Private Party: Top Spots for a Memorable Rehearsal Dinner

From: Spring/Summer 2015 edition
Palisade at sunset;

Just behind the doors of some of your favorite restaurants are seriously stunning private event spaces. The rehearsal dinner—the party before the party—is a time for your nearest and dearest to meet and mingle, and for the couple to soothe any pre-wedding jitters. You might as well make it a delicious experience while you’re at it.

Room with a View

The boats in Elliott Bay Marina and one of the best panoramas of the Seattle skyline serve as the backdrop for Palisade, an elegant seafood restaurant in Magnolia. Idyllic if you have out-of-towners looking to try some just-shucked oysters, king crab legs or cedar-plank-roasted salmon, this culinary destination has been serving delicious regional Pacific Northwest and Pacific Rim food for more than 20 years. Out of the three large, private dining rooms available, the Magnolia Room, which seats as many as 45 comfortably, is best suited for a rehearsal dinner; here, diners are treated to spectacular floor-to-ceiling views of Mount Rainer. For larger parties, the nearby Orchid Room can accommodate as many as 100 guests, and should the weather cooperate, guests are welcome on the adjoining deck. Both rooms have majestic Chihuly glass chandeliers and warm wood paneling. Food options include a plated dinner menu or a buffet, with choices ranging from cedar-plank-roasted wild king salmon with Meyer lemon butter and chives to lobster quesadillas and miniature mushroom tarts. Food and beverage minimums are $1,500–$2,500. To reserve space for your event, a 50 percent nonrefundable charge is required along with a signed catering contract. The deposit and any room fee applied are nonrefundable charges for occupancy.

Wine Time


Purple Café & Wine Bar; Photo courtesy of Heavy Restaurant Group

Couples and their families on both sides of the lake have long flocked to Purple Café & Wine Bar as a rehearsal-dinner option, and it’s easy to see why. In addition to seasonal, dressed-up café fare and a world-class wine selection, each of the four Purple locations (downtown Seattle, downtown Bellevue, Woodinville and Kirkland) have multiple unique, semiprivate dining options for parties ranging from 12 to 60 (seated). Choose between a dining space enclosed by enormous iron spirals or nestled in between a wall of wine in Bellevue, or rent out a loft to overlook the action in Woodinville; wherever you land, the team at Purple can create a memorable wine-paired menu with entrées ranging from seared sea scallops to classic steak frites. Food and drink minimums start at $1,000 (plus tax and gratuity) based on the location and number in the party; if food and beverage minimum is not met, remaining balance is charged as a facility rental fee to meet minimum. Preset menus are required for parties of more than 15 people.

Fun House

Before you take the next step, let specialty gourmet burgers Tater Tots and Tang-infused cocktails at The Rumpus Room at Lunchbox Laboratory lighten the mood. Perfect for the couple who wants to kick back and relax in burger bliss before the big day, a private room with four large plasma TVs, a pool table and classic ’80s arcade games awaits at this South Lake Union burger joint, which can accommodate as many as 45 people for seated dinners and 85 standing guests. Treat guests to the monstrous, mouthwatering Homage to Dick’s Deluxe, a supersized beef patty, American cheese, bacon, Lunchbox onions and a top-secret burger sauce, accompanied by award-winning signature boozy shakes made with local Snoqualmie ice cream. $32 per person for a burger buffet; $200 rental fee; food and beverage minimums from $500 to $1,500.

That’s Amore


Ristorante Picolinos

With a spotlight on northern Italian regional cuisine, it’s easy to be drawn in by the Old World charm and neighborhood feel of Ballard’s Ristorante Picolinos. And that’s before you notice the semiprivate outdoor garden and terrace, and adjoining espresso bar and bakery. The outdoor garden, called The Terraces, with a heated “grand tent” available in the winter months, comfortably seats 34 guests, while larger parties are best suited for the main salon and gallery, which can seat 80 guests. The entire restaurant is also available for buyout and seats 150 for a sit down meal and 250 standing. Delicious entrées range from house-made pasta—such as lobster ravioli finished in creamy lobster reduction sauce—to heirloom chicken stuffed with pancetta, fresh herbs and spinach. If that’s not enough to satisfy your taste buds, top the night off with house-made gelato and tiramisu. Fees range from $30 to $50 per person for a three-course meal, not including wine pairings; room rental charge for events covers the setup, breakdown, resetting and private waitstaff, and ranges from $250 to $500.


Purple Café and Wine Bar

Four locations, including Downtown Seattle

1225 Fourth Ave.



Ristorante Picolinos


6415 32nd Ave. NW



Lunchbox Laboratory

South Lake Union

1253 Thomas St.





2601 W Marina Place