Engagement Party Locales
246 Tenth Ave., nr. 24th St.; 212-206-6766; bottinonyc.com
Chelsea’s art crowd (with deep pockets) frequents this Italian standby with minimalist sixties décor that matches the equally pared-down entrées (each course has a meatless option). Bottino has a great courtyard (enclosed and heated in the winter, open-air in the warmer months) for 30 to 40 guests, or a glassed-in interior room for parties up to 60 ($60 per person). Brunch enthusiasts can opt for a less expensive midday affair (starting from $25 per person).
60 W. 57th St., at Sixth Ave.; 212-307-5656; rue57.com
Romantics love this brasserie’s old-fashioned salon. Flushed with ruddy candlelight and colored in hues of natural oak, slate, and marble, the downstairs enclave is trimmed with cherry blossoms, chopped firewood, and antique bottles of herbs. Thanks to acoustic muffling and a marble-top bar, guests sip Lillet-blanc cocktails without interruption from celebrations upstairs. Prices start at $60 per person for a sit-down three-course dinner.
179 Franklin St., nr. Hudson St.; 212-941-7661; thalassanyc.com
Thalassa’s downstairs wine cellar is a foodie favorite. The high-ceilinged space can seat 60 for dinner, 100 for drinks, and features over 5,000 wine bottles stacked across one wall. A pared-down three-course seasonal menu highlights Portuguese octopus, Hawaiian reef fish, and Alaskan trout. The Hellenic theme evokes simplified elegance, with Aegean pottery and a wooden dining table imported from Mykonos. Prices range from $69 to $300 per person.
48 W. 21st St., nr. Sixth Ave.; 212-620-3033; tajlounge.com
Free spirits feel at home in the Taj’s pillow-festooned lounges. With Indian fusion fare and a club-worthy sound system, Taj will customize a package for a sit-down (40 guests) or cocktail (70 guests) reception. The plush couches and gold-leaf embellished bar will recall exotic travels days of yore. Prices start at $90 per person; Taj admits outside caterers.
Robin des Bois/Sherwood Cafe
195 Smith St., nr. Warren St., Carroll Gardens, Brooklyn; 718-596-1609; sherwoodcafe.com
Strewn with flea market finds and wallpapered with sun-bleached French posters, this quirky Carroll Gardens café serves unpretentious finger food with a Provençal flair (from $45 per person). Alligator skins and vintage chandeliers create a romantic aura without resorting to cloying sentimentality. For parties of 100, reserve the entire space and backyard for $3,000 to $5,000.
From the Summer 2008 New York Wedding Guide