By Anna Sekula Posted July 5, 2011, 9:00 AM EDT
NEW YORK These new and soon-to-open restaurants and venues in New York have private rooms and semiprivate spaces for groups both big and small, appropriate for events, meetings, business dinners, presentations, and other types of entertaining.
1. Replacing Thor as the Hotel on Rivington's in-house restaurant is Co-Op Food & Drink, a project from Alan Philips and Jason Apfelbaum of Guerrilla Culinary Brigade. Billed as a modern American brasserie and sushi bar, the spot opened in May and serves fare from executive chef John Keller, who previously worked in the kitchens of Le Bernardin and the Bruno Jamais Restaurant Club, and Sushi of Gari alum chef Stephen Wong. In addition to a main dining room, lounge, and bar—the look of which were created by event and interior designer DeVinn Bruce of H. DeVinn Visual—Co-Op offers a private room. The 40-seat space overlooking the dining room was once a conference room and is being renovated. Slated to be completed by August, the section will have audiovisual capabilities for presentations.
2. Less than two years after the closing of the old favorite Café des Artistes, Gianfranco Sorrentino and his wife, Paula Bolla-Sorrentino, reopened the space as Leopard at des Artistes. The Southern Italian restaurant debuted in May and still has the former occupant's famed Howard Chandler Christy murals on the walls, but sports a new look from the renovation, with terrazzo floors and higher ceilings. Within the 95-seat eatery is a parlor space for groups, which seats 16 or holds 30 for receptions.
3. Inside the seven-month-old Setai Fifth Avenue is Ai Fiori, the Italian and French restaurant from chef Michael White that occupies the second floor. Dominated by neutral tones, comfy banquettes, an illuminated bar at the front, and lounge seating, the spacious 185-seat dining room is group-friendly; but for those who want complete privacy, the eatery offers two rooms. The smaller space seats 10 and the larger seats 18—the separate areas can be combined to hold groups of 28.
4. Chef Geoffrey Zakarian is behind the National restaurant in Midtown East's Benjamin Hotel. Inspired by classic European cafés, the 120-seat Rockwell Group-designed venture debuted in November last year and is furnished with black-and-white tiled floors, distressed blue and chocolate-colored leather banquette seating, marble-topped tables, and antique mirrors. A bronze spiral staircase leads from the main restaurant to the second floor, where five dining rooms are available for private groups; the entire floor has the capacity for 200-person receptions.
5. Late September saw the opening of Riverpark, an East River-adjacent restaurant from chef Tom Colicchio and his 'wichcraft partner Sisha Ortuzar. Inside the Alexandria Center for Life Science, the eatery was designed by Bentel & Bentel and is suitably subtle and contemporary in its aesthetic, marked by natural materials such as burnished bronze, weathered oak, and brushed limestone. Within the 174-seat, open-plan space is a 150-seat private room, which can be divided in half for smaller gatherings.
6. In the growing area surrounding Lincoln Center, Stephen Hanson's B.R. Guest Restaurant Group opened the second outpost of Atlantic Grill. The 290-seat location of the seafood house opened in September, taking over the spot that housed 46-year-old Irish pub O'Neals, with whitewashed brick, tufted red leather booths, and black-and-white photographs lining the walls. There's plenty of room for private groups. A lower-level area has the capacity for as many as 25 people, and the two dining rooms can be booked; the 65th Street section seats 100, and the 64th Street space seats 150.
7. In the works and on the books to debut in September, is Romera, one of the recently opened Dream Downtown's in-house restaurants. Chef and neurologist Dr. Miguel Sánchez Romera is responsible for the eatery's unusual menu, serving what he calls “neuro-gastronomy,” in a 52-seat space designed by architect Glen Coben. Romera will have a private dining room when it opens; the capacity is currently not available.
8. Although chef Sam Talbot's Imperial No. 9 inside the Mondrian SoHo doesn't have a dedicated private room, the sustainable seafood restaurant can cater several locations available for private dining, events, and meetings at the hotel. This includes the gallery, which consists of an 1,100-square-foot room and a 1,400-square-foot terrace and holds about 250 people for receptions, as well as the 1,170-square-foot penthouse suite.
9. Williamsburg's winemaking facility and bar Brooklyn Winery opened its doors for private bookings in January, allowing corporate and social gatherings access to a number of areas within its 8,000-square-foot space. Among these sections are a private room known as the parlor, which overlooks the wine barrel room and comes equipped with a 20-person communal table and audiovisual gear for presentations; and the semiprivate gallery and Portrait Room, which, combined, offer space for 25.
10. For a more custom experience, culinary demo and tasting venue the Kitchen NYC has a dedicated room for presentations and food and wine pairings. Adjacent to the two kitchen studios, this space is decorated with a wall of wine and furnished with two 50-inch LCD TVs. The tasting room seats 20 or, when combined with one of the studios, holds as many as 80 for receptions.