How to enhance a private dining room for private events

How to enhance a private dining room for private events

Private dining rooms (PDRs) are no longer just for intimate dinner parties. Instead, many restaurants across the United States are incorporating event-friendly elements into their venues to accommodate everything from influencer lunches and brand launches to corporate conferences and awards banquets. We spoke with 10 event professionals in the restaurant industry to get tips on how to incorporate everything from retractable walls to Instagram-worthy views to full-fledged bocce courts to attract ever-growing event crowds.

1. When it comes to amenities, never settle.
COTE Miami is a popular upscale Korean steakhouse in the posh Design District where the hospitality is unparalleled. At this vibrant Michelin-starred location, servers take care of the cooking on tableside grills that reach up to 700 degrees to deliver interactive multi-course dining experiences with USDA Prime, American Wagyu, Japanese A5 Wagyu cuts, and authentic side dishes taking center stage.

This distinguished service also extends to the Pineapple King Room, which seats up to 10 people for special occasions and features two grills – one on each side of the table. “The most unique quality of our PDR is our signature grilling tables, where every bite of steak is grilled to perfection in front of you,” says Amy Chu, Director of Operations and Partner. The Pineapple King Room at COTE also offers YETI coolers upon request for parties that want in-room bottle service, as well as a private sound system for custom tunes and a hidden flat-screen TV for personal viewing, game season and DIY karaoke parties.

Cho feels that the most important components of a great PDR are style, comfort and energy. “With PDRs, you’re often paying for power versus privacy,” she explains. “Don’t settle. Choose a PDR with great finishes and amenities, so you don’t miss out on anything.”

2. Divide larger rooms into a welcome reception.
When you envision your event being held in a private dining room, consider the space’s ability to open up and host more than one main event. At Bourbon Steak DC, which offers beautiful views of the C&O Canal in the heart of Georgetown, the team uses an air wall to divide the 480-square-foot private dining space that seats 38 into two rooms as needed: Batch and Spirit, which can A welcome reception is also allowed.

“The trend I see starts with a cocktail reception,” says Eric Stump, general manager of Bourbon Steaks DC. “With our guests, this gives them a more well-rounded experience, with a variety of options including appetizers and entrees that allow us to activate different parts of the space for guests to enjoy as they mingle.”

By day, the curtains of the 800-square-foot, 50-seat private dining room at the Los Angeles bar can be closed or drawn depending on the scope of the event.By day, the curtains of the 800-square-foot, 50-seat private dining room at the Los Angeles bar can be closed or drawn depending on the scope of the event.Photo: Regan Norton

3. Lighting is key.
At Bar Bar Los Angeles, an Indian restaurant with a Victorian-inspired design, special events are always organized with lighting in mind. “Classic Victorian elegance lies in the antique-look chandeliers that give the space a vintage feel,” says partner Jyoti Vera. By day, the curtains of the 800-square-foot, 50-seat private dining room can be closed or drawn depending on the scope of the event. “It is a versatile space where tables can be rearranged and lighting adjusted to suit the needs of the event. Lighting is essential to match the vision and is agreed upon in advance.

Since the space sees a lot of media, influencers and brand-focused events, lighting is an important factor when photographing. “Looking to the future, we hope to evolve our PDR systems by incorporating elements that enhance both the functionality and aesthetic appeal of the space. We envision lighting that is adaptable and can be fine-tuned to match the mood of any event,” says Vira.

4. Pay attention to the flow.
Boston’s Gufo features a unique indoor-outdoor courtyard space surrounded by an 8-foot-high wooden fence, creating a private ambiance within the city’s urban environment. The Italian restaurant’s courtyard includes a bocce court, a fire pit and a covered patio that is enclosed and heated so it can be used during the colder months.

“Our space is uniquely long and narrow, so it’s important to communicate ‘flow’ to guests and help them understand how versatile our space truly is in its ability to accommodate a range of event styles from social cocktails to sit-down dinners,” says the manager. Events by Meg Warner. “Help your guests and customers understand the importance of flow from the beginning of the planning process. Having a stocked wine/drink station, even if it’s not necessarily a full bar, gives guests a clear place of where they can go to get/order drinks.

5. Ask about customizability, and limitations of third-party vendors.
In Washington, D.C., Via Sophia at Hamilton Hotel’s PDR prides itself on being intimate, comfortable, and a true extension of the restaurant — without being attached to it, adding a sense of exclusivity. The ability to customize the space is the most important feature, says Regional Food and Beverage Director Joseph Palminteri.

