It's the night before the big day, and it's a golden opportunity to spend some QT with your A-team. Trust us, the big day goes so fast, but your rehearsal will likely be more relaxed and intimate, so you can cozy up with your closest crew. Consider these Houston venues, known equally for delicious food, top-notch service, and inviting ambiance — no matter your taste or what slice of city life you want to share with your guests — for your rehearsal dinner.
Brenner's on the Bayou (Above)
Brenner's is charm on the Bayou with a hint of Lone Star flair and Houston history. This tucked-away location (open since 2007) exudes elegance, warmth and deliciousness like homemade Roquefort salad dressing, crunchy German potatoes and signature apple strudel — alongside steaks and seafood. We adore the two-story dining room and cozy cocktail lounge, but for large parties, the restaurant has a pair of spacious patios and two private rooms that can accommodate up to 200 guests. Even meal options include prix fixe menus, buffets, carving stations and passed hors d'oeuvres.
Bonus: There's also a wine cellar and lots of pretty backdrops for photos.
Photo: Courtesy of The Grove
Set in Discovery Green Park, downtown's 12-acre urban park, this contemporary two-story gem from Schiller Del Grande Restaurant Group feels like a glass tree house with its floor-to-ceiling windows. Two enclosed private event rooms provide lush views of Discovery Green, the sunset and the twinkling skyline. There's also an outdoor deck with combined indoor space that overlooks downtown and a canopy of statuesque old oaks. Available party space in the sprawling 17,000-plus-square-foot restaurant, open since January 2008, will accommodate a seated dinner for 240 guests.
Despite its size and urban dining appeal, the restaurant feels cozy and warm, not stark. What's for dinner? Dishes like seared salmon filet with marinated kale, Gulf red snapper with hominy mash and bone-in cowboy ribeye with crispy potato skins.
Photo: Courtesy of Le Mistral
This Energy Corridor fine-dining favorite serves up classic French cuisine and local ingredients with impeccable service, and they don't skimp on any of that when it comes to events. Affable, award-winning chef David Denis has crafted several menus for exquisite sit-down dinners, buffets and cocktail-style parties — or work with Denis to create a customized menu for a more personal dinner. The restaurant has its own events manager (Florence Leveque) who will "accommodate your requests and attend to every detail," plus an in-house florist.
The private party space — the Banquet Room — has a large balcony overlooking the patio, capacity for 60 seated or 120 guests for cocktails, plus it is equipped with speakers, microphone, WiFi and a large projector.
Photo: Courtesy of Ula's Mexican Restaurant
Fajitas and 'ritas, anyone? The second location of Ula's not only has a patio that begs for a party in the cooler months, but also it boasts a completely private room for 50 seated and 75 guests for cocktails. Mexican-born Chef Ulises Gonzalez (aka Ula) named the pretty space known as the Maya Avery Room after his daughters. The room has its own private entry and restrooms, surround sound, microphones, 60-inch flat screen TV and satellite system with computer connections. As for the food, regulars rave about the ribs, but expect an authentic Tex-Mex fest you and your guests will not soon forget no matter what's on the menu.
Photo: Courtesy of Liberty Kitchen & Oysterette
A hip, new River Oaks standout with a laid-back vibe (and one of several hotspots in the thriving F.E.E.D TX Restaurant Group stable), the light and bright Liberty Kitchen & Oysterette is home to a traditional Japanese robata grill, a vertical "trompo" grill and impressive displays of fresh seafood like whole fish. Exec chef Travis Lenig has stacked his seasonal menu with more than 90 items ("something for everyone"), from seafood towers and sushi to fresh-carved tacos all made from local and regional seafood, plus dishes made with Texas beef from Kenney and Cameron.
For rehearsals, there's an exclusive private dining room — with a dedicated staff — for up to 45 guests, and the events team promises to "work with you every step of the way to ensure that your party is an unforgettable experience."