Need advice on rental halls

As I’ve discussed before, I’m planning my 50th birthday party.  I’m looking for a hall to rent. I know I have to find one fairly soon, otherwise all the available places will be booked.

Right now I’m looking at two places:

The first is the location where I held my 40th birthday party, at a Unitarian Universalist Church.  Pros and cons:

  • Pro: I’ve been to the place many times before; I know the location.
  • Pro: It has a kitchen.
  • Pro: We can bring our own food.
  • Pro: In a change from ten years ago, we could bring wine or beer (but no hard liquor).
  • Con: In another change from ten years ago, the UU Church does not want the hall to be used for "parties." I told them the event was a "Bardic Circle", and used  name as a reference.

I’m somewhat concerned that I’d be… well… not exactly lying (as of now the party will include a Bardic Circle), but I’m certainly entering a gray area. If anyone were to walk into the place during the event, they’re more likely to see wacky people in wacky costumes having fun than a Bardic Circle.

The second is a catering hall renting out by a local fire department.

  • Pro: They have no problem with parties!
  • Pro: The hall was recently renovated. I haven’t visited the place yet, but its pictures look quite nice.
  • Con: The hall doesn’t have a license to sell liquor. We have to bring any alcoholic beverages, and their bartender will serve them. And that leads to:
  • Con: They must cater the party; we cannot bring our own food. It’s not the expense that bothers me (though that can be substantial), it’s that the dietary requirements of my community of friends can get complicated. This is not a problem with a pot-luck party. The caterer may be able to handle all of our food requests; I haven’t discussed it with him yet.

Anyone have any preferences?  Any advice?

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    1. wgseligman

      I’m still looking, but I need names and phone numbers. (Sort of like dating, I suppose.)

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