my big fat portland finale
March 14, 2006 1:26 PM   Subscribe

I am looking for a reasonably-priced, cool venue for a private party in Portland, Oregon.

I am moving back to the Bay Area next month, and I'd like to have one last hurrah before I leave Portland. I live in a studio apartment, so hosting the party myself is not really an option. I am open to having a Saturday night or Sunday afternoon party, and I would be just as happy doing it outdoors as indoors, as long as there's a covered area for protection from inclement weather. I plan to provide booze & vittles, and I have both a food handler's card and an OLCC server certification. I also have a couple of friends who would love to DJ if we could figure out how to set that up. Have any Portland MeFites hosted or attended a private fete in a nifty venue that they'd recommend checking out?
posted by pudders to Sports, Hobbies, & Recreation (11 answers total)
Assuming that you don't need to host hundreds of people, check out Nocturnal on 18th and E. Burnside. It's a cool space that we've used for parties.

Dunno what the constraints on serving alcohol are, but they have a physical bar and all the DJ gear and soundsystem already setup.
posted by turbodog at 1:46 PM on March 14, 2006

I've not done this in Portland (yet) but I did several similar things when I was in New York. Basically, pick a bar you like, call them up, and tell them you'd like to basically take the place over on a Sunday afternoon.

I have found that, since bars are generally pretty dead on Sunday afternoons (except sports-oriented bars) they tend to be pretty amenable to the idea of a large crown of people coming in to buy their liquor. Often, they'll be perfectly willing to let you bring your own food in, as well.

This works better with dive-ier bars, of course, and tends not to work at all with bars that have corporate / chain owners.
posted by dersins at 1:49 PM on March 14, 2006

Acme, it's on SE 8th and Main... I'm too lazy to look for a website/phone number. They've got a P.A./Projector/etc. from what I've seen, host DJs regularly, and they definitely host the private shin-digs.
posted by togdon at 1:49 PM on March 14, 2006

turbodog: I sent an inquiry to Nocturnal last week and got the following response (posted in case anyone else ever needs this information). Which part(s) of the club have you rented?

It is $900 to rent the mainroom, it seats 70 and holds 200 standing. It does not have it's own kitchen and bar area. There are round folding tables and folding chairs included in this room.

The downstairs area has both a kitchen and bar area it rents for $150 when rented in addition to the mainroom. It seats 50. It can be rented on it's own for $500. The downstairs rents for $500 when rented on it's own.

There is also a small courtyard garden area with kitchen that rents for $150 when rented in addition to the mainroom.

You may bring your own liquor as long as you have a OLCC'd liscensed server serve it for you. This can be a caterer, a hired bartender, or a friend with a liscense.

There is a cleaning deposit for $100, which is refundable. If you decide to have a band there is a $100 sound fee. There is projection capabilities on both floors and a full sound system that can accomadate both bands and dj

The rental period is for 6 hours this should include your set up and take down time. If you need more time it is $65 each hour after that. Fee applies when time excedes 15 minutes.

posted by pudders at 1:59 PM on March 14, 2006

We rented both upstairs and downstairs because we needed the dance floor and the bar, but I've been to parties that were just downstairs (the bar).

How many people do you expect to attend?
posted by turbodog at 2:14 PM on March 14, 2006

Between fifty and a hundred.

I love the idea of having a whole space dedicated to my own personal party, but dersins got me thinking that perhaps doing a Sunday afternoon drop-in kind of thing might be a lot easier...there are tons of dives nearby that I like, like Club 21 and the Sandy Hut.
posted by pudders at 2:18 PM on March 14, 2006

FWIW, I live in Portland, and I have both an OLCC and food handler's card. If this had been a few weeks ago, I could have suggested a great space, but they closed down :(
I believe the OLCC needs notification from the venue that they will be closed to the public and people will be drinking there. Also, they can stop by to check up on the party. Buelahland on 28th and Burnside is pretty cool, and has been closed down for private parties before, but I'm not aware of their policies.
If you are in need, I'd be happy to 'bartend' for you as it can be a pain to have to do it at your own party. email is in my profile.
Good Luck!

PS, I second either ACME, or a place called The Know. Its a pretty interesting site. Also, The Know's page lists a decent amount of spaces that might be good for you. under 'links'.

PPS, another space to check, the upstairs or downstairs of The Goodfoot
posted by efalk at 2:20 PM on March 14, 2006

Either Sandy Hut or Club 21 would probably be perfect places for it, although Club 21 might be better due to being slightly larger, and less busy.

In fact, I was thinking of suggesting Club 21, but I wasn't sure what your location / preferences were...

If they tell you it's OK, you could even set up your food in the raised area by the video poker machines to keep it sort of out of the way, but still accessible.

Just make sure you call them well in advance, both to ask them if it's OK for you to bring in food, and to give them fair warning to expect a hell of a lot more people in their bar than they would normally expect on a Sunday afternoon.
posted by dersins at 2:48 PM on March 14, 2006

You can probably get a bar for free on a slow night if you offer them a bar guarantee, BUT:

1) Make sure you have a very good idea of how much money your friends will actually spend at the bar


2) Make sure the bartenders doesn't sell ANYTHING off the books, that includes 'giving away' drinks, which you'll end up having to pay for anyway when the bar comes up short.

Before the party starts, make sure you talk to the bar owner and the bar tenders ahead of time and be very clear with them that you don't want them to give away any drinks and that you'll want receipts at the end of the night and pay attention throughout the night.

That may be more hassle than it's worth, but it could save you a grand or so.
posted by empath at 2:55 PM on March 14, 2006

I have a reply to your question from a Monkeyfilter member who couldn't contact you directly since you don't have an email address in your profile, nor does he have a MeFi account. It follows:

"pudders - I've got a cafe in central Portland - on the corner of SE Grand and Morrison (I'm in the tallest building in SE, the big blue and gray). We are The Equator Coffee Cafe and we just opened up last month. I'd love to host your party; I've got wonderful coffee, teas, beer, and wine, and I could get a liquor permit for an event easily. I also am partnered with a caterer and I can accomodate for food of all types. And we are absolutely inexpensive. Send me an email if you are interested - Apologies for not responding directly to your post - I'm a MoFite. (: "

Hope that's of use to you!
posted by Melinika at 8:05 PM on March 14, 2006

I'm not from Portland, but I know a guy there who's involved with Ground Kontrol, a seriously kick-ass old school arcade. They do party rentals at a pretty resonable rate from the look of that page I linked too. If you and your friends are gamers at all, that could be very cool.
posted by cosmicbandito at 11:47 PM on March 14, 2006

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