Venue for a Party

Parent Q&A

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  • Hi there, I’m wondering if anyone can recommended a venue to hold our dad’s 80th birthday party. It will be about 50 people, and that seems too big for a private room at a restaurant and too small for a lot of the event spaces around town, which seem better for bigger parties. Looking for a late afternoon event with casual dinner and drinks. 

    Any suggestions of places that might work? We are open to Berkeley, Oakland, kensington and contra costa county.  Thank you!!

    Lake Merritt Hotel has a beautiful space overlooking the lake. 

    I struggled finding a space too. I wanted a safe area, flat parking lot, an elevator, excellent quality food and enough room for mingling, immaculate, airy, well apointed, festive features and I imagine you want these too. I loved Ceron Restaurant on Webster Street in Alameda, parking lot at rear entrance. Event space is entire second floor. The terrific delicious food, in-house baker, easy-to-work with management, pretty tables and wonderful servers made my baby shower for 36 a very sucessful event. There was plenty of room for three times the guests. Everyone loved it. Highly recommend this place.

    St. Alban's in Albany (right on the Berkeley border - a block off of Solano) has a beautiful hall available for a reasonable rate. There's a kitchen and dishes available, too. A nice size - tables and chairs, etc. Here's the website:

    We had my mom's 90th birthday at Trader Vic's in Emeryville. I'd never actually been there but heard older folks like it. It was a big hit with everyone.  They have private dining rooms of different sizes that have views of the bay and the marina. Easy access, easy parking, festive atmosphere, fun for young and old. We got leis for everyone and told them to dress in tropical clothing. You can set up a fixed menu in advance for the group, food served family style, and decide how much if any tropical drinks you want to provide. The food is not foodie level but it's not bad and the buffet offerings had something for everyone. We passed around mai tais for everyone before the food was served, and then guests could visit the bar after that and buy their own fancy cocktails if desired.  It was fun and we got some great photos.

    We've also had family birthday parties - especially brunches - at Skates on the Bay in Berkeley.  Both Skates and Trader Vic's are set up for parties and have a pretty good system for planning that made it relatively low stress for me. 

    Hello! It’s in SF, but I wanted to suggest Hayes Street Grill in Hayes Valley. They have a very large, beautiful light filled half of the space that they close for events. I had my 50+ person baby shower there and it was so memorable and the food was fantastic. An SF legacy restaurant that’s been in operation for 43 years. 

    It’s my mother in law, Patricia Unterman’s restaurant so please let me know if you’re interested!

    Thanks and good luck!


    Check out all the Oakland Parks & Rec buildings available for rent. I used Sequoia Lodge for my wedding of about 40 people, and it seemed the right size for 40-50. There are others, I think something next to Lake Merritt, one at the MLK shoreline, Leona Lodge in the hills, etc. The Oakland ones seem a better fit for you than the Berkeley ones. Of course, these are only space, you'd need catering as well.

    I would encourage you to check out The Phoenix in Alameda. They have a great space that is large enough for your group but still small to feel intimate. I've been very happy with the bookings I've done there. I also recommend the winery on the Alameda base, I can't remember the name but an event I attended there (about 60 ppl) was very nice. 

    I've been to recent events at the Brazilian Room and El Cerrito Community Center--

    Brazil room – pluses: really lovely, great views ; minuses: might be difficult for older guests to get there without help; you have to use their caterer (the food was fine.)

    El Cerrito Community Center – pluses: relatively accessible space, good for disabled people, nice room, some outdoor space; minuses: not beautiful. I'm not sure about whether you need to rent furniture or if it comes with the space.

    Another idea – your father's church or synagogue – most have a social hall and some outdoor space. Some might be available for rent to nonmembers.

    You might check out some of the yacht clubs in the area; they often have spaces available for rent. I got married at Berkeley Yacht Club (you'd need an outside caterer). I've seen private rentals at Encinal YC in Alameda, which has a restaurant so I think they can provide food. Other clubs I'm familiar with (though not with rental options) are Alameda Yacht Club and Richmond Yacht Club. 

    Temescal Beach house?

    • Seated Capacity: 80
    • Standing Capacity: 130
    • Indoor Dimensions: Fireside Room 29’x29’,
    • Lakeview Room 38’x15’
    • Patio Dimensions: 92’x28’
    • Parking: 15 dedicated spaces in gated lot, Additional public parking in North lot (fee charged on weekends/holidays Apr-Oct)
    • ADA Accessible

    I have seen a few families have gatherings just under 50 people at the Arlington Clubhouse, and the fees online are pretty reasonable! I think you'd have to have your catering come to the site or bring your own food and drink -- Link below:

    I've done events on the patio at Gather Kitchen in DT Berkeley.  The patio is lovely, has space heaters, and they can section off some of it for a private party.  You can arrange to order off menu and the vibe is casual and food is great.  I did my husband's 50th bday there for 35 people - everyone loved the food and it was really reasonably priced (I think we paid about $1200 including the entire bar tab!). It is also much cheaper and easier than renting a venue and hiring a caterer.

