Fall Preview: 8 Most Anticipated New Boston Event Venues

By Kara Baskin August 29, 2011, 9:20 AM EDT

Photo: Courtesy of the Marriott Long Wharf

These new (and renovated) restaurants, hotels, bars, lounges, and raw spaces in Boston are opening in the coming months and have indoor, outdoor, private, and semiprivate spaces for small and large groups, for meetings, events, holiday parties, and business entertaining.

1. Noted chef Jody Adams, who helms Rialto at Cambridge’s Charles Hotel, will open Trade at Atlantic Wharf in Boston’s up-and-coming waterfront area this fall. The casual neighborhood restaurant, with a focus on local ingredients, is available for buyout, seating as many as 150 guests, or 250 for cocktails. A private dining room with full audio capability seats 32, while a lounge area seats 70.

2. Slated to open in September, Catalyst is one of many new restaurants in Cambridge’s Kendall Square. The venue will offer modern American cuisine in a space designed for groups: The Crick, Franklin, and Watson rooms, along with the foyer, each accommodate 100 guests seated at rounds. Each room offers opaque glass sliding walls, which are soundproof, plus flat-screen televisions obscured by wooden panels. The dining rooms also have floor-to-ceiling windows, allowing for natural light. A heated patio can host cocktail receptions.

3. The Boston Marriott Long Wharf, with waterfront views, debuted its Harbor View Ballroom in late August. The space is available for buyout, seating 160 for a plated dinner at rounds or 130 with a dance floor. Cocktail receptions are available for 200, or 140 on a seasonal patio. Additionally, a private dining room at the hotel’s Waterline restaurant accommodates 40 seated and 60 for receptions. Marriott’s in-house technology team facilitates audiovisual equipment, and an on-site event planner is available to coordinate flowers, music, and other external vendors.

4. Boston’s Ritz-Carlton Hotel, overlooking Boston Common, is undergoing renovations that include a refreshed lobby and a new restaurant, scheduled to open this fall. The Avery Bar, the first step in that renovation, is now available for buyout. The bar is illuminated by chandeliers, and Himalayan rugs dot the marble floor. The space seats 67 and accommodates 75 for cocktails. An alcove can seat 12 or hold 25 standing, and drawn curtains create a private feel. Another alcove has seating for six, with views of the bar area. An extensive cheese collection complements a list of specialty martinis and classic cocktails. The space is outfitted for Wi-Fi, and the hotel’s concierge team facilitates requests for music and flowers.

5. A new branch of the Smith & Wollensky steak house chain will open at Atlantic Wharf in September. The space is available for partial and full buyout, accommodating 500 for an event with indoor and outdoor elements. The space offers three private dining rooms; the cellar is the largest space, accommodating seated meals for 35 and receptions for 50. In season, a patio seats 120 and holds 200 for cocktails. Music options are also available. Customizable lunch, dinner, and cocktail menus focus on American fare.

6. The just-opened Brahmin American Cuisine and Cocktails brings small plates to a quiet side street at the edge of the Back Bay. The two-story space, modeled after a classic Boston brownstone, is available for buyout and seats 180. It can hold 260 for a cocktail reception. On the upper level, the private Silhouette Room seats 55 or holds 80 standing; a lower-level dining and lounge area seats 35, or holds 65 standing. In addition, a patio with manicured topiaries can be reserved for events. Menu items include seared scallops with bacon and pan-roasted salmon; handcrafted cocktails are named for notable Massachusetts families.

7. In August, the Capital Grille relocated from Newbury Street to a larger space adjacent to the Hynes Convention Center. The new space will be available for buyout this fall and can seat 317. A collection of five mahogany-paneled private dining rooms can accommodate as many as 40 guests apiece. The relocated restaurant now offers both lunch and dinner service, with signature items that include a lobster and crab burger and double-cut lamb rib chops. With an in-house presentation system, the restaurant is equipped to broadcast live satellite meetings in partnership with ConneXion360.

8. The historic Old State House Museum was completed in 1713 and now hosts private evening events. The space can also be booked during the day, when the museum is open to the public. A restoration to reflect an imperial British setting will take place in the coming months. Distinct rooms are available for buyout: Keayne Hall, accommodating 80, showcases historic artifacts like John Hancock’s velvet coat. Representatives Hall, accommodating 75, features ample hookups for audiovisual equipment. Council Chamber, a Georgian-style room accented by a chandelier, hosts gatherings for 50. Food is provided by caterers coordinated with the aid of museum staff; a microphone, portable speakers, and a projection screen are available on site.

Looking ahead to 2012, here are some more planned openings to keep on your radar:

The Boston Tea Party Ships & Museum, a historic waterfront destination that honors Boston’s Revolutionary War history, is slated to debut in spring. The space will house several authentically restored tall ships, as well as the Robinson Tea Crate, one of two surviving tea crates from the original Boston Tea Party. The space will be available for buyout, accommodating 150 for seated functions and 500 for roaming receptions. A tavern and tearoom, serving colonial-era ales, wines, and classic New England fare, will accommodate 150 seated or 225 for cocktails. Additionally, the museum’s theater will offer a 15-foot screen and seating for 75.

The regal Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum debuts a new wing in January, with spaces available for buyout beginning in February. The space includes a glassed-in cafe with a fair-weather landscaped terrace, seating for 90, and receptions for 115. Theater and meeting configurations are also possible. The terrace seats 60 and can host receptions for 100. Also included in the new wing is Calderwood Hall, a dramatic round-style theater complete with a retractable screen, visual projection, and theater-quality lighting. The space accommodates meetings of 50, or 300 in a theater setting. An elegant drawing room, once Gardner’s private parlor, will also open and will hold groups of 30. The museum offers an on-site event manager who coordinates with vendors.

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