Whether you're after an intimate dinner or a hootenanny under the sea, Melbourne has you covered for office party venues
This little Fitzroy gem features traditional British fare with Mediterranean and North African influences presented with finesse. It’s an unimposing and cosy venue, but with a simple sophisticated elegance. Gather eight of your favourite people and get your own room decked out with rustic rabbit traps, wild flowers and five courses of local produce cooked in their wood-fired oven for $75pp.
You will find elegant crystal decanters, etched silverware, polished dark woods, and even more polished service at this lower-Rathdowne terrace. You can books a room for ten people, take over the whole place and seat 140, or pack more in for a cocktail style affair. The set menus start at $48pp.
This ex-bank, wrought iron, wood and stone establishment makes for a classy party venue. There's a mezzanine level and a 24-seat communal table that can be hired, but we say make like high-balling yakuza and get your own tatami room. They don’t have geishas, but you can request a sake-matched degustation for up to ten people.
The vibe at the Wilde is British gastro pub, complete with roast dinners, G&Ts, house-made tomato sauce and hand pumped English Ale. Plus they have a colonial themed function room called the Explorer's Club that fits 60 people and and comes with a projector and a free pool table.
Albert Street Food and Wine
Albert Street is a well-designed crossbreed of wine bar, restaurant and food store rolled into one light and airy semi-industrial eatery. The food here is your more relaxed, use-your-hands gear, which makes it perfect for an office get-together. You can have dinner for 12 in the wine vault, a table for 24 in the store can all be arranged or you can hire the whole place if you wish.
If you don't trust the weatherman the parlour here holds 20-40 people for a retro-inspired (and weatherproof) party, or if you like your chances at the sunny end of the year the terrace can be exclusively yours. It fits 45 people and you will be plied with old-fashioned party treats and punch to keep everyone in high spirits.
Mr Wow's Emporium
Keen to show your hundred-person team a good time as thanks for a year's hard work? Mr Wow's party hardy combo of popcorn and cocktails, indoor bocce, pool, ping-pong and food trucks serving in the back warehouse will ensure people feel fully appreciated this holiday season.
Sake Restaurant & Bar
Down in Hamer Hall you can celebrate the pointy end of the year with some flashy, contemporary Japanese fare and shochu at Sake. For ten or more people you'll be steered towards the banquet menu that sees wagyu teriyaki, popcorn shrimp and prawn dumplings keep idle hands busy and out of office party mischief.
1000 Pound Bend
Part of the ever-expanding St Jerome empire is a combined café, exhibition space and cinema. Housed in a vast former workshop on Little Lonsdale Street, it looks like the lumbering spawn of an aircraft hangar and a Fitzroy lounge room, which makes it perfect for a massive office party. They'll seat 200 for dinner, or you can treat 80 of your co-workers to a movie night.
We’ve heard of Christmas parties getting wild, but this literally does. Where else can you celebrate Yuletide with the roaring of lions in the background? From 6-11pm on Dec 20, the zoo will be transformed into a market along the Mek Kapah terrace (along the Trail of Elephants). It’s all in the name of the biggest shared Christmas party this side of the Serengeti.
The Park Hotel
It’s time this outer ‘burb got the respect it deserves, and we reckon the Park Hotel is the pub for the job. With more than 340 craft beers - 14 on tap plus ciders - the booze list here warrants some serious beard stroking. With its angled timber roof and industrial trappings the Park’s more inner-city beer hall than old country pub. But it's smart as a whip and accessible.
SEA LIFE Melbourne Aquarium
If everything is in fact better down where it's wetter, then an office party under the sea is a pretty awesome way to farewell 2013. You can celebrate Christmas with the mega croc, have a sit down dinner amongst the tropical coral atoll, or if you work for a massive company just hire the whole place for the occasion.
The Village Brasserie is an outdoor drinking arena of note. We've always loved the park sized beer garden here and considering it can fit more than 300 people inside its leafy limits it's a good option for when the whole firm is heading out for end of year drinks. You can also hire Ormond Hall and the Brasserie restaurant, it just depends on what your party style is.