    I just wanted to second the recommendation for Trader Vic's in Emeryville. It has lovely views of the Bay and seems like a lot less work for you than renting a space and hiring a caterer. My aunt and uncle had their 50th wedding anniversary there 12 years ago -- it was lovely and the tropical theme was fun (they met and got married in Hawaii). 

  • Looking for a Venue for a large party

    (1 reply)

    Hello BPN community, I am looking for a venue that provides in-house catering, tables and linens (decorations would be a plus) for a party for about 250-300. Location wise, I am open to any cities in the East Bay. I would really appreciate your leads and recommendations.  

    Thank you, 


    Craneway in Richmond comes to mind, maybe Doubletree or Berkeley Women's Club in Berkeley?

  • I'm looking for a fun place to hold a co-ed bar/bat mitzvah party for kids. I'm not looking for just an empty event venue, but a place with something to do. I know about Playland-Not-At-the-Beach, the Bladium, Plank, etc., but am looking for other ideas, preferably in Oakland/Berkeley. It will be on a Sunday afternoon in November, so it has to be indoors. Probably around 50 kids? Thank you!

    I had my son's Bar Mitzvah party at Rockin' Jump in Dublin. We rented out the facility and also had about 50 kids plus a handful of adults. The kids had a blast, and my son was over the moon. It was expensive, but cheaper than a venue+bar mitzvah-type DJ. Feel free to contact me directly if you want more info. Here is a link  to my yelp review:

    You might try Pacific Pinball Musem

  • Hi

    My daughter would like to have a kids-only dance party on the Saturday night following her bat mitzvah.  It won't be a huge number of kids but we want a space that is big enough for a DJ, for them to dance and for them have a food table. She wants a room that already has lights and other decorations or where we could bring them.  We will have out-of-town guests, though not very many, so the ideal place would have a small room nearby where the grown-ups can have tea and dessert without being blasted by the DJ.  We live in Berkeley and can't go too far away.

    Thanks so much!

    The Berkeley City Club has multiple rooms. The ballroom with the adjacent patio could be a good option.

    Check the El Cerrito Recreation Department facility rentals, either the Community Center on Moeser or Arlington Park. Also check the Kensington Community Center and Live Oak Park.

    This may be too far away. We were married in the Old C&H workers clubhouse/Lanai in Crockett. It is pretty large, has a stage, a fire place,  and has a kitchen/food prep room, and smaller is large enough to serve the senior center community dinners in. It may also be too big. It was a great place for out wedding.

    JCC is a lovely venue. You can rent the big hall and the courtyard.  Or, the Albany Community Center.

    Hi--I office at the First Congregational Church of Oakland.

    Their booking info is here:

    They have a large fellowship hall, "Reidenbach Hall" that is good for dancing and rooms off the hall so you can have your parent space.

    Parking is good as well.

    Hope this helps. 


    I suggest looking at Berkeley Yacht Club, which is located in Berkeley Marina.

    The Berkeley Fellowship of UU has event space for rent.

    Central Stage at Richmond Annex would be a good place:

    Address: 5221 Central Ave, Richmond, CA 94804

    Tel: 510-823-5990

Archived Q&A and Reviews

Party space or restaurant for 30 guests

Nov 2010

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- 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

March 2010

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. Carrie

Hi, Check out Glitter and Razz ( it sounds like just the place you are looking for, and they will even provide as much or as little help as you want. Good luck. claire

Family get-together for 50-60 people

March 2008

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.

50th Anniversary Party location

August 2008

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)?

March 2007

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

45th birthday dance party

Feb 2007

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]

Try the Hillside Club, on Cedar St. in Berkeley. 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 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

Dec 2006

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!

Halloween party for non-profit

Oct 2006

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 and is inexpensive. The cost to rent the fieldhouse is only $50 for a 4 hour time slot or $75 for the whole day.

Band & Dancing for 5oth Bday - 100 people

Feb 2004

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. 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 for pictures. B Avalon

2002 & Earlier

Buffet for 200+ people

March 2002

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 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

30th bday party w/ dancing & bar

Sept. 2003

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: 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;
RH Resident 

East Bay venue for adult bday party with a band

Oct 2000

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: and here:

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 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

Place with a stage for a large party

November 2001

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, 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

Theater for fundraising event

March 2002

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 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