“Personal touches, such as personalized place cards, flowers, various decorations, audio-visual materials, and branded items, are all great tips for making your gathering unique and memorable,” he says. “It is also important to ask in advance if there are any restrictions on bringing in outside vendors rather than working with “preferred vendors.”

6. Choose an Instagram-worthy view.
It’s no secret that organic social media is a great source of free advertising for exceptional places. At the Tiki Hut on Hilton Head Island, South Carolina, Beach House food and beverage director Matt Suckow says the venue takes full advantage of this with a private tiki hut that seats 20 people for events.

“One of the best views on the island, located atop the treetop, gives guests a stunning Instagram-worthy view of the beach and ocean,” he explains. “This private area is lit with tiki torches in the evening and allows guests to relax, drink with friends and create memories.”

In order to achieve this mission, Suckow says a place must have an ambiance that connects with the guest and promotes enjoyment. “If this is a real, authentic experience, it will create a seamless connection,” he says.

7. Look for the “wow” factor.
Whether new or newly refurbished, many PDRs go the extra mile to offer state-of-the-art technology features to specifically appeal to a special event crowd. Nicco’s Prime Cuts & Fresh Fish debuted in early December at the new $780 million Durango Casino & Resort in Las Vegas, pulling out all the bells and whistles of the highly anticipated Balcony Room. “Does the space completely wow guests?” asks Rene Di Ledoux, Director of Sales and Catering.

To illustrate, the Verdanda Room will be a fully enclosed glass room featuring a glass ceiling and full-length retractable walls. These will open to the surrounding water features and to an additional private seating garden with more water features and a large oak tree in the center of the outdoor space. In addition, there are two more PDRs connected to the air wall and a special bar.

“The future of PDR is definitely natural lighting, stunning views, indoor and outdoor dining, out-of-the-box A/V options that the guest can easily control, high-quality sound systems, and dedicated Wi-Fi and Internet access,” says Di Ledo. “.

Garibaldi at InterContinental San Diego is an Italian island-inspired rooftop restaurant that provides a unique and adaptable private space for businesses and social groups.Garibaldi at InterContinental San Diego is an Italian island-inspired rooftop restaurant that provides a unique and adaptable private space for businesses and social groups.Photo: Diana Rose

8. Be careful when it comes to planning.
Private dining rooms are for more than just dining. Garibaldi at InterContinental San Diego is an Italian island-inspired rooftop restaurant that provides a unique and adaptable private space for businesses and social groups. The venue has been used in multiple event contexts, from food and wine tastings to weddings and even art installations.

Holistic awareness is important when thinking about event programming, says Jacqueline Colligan, restaurant catering sales manager. “You’ll definitely want to make sure there’s plenty of space to mix and mingle before guests take their seats. If there’s a presentation, consider how to position the seating so everyone can easily see the screen or speaker. Place the food stations carefully, being careful not to Obstructing views.

9. When faced with multiple options, remember what you want your event to accomplish.
Sometimes, you may get lucky and find a restaurant with multiple private dining spaces. When faced with the problem of choosing the right space within a single location that offers more than one PDR option, do your homework. Located on Lake Buena Vista in Disney Springs, the Orlando-based Paddlefish Hotel offers three floors of semi-private and private spaces, indoor and outdoor, for all types of receptions.

“Think about what you want from the beginning to best plan the space, seating, food, music, etc.,” offers Kate Harrelson, Director of Sales. “Each event space within a venue offers something different, and one may be more suitable than another.” For example, a rooftop deck may be better suited for casual mingling rather than dinner, and a banquet room may be too large for a smaller, more intimate gathering.

10. Service should be proactive but never aggressive.
At Twenty-Eight Atlantic at Wequassett Resort & Golf Club on Cape Cod, the PDR’s focal points are its floor-to-ceiling windows offering views of Pleasant Bay, along with a wine wall and other chic coastal touches. However, providing a five-star experience on every job is key.

“The most important benefit is the five-star fine dining experience, as well as the team’s ability to provide proactive but not intrusive service,” said Alton Chun, regional managing director of the dining team at Wequassett Resort & Golf Club. “Our private dining groups sometimes use the space for a business meeting or an intimate family celebration, and it is important that the restaurant team is fully aware of how to deliver service in a harmonious manner.”

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