19 East Named Best New Venue by Crain’s Chicago Business

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Best New Event Spaces

By: Sarah Collins, Felicia Darnell and Tate Gunnerson

Whether you’re planning a classic corporate meeting or a raucous bash for a brand launch, this list of great Chicago event spaces is the place to start. New to the 2016 list are the nine best entries to the scene: To qualify, a spot must have opened or have been substantially renovated within the past 12 months and have a capacity of at least 75. You’ll also find the nearly two dozen favorites we’ve loved in past years, with updated capacity and pricing information. Had a great event at one of these places? Share a picture with us using #ccbbest.

Address: 19 E. 21st St.
Website: 19eastchicago.com
Capacity: Up to 500 guests for a cocktail reception, 250 for a seated dinner.
Square footage: 2,240 square feet for the Commonwealth Room, 2,100 for the Bridgestone Room, 2,400 for the Alumina Room, 2,000 for a private suite space called the Hideaway Room. Total square footage is 10,000.
Cost: Prices start at $140 per person; food and beverages included.
Special features: Steel beams original to the 120-year-old space; built-in marble bars; tile mosaics; 12- to 28-foot ceilings.

Last May, Chicago catering company Food for Thought threw open the doors of a 10,000-square-foot event space rich with Chicago history: The building that houses it once was a shooting range for Al Capone and, later, a Commonwealth Edison facility. Now it’s a space that is about as customizable as it gets: Four unique rooms can be rented on their own or combined for larger-than-life parties. Two of them feature long marble bars for stylish cocktailing, another has floor-to-ceiling windows where light pours in.

But the real selling point, says Bess Montecalvo, marketing manager, is that the staff of former caterers is there to anticipate client needs along the way, from initial inquiry to decor takedown. “We overheard guests at other events (talk about) what they need, and we came here and built what people want,” she says. So far, that has meant rolling in genuine oak casks for a three-day whiskey tasting for French-based spirits company Remy Cointreau-brand Remy Martin and laying out a VIP spread for an off-site meeting of the Chicagoland Chamber of Commerce’s Emerging Leaders Forum.

Another point of pride is the building’s technology capabilities: When it came time to rewire the 128-year-old building, Food for Thought consulted Chicago lighting design company Frost Chicago. Now guests have an array of choices for uplighting, spotlighting or DJ’ing.

The only thing you have to do on your own: send the thank-you cards.

Best for: Cocktail receptions, panel presentations with extra style and dinners both casual and formal.

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Posted on April 22nd, 2016 at 8:19 am [ssba]