Dear Agenda… “I’d love to see a story on where to host an adult birthday party for a 30 something. I hate doing dinners with big groups and I’m too old to just plan a night of drinking.” – Reader
Large group dinners stress me out and nights of drinking feel like torture so this speaks to me. I had my 30th birthday party last year at Kabob Grill, a wee little restaurant in a shopping strip on East Boulevard. We followed it up with cocktails at Summit Room down the street.
Another one of the most fun adult birthday parties I’ve been to was a fancy sit down dinner at a casual Korean joint in an old Long John Silvers. It’s called China Wing and the birthday boy coordinated with the owners to shut down half of the quick-service restaurant for special table service. We dressed up in formal wear and they went all out with linens, candles and cucumber water. And there were still regular customers coming in to get their food to go. It was ridiculous and awesome.
For my wife’s 30th last year we went big and rented out the clubhouse at our neighborhood pool, invited dozens of friends and brought in pounds of Bill Spoon’s barbecue. Delicious. But I don’t think a milestone birthday is what you’re asking about.
I think you’re never too old for a house party (just add fried pickles and beer), but if you’re really looking to get out, I’d suggest somewhere with a quieter, low-key setting. Pintville in downtown Pineville is a great choice if you’re down in that area. Craft in South End would also be good on a weeknight. The patio at Brawley’s Beverage is pretty chill, too.
If I thought I was unqualified to answer last week’s question about where to have a fancy anniversary dinner, it’s nothing compared to how I feel trying to answer your question. I’m not a thirty-something – I’m barely a twenty-something, so I’m not sure I can relate to what you’re looking for. In fact, I spent my 23rd birthday this year doing both things you want to avoid: I ate a nice meal with a group of people and then spent the night drinking at a brewery for an engagement party with a rather large crowd.
I think your best bet here is to do what a friend did for his thirtieth a year or so ago and pack up, grab a few friends (few is the key word here) and head to the beach.
The obvious choice (which I wouldn’t choose): Brewery. You can rent a room at OMB for a decent price as well. Meh.
First advice, once you hit your 30’s, mixed gender parties aren’t as fun as same gender parties. I would recommend a single sex adult gender party. Dude-only bourbon party at Workman’s Friend back patio area that progresses to Whiskey Warehouse. Or female-only party that starts at Foxcroft Wine Co in Dilworth and progresses down the street to either Bakersfield or Summit Room.
Second advice, Uptown Cabaret. I heard about a 40 year old birthday couples birthday party that ended up here and had a blast. I’ve never been (promise) and it sounds weird, but damn if it would be a unique birthday party experience…
My final advice: Hibachi night. I recently went to a 31 year old birthday party with a dozen people. We started off at their house with a homemade cocktail that was awkwardly strong, then Ubered to Nakato where we had Saki Bombs and the birthday boy tried to catch a shrimp in his mouth.
Related Agenda Stories
Do you have a “Dear Agenda” question? Submit it via this form and we may answer it in our weekly Dear Agenda column. Thanks!