Last night, event planners were invited to check out the Secret Garden event space of the Trattoria Dopo Teatro. Right in the heart of Times Square, it was surprising to me to see a restaurant so large and spacious when right outside I was pushing my way through throngs of slow-moving tourists on the sidewalks.
I found the quaint little restaurant (after asking the bellhop at the AKA Hotel where it was) and was ushered through the restaurant to the very back, to the terra cotta staircase leading down to the Secret Garden. The hand-painted tiles that adorned the walls and the floor gave the Garden a very artistic touch and brightened up the room, along with a skylight that takes in the natural light from above. There is also a lovely stone waterfall (Italians really do love their fountains), creating a great backdrop while people chatted and mingled.
Normally the downstairs is set up for extra dining space, but for special occasions (re: receptions, weddings, corporate functions, private parties) they can clear the entire downstairs to make room for 150 to 200 guests. There was a room with an entire wall devoted to bottles of wine to keep everyone happy, and also a small area set up in the front of the room for a band and a grand piano, making the space suitable for live entertainment.
In addition to the open bar, there were passed trays of chicken, mini kishes, bruschetta, thin-crust pizza slices, and procuitto-wrapped breadsticks to start off the evening. After the appetizers were all tried and tasted, they opened up two stations where they served slices of pork, veal, and deliciously creamy risotto – just to whet our appetite enough to come back and try their full menu.
Even though the event was mass publicized, it wasn’t the normal grimy crowd of party crashers that typically flock to these event planner events. Shocking! Ok, so I still spotted a few, and also some super annoying old ladies that ordered complicated cocktails from the overwhelmed bartender. “Kettle One, over 3/4 cups ice, with pineapple, a dash of cranberry and orange juice, and another side of orange juice and a glass of soda.” Seriously??
Rules of open bar: Get in, order, and get the F out of the way.
I met a rather notable event planner, creator of Goddess Projects who produces “exotic event productions.” Exotic, hmm? She said she specializes in extraordinary and bizarre event requests, from rare performances to fetishes. Intriguing! Obviously the first thing that comes to mind are bachelor and bachelorette party – but if you want to throw an unforgettable party for a special client, no requests are too bizarre to make her blush!
Now it’s time to start thinking of an occasion to throw a garden-burlesque party.
Trattoria Dopo Teatro
125 West 44th Street
between 6th and Broadway