Dear PoPville – Relaxed, chill bars/restaurants that will do a reservation for a party?

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“Dear PoPville,

I am planning a birthday party for my partner, and am looking for a fun venue where we can reserve a private area. I’ve done some research online, of course, but it seems like most of the places I am finding online are more traditional restaurants with private rooms, which isn’t quite the vibe we are going for. I was thinking more along the lines of the Garden District, or Dacha Beer Garden, but I realize those places are purely first-come, first-serve. Does anyone know of any relaxed, chill bars/restaurants that will do a reservation for a party? Outdoor space is a plus, but not necessary.”

38 Comment

  • Not sure if you are looking for free or if you are planning on spending $$$ but:

    Free: Black Squirrel in Adams Morgan let’s you reserve areas at no cost. My party (30 – 45 people) took up the entire floor a while ago and was given our own private cocktail waitress.

    $$$: Rock N Roll Hotel has different options available. One is you can rent out the roof. However, there is a cost for each spot. Here is the info: http://www.rockandrollhoteldc.com/private-rentals/

  • binpetworth

    DC Science Club will let you have a floor to yourself. There’s usually no charge for it, so long as you agree to spend a certain amount while you’re there. I think it was $500 when my friend had her birthday there recently.

  • epric002

    domku? they have a separate back dining room. not sure about reserving it, my computer is refusing to open their site right now…

  • Every year for my birthday I reserve the basement of The Pinch. It’s divey for sure, but they’re a great group of people and we always have a fun time.

  • Here’s the issue – are you going to spend money? Nice places are not going to book rooms or sets of tables for you if your friends are stopping in for only one drink. They usually want a guaranteed minimum spend, especially on a weekend evening.
    .
    One place I’ve had success for booking tables for work happy hours and events is Dirty Martini on Connecticut Ave. They have long bar top tables running down the length of the main floor area and a HUGE curved banquet area near the bathrooms where lots of you could hang and order drinks/apps from the waiters. Not sure if that’s your vibe, tho.

    • If you’re looking for something like Dacha or Garden District, then rest assured Dirty Martini is not your style. It doesn’t appear to be anyone’s style, actually, as evidenced by the crowds that absolutely aren’t there.
      .
      It’s small, but I’ve heard from friends that Bardia’s New Orleans Cafe will let out their space.

  • DuPont Italian Kitchen (17 and R NW) and Diegos (14th and W NW) will let you use the top floors for free if you bring a certain amount of people. They are the same owners, fyi.

  • My fiancee booked the upstairs room at the Saloon on U Street for my birthday (http://www.yelp.com/biz/the-saloon-washington). The room only opens for private events, but we had our own bartender and could bring our own music to hook up to their speaker system. I’m not sure how much she paid, but some of the room cost is tax deductible as it goes to the owner’s charitable causes (and I believe there’s a discount if you live in the neighborhood as we do). Highly recommended.

  • I reserved the upstairs of 6th Engine (400 block of Mass Ave) for my 30th (fit around 60-65 people comfortably). The price will change depending on the length of time you want to reserve, but overall it’s more on the pricier end. That having been said, the staff is top notch and fun, and they set it up so you have your own bar upstairs and can also arrange for food service as well.

    Another option is Irish Whiskey in Dupont. You can rent either the top floor (recommended) or the basement area.

  • Try St. Aronold’s in Cleveland Park. They can accommodate large groups. The food is good and reasonabily priced, as are the drinks.

  • Try St. Arnold’s in Cleveland Park. They can accommodate large groups. The food is good and reasonably priced, as are the drinks.

  • 1905 on 9th street. it’s a small, intimate space , not private but would only be shared with a few other tables depending on the size of your group. they have a nice roof deck as well but not sure that can be reserved.

  • I’ve been to a few private parties at MOVA.

    • MOVA has a seriously under-appreciated roof deck that would work well for a party of 20 to 30, if memory serves.

  • Maybe the back patio at Chez Billy or reserve some of the long tables downstairs at Meridian Pint?

  • If you’re into divey bars, Blaguard at 18th and FL will reserve their top floor for you and your party for several hours at no charge.

  • I believe Policy (on 14th St) will let you use their 2nd floor, no charge.

  • Chez Billy will do reservations for large parties, and their back patio/beer garden is great. I don’t know if they do reservations for the beer garden, though.

  • I’ve had success with American Ice for this, but it needs to be at a non-peak time – I don’t think they’d allow it on Saturday evening – but Saturday afternoon worked for us.

  • The Big Hunt will let you rent out their basement bar with a private bartender for $100.

  • Black Squirrel–they have a private party room that’s no charge to reserve. I hosted my engagement party with them and the staff was very accommodating. Nice room and chill atmosphere.

  • Mad Hatter. I’ve done separate rooms for free with them.

  • We were able to reserve space (most of the back room) at A&D for a group of about 25.

  • We were able to reserve space (most of the back room) at A&D for a group of about 25. No room fee.

  • i reserved the “reading room” at petworth citizen for my birthday at no cost – they even told me they’d bring on an extra bartender!

  • Local 6 has an upstairs room with its own bartender for free.

  • You can rent the Presidential or Big Buck Hunter rooms at Rock and Roll Hotel and get your own bartender I believe. Not sure if they rent their roof deck but that would also be cool.

  • bourbon in admo rents out its loft level for $125-$150. the space fits about 30-35 and they give you your own bartender upstairs and a bouncer at the bottom of the steps to make sure random people don’t wander up. spots in admo can be hit or miss but the dj was great that night and it was nice to overlook the dance floor without being squished by the crowd.

  • check out vinoteca. they have a private room upstairs and i think a patio too.

  • I think someone already mentioned Black Squirrel, but I’ll go ahead and do it again. Booked Black Squirrel’s third floor for my birthday party. We got our own bartender and were able to hook up our music and decorate. They don’t charge if you bring a largish group. The room is really quite nice with a full bar and craft beer.

  • Smith Commons (H Street NE) rents its third floor – which includes a small outdoor space – to private parties. The terms vary by reservation date/time and party size, but after some negotiation I managed to secure the space for three hours on a weekend evening for free. Best party I’ve ever had.

  • How about the second floor at Big Board (H Street NE)?

  • Agora on 17th Street in Dupont Circle has a nice upstairs party room room that can be reserved

  • The upstairs room of Shaw’s Tavern is awesome. I reserved it for a very reasonable fee on my 30th birthday last summer, and in exchange my friends and I had plenty of space, our own bar, and a very accommodating staff.

  • Scion Restaurant in Dupont Circle has a private room in the back you can rent for free, and can hold up to 30-40 people.

    Also Baby Wale on 9th street has a private upstairs, no cost but it is about $1000 minimum bartab on weekends.

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