10 New Holiday Party Venues in New York

By Anna Sekula November 15, 2010, 9:00 AM EST

The Trump SoHo hotel's SoHi

Photo: Daniel Aubrey

It's that time again—time for the company holiday party. Here are new restaurants, bars, and other spaces that can work for corporate holiday events, employee gatherings, and other end-of-year festivities.

1. The aptly named SoHi is the Trump SoHo's penthouse event space, which sits atop the 46-story property and overlooks the surrounding area through floor-to-ceiling windows. Designed by Handel Architects specifically for intimate dinners and small receptions, the 1,700-square-foot room marked its official opening last month and has polished floors, movable partitions, and a sculptural geometric ceiling illuminated by color-changing lights. SoHi holds 150 people for cocktails or seats 120 banquet-style.

2. Equally as elegant is the Scholastic Penthouse Suite, the latest space offered for corporate and nonprofit events in the book publisher's SoHo headquarters. Replete with modern furnishings, the duplex became available in August and is suited for sit-down gatherings as well as receptions; the entire site seats 24 or holds 75 standing. As with other venues in the landmark building on Broadway, Scholastic provides on-site catering and a full in-house production team.

3. In the midst of other high-end eateries, B.R. Guest Restaurant Group's all-American Bill's Bar & Burger Rockefeller Center provides a laid-back alternative for sizable corporate gatherings, with 400 seats spread across a bilevel site marked by red leather booths, gingham checkered tablecloths, and walls of graffiti art. Private groups can buy out the 4,866-square-foot street-level space, which opened in September, and nosh on the menu of amped-up pub grub like chicken B.L.T.s, blackened mahimahi tacos, and horseradish potato skins.

4. The 10-year-old Hudson Hotel revamped its restaurant in June, recasting the 3,000-square-foot space as a modern interpretation of a collegiate dining hall. Now known as Hudson Hall, the eatery has a built-in video-projection screen wrapping the perimeter of the room, which can be used with the sound system for private events of as many as 300 people. The selection of cafeteria-style food—made from produce and ingredients sourced from the Hudson Valley—includes dishes like dry-aged beef sliders, peekytoe crab rolls, and compressed watermelon salads.

5. Apella's polished mod aesthetic was crafted by architectural firm Bentel & Bentel and complements the meeting space's striking views of the East River. The venue, which debuted last month, offers a variety of flexible areas, including a 2,480-square-foot suite that can be divided in half, a lounge with room for 74-person receptions, and a corner room with the capacity for 40 seated banquet-style. Riverpark, a new restaurant chef Tom Colicchio opened with 'Wichcraft partner Sisha Ortuzar, occupies the floor below and is the exclusive catering partner.

6. Overlooking Times Square's bright lights and busy streets, R Lounge is the Renaissance New York Times Square Hotel's drinking and dining spot that opened in September. Comfortable and contemporary furnishings mark the stylish space, where Blue Ribbon's Bruce and Eric Bromberg provide a menu of comfort food, including  fried chicken wings, grilled cheese panini, barbecue pork sliders, and smoked salmon toast. R Lounge has room for as many as 200 people for receptions.

7. Expansive and fancifully decorated, the Hurricane Club is Fourth Wall Restaurants' modern take on a Polynesian eatery and serves an impressive selection of 35 specialty drinks designed by pastry chef Richard Leach to complement an array of oversize desserts for sharing. The space itself is divided into a series of themed rooms and has several spaces for get-togethers, including the 60-seat Volcano Room. There's also the 32-seat Bora Bora Black & White room, and the semiprivate Cave Rooms, which each seat 20.

8. Julie Reiner, the mixologist behind the Flatiron Lounge and the Clover Club, opened her Hawaiian-style bar Lani Kai last month in the SoHo space once occupied by Tailor. Cocktails are the central focus of this bilevel hangout, with an array of tropical tipples to match a menu of bites and sharable platters. The decor complements the food and drink—bamboo-patterned wallpaper, leafy plants, and a seashell chandelier bedeck the bright and airy spot. Both floors of Lani Kai can be used for events; the 1,200-square-foot space upstairs holds 75, and the 1,500-square-foot main level holds 100.

9. Bowling still appears to be one of America's favorite pastimes, at least in New York. On November 19, Bowlmor will open Bowlmor Times Square, its largest location yet. The mammoth 90,000-square-foot alley inside the former New York Times building on West 44th Street will offer 50 lanes, divvied up between seven different sections. For instance, the six-lane area styled after Andy Warhol and his infamous studio can be booked for 100 people, while the Central Park Lanes area holds 175 and has room for an additional 75 in the adjacent Central Park Lounge.

10. Frames, the facility inside the Port Authority formerly known as Leisure Time Bowl, is another bowling alley for holiday events. Renovated and reopened earlier this year to better accommodate private parties, the venue has 28 lanes, which can be booked for holiday parties, and when combined with the lounge, hold as many as 450 people. Buyout of the lanes, the lounge, and the in-house restaurant can hold 570. Packages are offered, including those with buffets, passed platters, sit-down dinners, and beverages.

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