwy 13 between Park Blvd and Lincoln Ave). Very plain and somewhat secluded, but can accommodate 50-70 well. * Brazilian Room in Tilden Park - they may have other rooms as well. Nice view over the lawn. Nice for wedding too. * Claremont Hotel, but I don't know if it'll meet your price range. * Could also try a local resort or golf club. * Could possibly rent a room at Waterfront Plaza, but I wonder if they allow bands ?? Would be nice to step out for a breath of fresh air on the marina. * Does the San Leandro Marina restaurants rent rooms? * There may be Oakland Park & Rec places to rent. Good luck! Tom
the Brazil Room in Tilden Park - size is right for your group. You can use only one of about six caterers that they allow, but there's some variety. REntal fees are cheaper for weekdays. Mary
Recently we held a catered wedding reception, with dancing afterwards, in the large social hall at my church. The caterers told us this was a GREAT place (large kitchen) and that we should advertise it more. The room has a small stage where a band could set up, a fireplace, and tables and chairs for 100+ people. We are on Cutting just one block downhill from the Arlington. Mira Vista United Church of Christ. 7075 Cutting Boulevard, El Cerrito 94530. Phone (510) 234-0110. Usually the large social hall rents during the day for $20 per hour, minimum 4 hours, with an additional $50 for the use of the kitchen, so the cost is very reasonable. Bonnie
I do a lot of party planning for work (as such, also for friends!). A great site I use all the time for party planning is the wedding site www.herecomestheguide.com. It can help you find other venues if these don't work for you. I use it all the time! December is going to be a tough month as most places will be booked with holiday parties. I think you'll have better luck for January! Here are my suggestions: 1) Call East Bay Regional Parks - they have several beautiful sites within the parks that might work including the Brazil Room, which is fairly expensive. Others are more affordable. 2) Berkeley Yacht Club in the Berkeley Marina is around your price range I think. Their number is 540-9167. 3) Leona Lodge from City of Oakland is very reasonable at around $65/hour. It has a very woodsy feel with a huge fireplace and is off Hwy. 13 in Oakland. The number is 238-3091. 4) Joaquin Miller is a bit more expensive but is very nice also! The number for that is 482-7870. Good luck! -Allison
I want to throw a big (50 - 100 people) congratulations type party sometime shortly following the holidays, preferably in January, and I am looking for creative ideas to make it more fun than just drinking and chit-chatting in a hall. I would like it to be a party where the guests participate in the fun. My one idea is that I would like to do a show-plus-roast type thing, so I was hoping to find a place with a stage or at least an area that could act as a stage (but this idea could be shelved if it doesn't fit with a larger or better activity/location). My first idea was the Albatross pub, which would have been great. The space there is comfortable and homey, and people could have had fun playing darts / pool / board games rather than just standing around. Problem is they don't rent out the whole thing or even a large part. Something like that would be perfect. I am open to kids-included or no-kids, day or evening, and even outdoors if it comes with a suitable indoor option in case of rain. Location ideas should be Berkeley or surrounding areas. I went to the UC Parents website and to Here Comes the Guide.com, both of which have many good location ideas, but primarily for hall type venues. Also - if someone has experience coordinating a roast with skits / stories / songs, your wisdom would be appreciated. Thanks in advance for your ideas.
You might want to try a museum. At the Lawrence Hall of Science there are numerous rooms/areas that you could use, including an auditorium for the roast. I also recommend the Alumni House on campus. With the couches and fireplaces, it feels like a big living room instead as opposed to a hall. Good luck! Helena
I am looking for a venue of some kind (theater preferable)to host a fundraiser. This fundraiser includes a night of speakers and performances that should be great. We have extreamly well known environmetalists speaking at this event. We have them booked for the evening of Friday June 7th. We were planning to use the Little theater at Berkeley High School but there was a miscommunication about that.....so now we have a wonderful event and no place to hold it!! Any suggestions would be greatly appriciated. It must be June 7th, in the evening, and in Berkeley( or near by) The venue must hold at very LEAST 150 people. Cheap is good too!If you have further questions you can contact me via email. Thank you. Very much in need, Sara
Perhaps the main floor of the old club builing (now a hotel) that is just uphill of the University Art Museum. It is between the Art Museum and the Cafe at College and Bancroft. I know they have parties and other events there. It might be worth a try. How 'bout the Hillside club? May not be Theater-enough like. How'bout one of the elementary schools? Thousand Oaks has a nice looking cafeteria-Theater space. Whittier-Berkeley arts Magnet doesn't look so bad either. Some churches may have theater space in their community halls. How 'bout the Berkeley City Club on Durant? Or- if you must go out of Berkeley - the Vetrans Hall in El Cerrito. Good luck - hope this brainstorming helps. Let us all know if you find a good place! hopefully helpful
An organization I work with recently rented the Rosa Parks multipurpose room for a forum. It was $12/hour for the space but custodian time is another $25 or so/hour. There is also some kind of insurance requirement. I imagine that other schools have auditorium space as well. Good luck. Berkeley parent
The Downtown Berkeley Public Library has an huge directory of local venues available for rent. The reference librarian can help you. Steve