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Suggestions for Rehearsal Dinner site in Raleigh?

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Yup, orulz is tying the knot! Since it seems there are a lot of folks here who know the restaurant scene better than I do, I'll ask for advice.

I'm looking for a site to have the rehearsal dinner. We're expecting a party of 30-40 people, and we're trying to keep it to around $35 per person (meal, a few drinks, and service inclusive.) Somewhere with a private room would be nice, but not absolutely essential. We're trying to look first to somewhere in "urban" Raleigh, as in Hillsborough Street, Cameron Village, Glenwood South, 5 Points, and downtown, as that's where the ceremony and reception will be, but I would consider elsewhere too.

First place I looked into was Cafe Luna, but you only have one option for a large party like that, and it comes in at about $46 / person, which is too much.

Also looked into Piccola Italia (Love that place), but they can't accomodate large parties on Fridays.

A couple other places I'm planning on looking into (but haven't yet):

The Pit

Porter's or Frazier's


518 West

Tir Na Nog (That might be fun)

Prime Only (probably too expensive)

Any other thoughts?

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Frazier's probably couldn't do that on a Friday either, they're not big at all. Porters has a nice private room for parties but I am not sure if it'd hold that many. If it does, then that's a good option.

Bogarts probably has the best capacity to hold a private party of that size. They got a big room sectioned off in the back. And classic jazz is a good background music for that kinda event. I have no idea the price they'd set though.

518 West may be nice, but that building has an echo problem that may make it a bit loud....if that's an issue (older relatives who are hard of hearing, for example) then I wouldn't recommend it. (A similar issue would be found at Riviera or Humble Pie, fyi.)

I know nothing about the Pit, but the size of it from what I remember as Nana's, should work. However if you got any vegetarians in the party, that may not be the best choice.

Tir Na Nog also has a private little area....if I recall it looks like an Irish cabin? Price-wise, they'd probably be closer to your range than most of the others you mentioned. Biggest downside to them is the smoky bar is in the center of the restaurant and it wafts over to nonsmoking areas on occasion. But if that isn't too big of a problem then it's worth considering.

Also, look into Yancey's. I've seen private events held there before. I don't know if the price is in your range or not. But it would be fun.

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Congrats Orulz!

I am surprised Cafe Luna is that much and have been to wedding functions there before. Fraziers will be more than that though I'd check it out since there is a party room shared by them and Porters. People not "urban" minded still like Bogarts and they put on a decent show though they too will be expensive I believe. 518 is a good medium I think. If you were considering Piccola Italia then maybe give Moonlight Pizza a look too..its trendy upscalish though your party would take up 2/3 of the place. Irregardless gets overlooked and could handle you I believe. Evoo near 5 points might have an extra room though I do not know their prices. Duck and Dumpling has a private room for like 20ish people. Tir na Nog of course has a huge private room. 5-Star has the private (indoor)balcony which I have rented before for like 100 bucks for a few hours...not 30-40 people would be pushing the space a bit but the food is great. Michael Deans (now on Falls of Neuse) is a known large party space with a good reputation, though not urban by UP standards. Also try the new places up near Seabaord like J Betskis and 18 Seaboard...I don't know anything about them but both look nice from the outside. Good Luck!

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First off, congrats!

As having recently gone through all that (though my wife did 90%+ of the work -- her choice!), here is my experiences.

We had our rehersal dinner at Bogarts. They have two private rooms, so can accomodate different sizes. Our rehersal dinner was around 30 people, and the back room to the right was a perfect size. They have two menus, and the lower one could fit your price range, though that depends on how much your guests drink. It included the room rental and wait staff.

We didn't look at the Tir Na Nog cottage because it was already booked. It is pretty big, but having been to work functions there, it gets hot in a hurry.

We looked at Bella Monica, but it was hard to get all the guests from downtown for the rehearsal to out there for dinner, and while they have really good food, they don't have a private area.

We had our reception at Porters, so our experience may be different. But we took over all of Porters and the private room. It is long and narrow, which probably works well for a rehersal dinner. For our reception, as long as we were over a certain minimum spent on food, there was no charge for renting the restaurant itself. I don't know if that applies to the private room, though.

The Pit won't be "private" but they could probably reserve a few tables together in the back corner. I don't know how accomodating Hibernian would be, but it is kinda smoky.

There is a private room above Morning Times is used for parties and catered via the shared kitchen. I don't know costs, food options, etc. though.

You might try the Sheraton's restaurant. They had ok prices for food (looked at having our reception in one of the ballrooms) but they charged a lot for odd things like gallons of iced tea. Yancey's has been slow to open their banquet hall (opposite the WTVD studios from the main restaurant). Maybe that will change as we get closer to the opening of the convention center?

If it isn't going to be for a while, maybe the Cinelli's dual italian place will be open in 222 Glenwood, or the restaurant in the new Marriott CC hotel?

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It might be tough on a Friday night but 518 has that side room or upstairs (not enough room but who knows. The side room has a pull-close fan door that they use to close off for private parties. I know a company that had a dinner at Cafe Luna and it was very enjoyable. (I heard). You might want to look at the upstairs of Riveria.

I talk to Ed Mitchell at The Pit and he was telling my friend and I about how a group could do a pig picking in the restaurant. You might just want to do a "order off the menu" which I think can be done for under $35 per person.

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