INV Penthouse roof
So its your birthday, bar mitzvah, wedding, bachelorette party, divorce party...insert name here. And of course to celebrate your own fabulosity you want to rock it out.
All of a sudden, promoters are sending you emails, restaurants are giving you free cake, Ontourage wants to give you and your friends a free bottle of champagne, Sephora wants you to go pick up your free birthday bar of soap.
All these choices coming to you when all you want is to go down to the local brewery and throw down a beer.
Here are several things to look for when looking for a venue
1. Do not fall for a scam. Obviously nothing in life comes for free. Every year every club you've ever signed up for will send you a "You've won a free party for you and your friends" or "Get a bottle of champagne for your birthday!"
But make sure to read the fine print. They send everyone that email so essentially you're not winning anything except unknowingly bringing them new customers. Many of these places require a table reservation for the bottle of champagne, a minimal number of guests and/or a wristband purchase.
For example, Howl at the Moon sent their listserv a "you've won a free VIP party" where all guests get free cover before 7 pm and VIP admission. The thing is, if you call the venue, EVERYONE gets in free before 7 pm regardless of your party and there really isn't a VIP section. The closest thing to VIP is them seating you close to the stage, which they can easily do for anyone who shows up, since the crowds are thin before 9.
2. Make sure your venue can accomodate the number of guests. If you want to throw your party at a local bar without renting the bar for the night, make sure the bar can accomodate your 20 people on a busy thursday night. At local bars like Dugan's, Drum and Monkey and others in South Loop, Thursdays can be one of their busiest nights and your guests may be left standing outside while they fill to capacity.
3. Make sure your venue does not have an existing event package that is better than the one they are offering you.
Many promotion companies hold specials on weeknights such as Funky Couture, Global Adrenaline, Surreal which may include hosted bar for an hour, free cover, or sponsored open bar for an hour for their promoted parties. However, when you call the venue, they will probably give you their standard packages which they have on hand and is usually $20-$40. If a promoter offers $10 for open bar, why pay the same venue $35?
4. Do your homework.
Many places are THRILLED to have you throw your party there because it means they get an extra 20 people coming in to buy drinks or a wristband without any promotion on their part. One company even offers to pay you $10/guest as a pseudo promoter. So keep in mind that whatever they offer you is negotiable. If you want a table but don't want bottle service- it doesn't hurt to ask for one.
Examples of things that different venues offer:
- Religion: Funky Couture offers bottle service starting at $150/ bottle with a few bottles of champagne thrown in
- NV Penthouse: (also Funky Couture) offers free cover, cabana table, wristband, and first drink comped for all my guests.
- Zed 451: packages start at $6,000
- Howl at the Moon: free appetizers before 7, free cover before 7 pm, $2 drink specials