December 31, 2013 Anthem Bar and Kitchen
We had our holiday party at Anthem on a Thursday night. When we were looking for a venue (we were late to the game – we started after Thanksgiving!) I got a mass email from the events team (they outsource their event planning) saying that a day had opened up and the first person to respond would get the date. I jumped on it and secured the date. We went to look at the space a few days later – the upstairs dining room. The manager confused us for another large holiday party that was coming in (odd) and said that the events team would know the layout for the evening – he wasn’t sure what it would be (weird). Needless to say, we went into this skeptical. They have a $4500 food and beverage minimum (before tax, gratuity and an admin fee), with no room rental fee. Here is why we picked Anthem:
- It is close to our office – we wouldn’t have to pay for cabs after work to get to the venue
- They had a date available
- They didn’t charge a room rental fee
- They could accommodate a party of 60
We sent a list ahead of time of names and food options to make things easier. I even made place cards (wedding style) with food choices so servers would know where food was going. We were told that there would be six tables of ten by the event staff and we planned accordingly – we always have assigned seating at our holiday parties. When we arrive, there are 5 tables, some with 10 seats, some with 8 and some with 12. We scramble to try and rearrange seating so that everyone has a place. Then the servers went around and asked everyone what they had and what their names were. After getting drinks, fixing the seating mishap and getting through the food choices, we were served appetizers about an hour after we arrived. We gave two options for starters, I chose the clam chowder, a 2012 Boston Chowderfest winner. It was pretty good!
- Pan Roasted Salmon snap peas, crispy rice cake, edamame puree + chili-orange mustard glaze
- Herb-Roasted Free Range Chicken mashed potatoes, brussels sprouts with bacon + spicy mustard glaze
- Steak Frites, grilled hanger steak, fries + béarnaise sauce
- Daily Creation Chef’s Pasta (vegetarian option)
Above is the steak frites which people really seemed to like. Two of the salmons came out cold, when we sent them back we asked if they could just switch to the two steaks we paid for but no one was eating (2 people didn’t come last minute and we couldn’t get our money back). There was a lot of confusion about that, and they ended up bringing out hot salmon AND two steak frites dishes that our table shared among the 12 of us.
The night was a success over all, my boss didn’t know that anything went wrong, so that is a plus. People enjoyed themselves (who doesn’t love company sponsored drinks?). There could have been better communication between the event team and the managers at the restaurant, and some more organization to make sure that events go smoothly. The venue worked out for what we needed in a bind. Lesson learned here is to start looking and booking holiday parties before December!
Anthem Bar and Kitchen
South Market Building, Faneuil Hall
Boston, MA 02109