If you find yourself lamenting the qualities of arugula over frisée and obsessing about Cotes du Rhone varieties, maybe your wedding celebration needs to be ultra James Beard-worthy. Having a restaurant reception means you can try the menu ad infinitum in the months leading up to the wedding and choose the best dishes for your party; plus there's no outside catering to bring in, making for one less headache. These New York City restaurant venues offer brilliant menus and exquisite event spaces to boot.
ABC Kitchen (Above)
Food lovers with a conscience take note: ABC Kitchen offers its same farm-to-table, humanely sourced, fair trade menu for events. Although it doesn't offer a private room, the Jean-Georges restaurant can be rented out and its light wood furniture, white brick walls and décor from ABC Carpet & Home will make every wedding photo magazine-worthy.
Photo: Courtesy of Central Park Boathouse
If you're stuck on the idea of a cinematic New York wedding, it doesn't get much more iconic than the famed Central Park Boathouse. French doors lead to a wraparound, wooden deck overlooking a 150-year-old lake brimming with rowboats, ducks and turtles. The indoor dining room allows for backup weather plans, while the seafood-inspired menu is praised for its jumbo lump crab cakes and tuna tartare.
Photo: Courtesy of The Four Seasons Restaurant
With three private dining rooms and two public spaces, The Four Seasons is well equipped for intimate weddings as well as raucous dance parties. The restaurant's been hosting special events for 50 years, and lives up to its upscale name with stellar service and a menu running the gamut from asparagus soup to filet of bison.
Photo: Courtesy of Bryant Park Grill
A charming, peaceful hideout adjacent to Bryant Park, the Grill is great for its ambiance as well as options. Three dining areas include the Rooftop, the French-inspired Garden (al fresco dining during the summer or covered with clear tenting during winter months), and the Grill, featuring a wall of windows overlooking the park. The menu includes an extensive whiskey selection and sparkling wines aplenty.
Photo: Courtesy of Locanda Verde
Feeling rustic? The Robert De Niro-owned Tribeca triumph is equally known for its pillowy, homemade pasta as for its dark wood and open kitchen. The restaurant's private dining room includes a working stone fireplace, recycled oak and pine flooring and a family-style Italian menu for sharing.
Photo: Courtesy of Riverpark
With a menu that lets seasonal and local ingredients star in the show, Tom Colicchio's Riverpark is an understated answer to midtown Manhattan. Located on the East River, special events can be held in one of three spaces: The restaurant itself with three rooms and a central bar; The Cube — a glass room with its own outdoor patio; and East Terrace — all outdoor and the closest you can get to the river without a bathing suit.
Photo: Courtesy of Pier A Harbor House
Ideal for nautical themes and large parties (this place has 28,000 square feet!), the historic Pier A dates back to 1886; it was originally New York Harbor Police headquarters and renovated in 2014. Downstairs is a semi-private beer hall and oyster bar that feels like an early-1900s pub, while two additional floors feature private dining rooms and bars — all with views of the Hudson River.
Photo: Courtesy of Bottino
Situated in Chelsea's gallery district, Bottino offers several clean, bright room options befitting downtown arts enthusiasts. The indoor Pool Room leads to the partially covered North Garden patio, and a smaller enclosed East Garden all offer the restaurant's Tuscan Italian menu items and "boutique" wine selection.
Photo: Courtesy of Casa Lever
Located on the ground floor of the landmark Lever House glass skyscraper, Casa Lever is sleek and modern with a menu is proudly devoted to Milan. Four possible event spaces include the main dining room, intimate private dining room, famed Level House lobby and an outdoor terrace.
Photo: Courtesy of The Palm Restaurant
While The Palm's 1926 flagship midtown location is under renovation, there are three other outposts to experience the legendary steakhouse's Mad Men-reminiscent charm. Palm Too, Palm West and Palm Tribeca all host private events, complete with white table cloths and famous caricatures sketched on the walls. The Palm Tribeca is largest, with four private dining rooms and a menu that sticks to classic options like lobster bisque, Filet Mignon and hand-cut French fries.