The annual company holiday party might be viewed by your coworkers as the event of the year, while others might be doing the wallflower side-step, doing anything and everything to avoid it. For those of us on the officially sanctioned social committees, this means that we are blessed with finding the ideal venue and plan for a holiday party for partygoers of all stripes — a plan that provides enough boredom relief to minimize any regrettable shenanigans and also pleases the more discriminating trendsetters on your team.
If you have waited this long to book your holiday party venue, I wish you good luck pilgrim! At the very least, you can make amends by starting NOW to plan next year’s party. Here are seven ideas to get inspiration flowing for what is sure to be the “best company holiday party ever” in 2017:
The Pitch: Companies are accepting that just as play has been shown to improve childhood development, it also has benefits for adult employees. Incorporating play in the workplace can relieve stress, stimulate the mind, boost creativity, and improve relationships. It’s a trend that has famously been embraced by the “Technorati.” Certain’s own ping pong and foosball regulars will attest that it’s essential for productive and enjoyable workdays. This year, Certain is having its annual holiday bash at Hotel Zetta’s second-floor Playroom, dedicated to the work, play, and drink trifecta — with a fully-stocked bar. Outfitted in sophisticated, modern decor, the space has the flexibility to host any type of event and will amuse the introvert and extrovert alike; from video games to a jumbo-sized Jenga set & Plinko wall, there are games to bond over, (or nooks to hide in). Their excellent staff will be ready to help you create a most memorable seasonal soiree next year.
Contact Details: 55 Fifth St., San Francisco; (415) 543-8555. Open daily. www.viceroyhotelgroup.com/en/zetta.
The Pitch: The best way to nurture a collaborative team might be found in a kitchen with everyone working on a Michelin-starred holiday meal for each other, or taking part in an Iron Chef style competition. San Francisco is home to the Parties that Cook headquarters, a company with 16 years of experience staging mobile culinary team building events throughout the Bay Area and it has relationships with a range of venues to help you select the ideal space for your hands-on cooking holiday party. For groups smaller than 15, you can register your team in a class at the Parties That Cook Kitchen located at 271 Francisco Street in San Francisco.
Contact Details: Inquire here or call 1-888-907-2665 to get started.
The Pitch: If your fellow employees are passionate about ping pong, you might consider transporting them to table tennis heaven fashioned by SPiN Ping Pong Social Club in the SoMa district. Partly owned by Oscar-winner Susan Sarandon, the nightclub-style venue can accommodate large numbers in its ample 12,000-square foot space with all the elements needed for team-based revelry, including custom yuletide food & drink menus designed to be passed or kept stationary so guests can easily move between playing and eating.
Contact Details: 690 Folsom Street, San Francisco. Inquire here or call 415-636-5995 to get the ball pinging.
The Pitch: Often noted as the ‘quintessential’ winter activity, ice skating brings to mind scenes by Currier & Ives and it may be the sentimental favorite for your holiday outing. The Embarcadero Center boasts the Bay Area’s largest outdoor rink and the nearby Slanted Door restaurant & bar can host your group’s dinner for up to 50 staffers before (or after) they try to impress each other with their best triple salchow skating jumps, or the more commonly seen side-rail-shuffle.
Contact Details: Located in Justin Herman Plaza, adjacent to Four Embarcadero Center and across from the historic Ferry Building. For private events at the ice rink, email: firstname.lastname@example.org or call 415-837-1931. For dinner arrangements at The Slanted Door, email email@example.com or call 415-861-8032.
The Pitch: If your office mates are the types that crave high culture, try the de Young Museum. Founded in 1895 in San Francisco’s Golden Gate Park, the museum re-opened in 2005 with a sleek new facility designed by Swiss architecture firm Herzog & de Meuron and Fong & Chan Architects in SF. The result fused art, architecture, and natural landscape into a stunning structure housing the museum’s collections of American art from the 17th through the 20th centuries, textile arts, and art of Africa, Oceania, and the Americas. The de Young offers a variety of event spaces to hold your holiday festivities and you can further entertain your crew by calling up the team from Museum Hack for a custom team-building themed holiday adventure around the museum led by their patented staff of ‘renegade’ tour guides.
Contact Details: Contact the de Young Museum’s private events team by emailing deYoungEvents@famsf.org or call 415.750.3683. For more information on Museum Hack and to request a quote, you can inquire here, email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 1-800-778-5531.
6. 25 Lusk
The Pitch: ‘Tis the season for cozy fireplaces, and at 25 Lusk, your teammates can snuggle up to one of the mod, silver-orb-style fireplaces in this upscale restaurant, bar, and private dining spot in SoMa. If all your team wants is to kick back with delicious cocktails and conversation, you could do worse than to choose this slick charmer. The venue was stylish enough to keep POTUS Barack Obama entertained for upwards of three hours as he dined with 12 Silicon Valley execs not long ago, so it is surely good enough for your beloved Magic: The Gathering playing IT guy.
Contact Details: 25 Lusk St, San Francisco, CA 94107, located off of Townsend Street between 3rd & 4th Street. For private events contact Christine Chafin at 415.495.LUSK (5875) or email email@example.com.
The Pitch: This tour ends with an enchanting setting for the weary winter traveler: The Chapel music venue and Vestry restaurant. Next Christmas, why not dress up like a character from a Dickens novel and host a jovial evening of ale swilling, mutton chewing, saucy pub singing merriment around the fire at the gothic, yet warm, and welcoming Vestry? Balance an ambrosial meal inspired by French, Italian, and Mediterranean cuisine with a private session by an up-and-coming band in the Chapel Music Hall and you have the ingredients for an epic holiday celebration.
Contact Details: 777 Valencia Street between 18th St. and 19th St.
San Francisco, CA 94110. For private events, contact RaeAnne Turner, Director of Sales and Marketing by emailing RT@thechapelsf.com or call 213-804-0134 and make it happen.
There you have it: seven venues and activity plans for next year’s party, guaranteed to bring you legendary status for future generations of “Fun Committee” members. And if you’ve dropped the ball this season, 2017 is just around the corner and there’s nowhere to go but up!