I handle downtown location scouting for companies setting up corporate events at SXSW and F1 (non-official), and (up until very recently) planned monthly parties all around downtown for the Downtown Austin Neighborhood Association, most of my friends see me as a “go to” in terms of finding a cool party and private dining spot downtown.
And it’s true, I know a lot of places that are considered a bit “off the beaten path,” in terms of private spaces for meetings or parties that are in downtown Austin. This week, I thought I’d share some of them with you, our loyal readers!
Depending on your party size and budget, one or more of these options may be a perfect fit for your next event.
Note: I’m not including write-ups on the big guys, the traditional event venues that everyone knows about and come up all the time (Brazos Hall, Fair Market, Trinity Hall, Malverde etc), nor am I including bar and other venues that are widely known to do and be set up for buyouts (Alamo Drafthouse, hotel spaces, etc). Most of the list below is intended for smaller groups / parties. Also, this is a NON-EXHAUSTIVE list – it’s not intended to have every cool or different spot in downtown! If you think there’s a spot that we all just HAVE to know about – just put it in the comments!
Max’s Wine Dive | The Underground (Convention Center District)
I threw a NYE party a few years back in the Black Door Wine Lounge and it was FABULOUS. The Black Door Wine Lounge is perfect for private events of around 30 people, but The Underground offers larger spaces, as well.
La Condesa | Vault Room / Flour House (2nd Street District)
It’s gorgeous and it’s well run. The team at La Condesa will make sure your event is as flawless as this private dining space.
Departure Lounge | The Escape Hatch (Warehouse District)
This travel agency / coffee shop is right next to the Plaza Lofts, and honestly, I think the whole space is perfect for a special private event (and reasonably priced) – but if you need something smaller for a meeting or something like that, the private room that they have fits the bill pretty well. It can accommodate up to 12 people and only requires a $50 food / beverage spend.
No Va Private Dining Room (Rainey Street District)
This Rainey restaurant is one of my favorites. It’s got a great menu, great look, and it’s very close to our brokerage firm’s office on the ground floor of The Shore Condos – what’s not to love?!
No Va not only has this streamlined private dining area, but also allows other portions of the restaurant to be reserved by buyout. It’s very flexible and convenient.
Palazzio Lavaca (North Downtown)
Stunning. This place is simply stunning in every way. The pictures in their gallery are not an exaggeration – the place really looks and feels like that when you are inside. But it ain’t cheap. I highly recommend it for high-end corporate gatherings and especially one-of-a-kind weddings. I’ve put a client in there for an F1 product launch event and they loved it.
The Clay Pit (North Downtown)
Definitely off the beaten path and certainly not for all palates, but a compelling and different choice for sure for a private gathering. They have a small private room downstairs and a private banquet space upstairs.
Some other ideas:
Condo Common Areas
Use your building’s common area spaces! Depending on the event, you may have to get creative, but I’m a big believer in using the common area space in your downtown Austin condo building for private functions. Different buildings have different rules and rates regarding reservations of common areas, but the reality is – you paid for the ability to use of these spaces when you moved to that building – so you should take advantage of it!
Available Commercial Space
This takes a lot of legwork, but if the event is super special – you may scout around for some empty, finished commercial spaces that are currently being marketed for long-term leases. Reach out to the listing agent and make a proposal. This is what I did for my wedding and it worked out awesomely.
To that end, if you are interested, here’s the post about Jude and I’s downtown wedding, with a sample menu, pictures, and some other off-beat venues that could work for weddings.