The last meal – it’s been a steadfast constant throughout the centuries. No matter how barbaric or draconian the punishment may have been, to send a condemned prisoner to the gallows without one final taste of their favorite dish, would have been considered a punishment far too cruel and unusual for any society to call itself “civilized.” So, that being said, doesn’t your Doomed Groom deserve at least this much?
But, all you Best Men be careful. Picking the bachelor party restaurant is, without a doubt, the single-most crucial, yet disaster-prone aspect of the entire night. If you’re not careful, you might just find yourself in a lot of hot water – and it could be your head that’s on the chopping block instead of the Groom’s.
Believe you me, this topic has so much information to remember – and, hence, so many variables that can go wrong – I’ve decided to separate it into three separate articles. However, if you invest a little bit of effort and follow through with the advice below, you should be able to avoid many of the pitfalls that can happen when large groups get together for dinner.
So, why do I feel that choosing the right restaurant is so important for a bachelor party? For one simple fact – it sets the tone for the entire night. If the bachelor party were a symphony, the restaurant you choose would be its overture. It tells you so many things about the night of music ahead. It lets you know whether or not the piece of music is going to be peppy – or subdued and somber. It introduces you to various motifs and themes that will recur over and over throughout the entire piece, creating a richer, fuller experience. Heck, at the very least, it lets you know whether or not the orchestra is even in tune in the first place!
In a nutshell (and for you non-symphony lovers out there) a poorly planned and executed dinner can trip up a party before it even starts.
CHOOSING THE BACHELOR PARTY RESTAURANT
What does the guest of honor want? - It seems such a simple question, but you’d be surprised at how often this gets left out of the equation. Always remember, from our Bachelor Party B.O.D.Y B.A.G. Method, the night is not about you or what you want. It’s about one guy and one guy only…and he might just have something to say about the topic. That’s why, before starting anything, find out from your bachelor what he likes and what he doesn’t like. That should take a lot of guessing out of the process.
Who are your guests? - What can they afford? For most bachelor parties, you will find that there will be a wide cross-section of people who get invited. Some will have more money – others will not. There are very few things more embarrassing than to be invited to an expensive and ritzy steak house you can’t afford and then gnawing on breadsticks at the end of the table while everyone else buries their snouts into their 16 oz. filet mignons. It’s embarrassing for the person. It’s embarrassing for the bachelor. It’s embarrassing for just about everybody involved.
If you’re uncertain about the economic status of any of your guests, I feel that it’s much safer to pick a restaurant that has a wide variety of items that will cover the entire spectrum of prices. That way, if somebody wants to order something more expensive, they have that option. If not, your guests who may not be so-well-off can order something more conservative and still enjoy themselves.
Don’t get me wrong, though… If you’re certain that everyone can afford a $100 a plate dinner, don’t hesitate to plan for it. If everyone’s on board, there should be nary an issue. And let me tell you, at $100 a plate – you animals should be able to buy a lot of red meat with that.
Proximity to the club - This point brings us, once again, back to our B.O.D.Y. B.A.G. method and the unity of Babes – Alcohol – Grub. You may want to consider how central the restaurant is to the rest of your destinations for the evening, whether it be the strip club or some other stop along the way. And this goes for whether you’ve rented a limo, or not. Seriously, who wants to spend half-an-hour to an hour riding around in a car with a bunch of other guys – no matter how drunk and fun they are? I’ve got two words for you – SAUSAGE and FEST. It can be a real speed bump to the momentum of the night. Now, I understand that this may not be practical, usually due to the fact that most strip clubs are located in industrial parks (for some oddball reason) and may not necessarily be near many four star restaurants. But if it can be helped at all, I recommend that you take it into consideration.
Tables and chairs are better - The reason for this is simple: tables and chairs are conducive for talking, while booths usually are not. In a booth, the people on the inside seats are trapped and forced to stay exactly where they are. With tables and chairs, everyone is free to get up and walk around. It creates more of a party atmosphere and encourages everybody to mingle and talk.
Do they have their own room? - Many restaurants have their own banquet rooms for larger parties. This is optimal because it creates a space that is better for everybody to feel comfortable and let loose. They can get as loud and rowdy as they want. And let’s be honest – we all know that your bachelor party is going to get a bit… Well, how shall we say…uh…adult? I’m sure the management would prefer that their restaurant keep its “family friendly” status firmly in place, so keeping you guys away from the rest of the customers might just be in everybody’s best interest. That being said –
What’s the tone of the restaurant? - When choosing where to eat, you probably don’t want to pick a place that’s too stuffy or pretentious. Think chicken wings, not fois gras. The place should be fun and upbeat, which will then (hopefully) be contagious. Also, you want to find a place where you can make noise and not worry about the maître’d coming over to “SHOOSH!” you every five minutes.
Is there enough parking? - If you have chosen not to rent a limo for the night to take you from the restaurant onto the rest of your night, (by the way, I don’t recommend this), are you certain that there is enough parking for everybody? If so, is it valet and how much does it cost? Make sure that you find out, because you’re probably going to want to mention it on the invitation. (Tom note – reference to article 3)
Must have a bar - Does it really need to be said? Of course, while it satisfies the most obvious of needs, it also makes for a great holding area as you wait for everybody to get seated. With a bar, you have a place to coral everyone while you make sure that everything is organized and ready with the restaurant management. So, when choosing a restaurant, attention should also be paid to not only how well the bar is stocked, but also to how large it is. Make sure it can easily accommodate all of your guys while they wait for your table.
In part two, we’re going to talk about the potential pitfalls of reserving a restaurant for the Bachelor Party and ….