Philadelphia, PA - Are you aware Philadelphia has more colleges and universities than any other city in the U.S.? And with that, comes Graduation Season to the city’s premier restaurants. We recently talked to expert party planner, Lindsey McClaren for insider tips about organizing the ideal graduation celebration, from personal experiences to more vibrant gatherings. Just in time, Temple Graduation is coming up fast followed closely by Penn and then later - Drexel.
McClaren understands that graduation is a lot more than merely walking across the stage. As Sales & Event Manager at Center City’s busy steakhouse and seafood restaurant Ocean Prime, she has arranged parties of all sorts, from celebrity-fueled affairs to more conservatively priced dinners. In this article, she offers her extensive insider expertise to make sure your once-in-a-lifetime event receives the jubilation it deserves.
Choosing the perfect spot: McClaren affirms it’s essential to pick a space that offers up the desired atmosphere. "Private dining rooms are a great way to make your party truly special,” she says. "Choose a locale that suits your taste and budget. At Ocean Prime, the Fairmount Room, Manayunk Room, and Rittenhouse Room are all majestic, and yet satisfy various party sizes as well as offering up different vibes. Some guests choose an intimate experience, although semi-private spaces, such as the Mezzanine or Cove create another layer of energy to the party for folks that wish to become a part of the action."
Choosing your style: "Sit down meals are ideal for smaller groups with close family and friends while reception-style events give a more laid back, party-type-feel and is a good way to serve more guest on a budget,” McClaren says. “Our Mezzanine, for instance, is a fantastic space for a reception style party, featuring booths for seating and a private bar with TVs. However, why not make the most of both options? Attendees can begin on the Mezzanine with a private bar and end in our Manayunk room - boasting an expansive window overlooking our dramatic main dining room - with a sit-down experience."
Food and drinks that make memories: "With all the allergies and dietary restrictions out there, it’s essential to pick a menu which provides not only to your personal tastes but additionally your guests,” she says. “For instance, Ocean Prime, offers seafood, prime steak, sushi, gluten-free, vegetarian as well as vegan options. See to it that, whichever venue you go with, all your guests are covered."
"The right beverage package will also elevate your event to the next level. Choose a cocktail that matches the school colors or, if it's in your budget, have a Sommelier curate wine pairings for each course." McClaren’s favorite cocktail at Ocean Prime, for instance, is their popular Berries and Bubbles, “because it’s delicious and fun."
It’s all in the details: "Graduation is a great deal more than just getting a diploma, it signifies years of hard word and is an achievement that’s worthy of an epic celebration,” Lindsey tells people. "A slide show along with photos of the graduate is a perfect way to personalize the event. Furthermore, you can add the school’s logo or include the school’s colors to the menus. Last but not least, balloons and flowers can create a fun party atmosphere."
Philadelphia’s Best Private Dining Options - Philadelphia’s best private dining options. Below are restaurants with fabulous private and semi-private dining areas perfect for holiday get-togethers, birthdays, wedding rehearsals and office parties.
Ocean Prime - 124 S. 15th Street Philadelphia PA 19102, centrally located blocks from City Hall, has dining space available for parties both small and large. The three private dining rooms are aptly named after Philadelphia neighborhoods.