(Closed) chicago reception bar price

posted 10 years ago in Chicago
Post # 3
Member
179 posts
Blushing bee
  • Wedding: August 2008

I’d still talk to the site manager and see if you are understanding the website information properly, cuz that does sound ridiculous.

  Ask what people usually do for drinks.  I know I had a choice of paying for the open bar per person or per drink.  The site manager advised I do per drink, because it will likely be cheaper.  (not everyone is going to have 5 drinks and a lot of people drink beer which is cheaper than mixed drinks)  My site person was saying the ABC board doesn’t like the all-you-can drink option so they try to discourage it by pricing it fairly high.  Maybe you just have a severe example of this going on. 

Anyways – I’d send at least an e-mail trying to get information on food also – and asking about the drink pricing on the internet. There’s only so much negotiation can do. 

 

Post # 4
Member
179 posts
Blushing bee
  • Wedding: August 2008

Alright – I should be working.  But I just went to the Cafe Brauer site.  I think you read the website right  – that’s crazy.  It looks to me that they’re saying you have to purchase them by the hour.  That means even if you did a 2 hour bar after that it would be finito!  In addition to mailing the Brauer and seeing what they say – I’d advise you to e-mail/ contact one or two of the caterers and ask what they see people doing there.  They’d probably be more willing to help you (since you might work with them somewhere else) and if it doesn’t pan out they might be able to suggest a comparable venue that they like. 

Good luck.

 

Post # 5
Member
2030 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: December 1969

Several people recommended Cafe Brauer to me because they said it was so reasonably priced for their own weddings. Definately contact them and verify the price, because I did not get the impression that it was so expensive.

Post # 6
Member
91 posts
Worker bee
  • Wedding: January 2007

Hey there,

we ended up hosting our bar instead of doing an open bar.  I was married at the Hilton Chicago and for 4.5 hours, they quoted me a price of $17,000 for 175 people.  With a hosted bar, we ended up spending about $11,000 instead. 

Post # 7
Member
91 posts
Worker bee
  • Wedding: January 2007

oh yeah – as for alcohol, we only served beer, wine and our signature drinks (in our wedding colors) which were a Blue Curaco Margarita and a Chocolate Martini.

Post # 8
Member
11 posts
Newbee
  • Wedding: July 2008

Hi!  We looked a Cafe Brauer orginally and they negotiated the price down. We were quoted with prices for a 200 person wedding, four hour bar at 12,000, but they went down to 10,500.   Also, to take it down further, they said we could hand out drink tickets, for instance, 5 per person, and then after that it would be a cash bar.  Since there would be people there who did not drink, the tickets could be given to others.   Hope that helped!

Post # 9
Member
7 posts
Newbee
  • Wedding: November 2008

Hey there! I found out that there are many reception sites in Chicago that allow you to bring in your own alcohol! We are having our reception at the Chicago Cultural Center and bringing our own alcohol. We are able to have a full open bar for the entire reception and save money on the deal!!!!

I am a big believer that people that are guests at an event should not have to pay for their own drinks. So this was a huge selling point to me.

 Call the folks at levy catering and ask then if they have a list of venues that allow you to bring in your own alcohol. 

 

Best wishes and Good Luck!

 

Post # 10
Member
24 posts
Newbee
  • Wedding: September 2018 - St. Clement Church, Cafe Brauer (or a big church wedding and a fancy party at a cafe in Lincoln Park.

I’m getting married at Cafe Brauer!  We signed our contract a year ago and locked in our rates before they recently hiked them up.  We were able to negotiate them down on the rental costs.  I would definitely call Carrie or Kyla and see if they would be willing to negotiate- but I wouldn’t get your hopes up.  I think it was $11/hour for open bar?  They will also lock you into a minimum for alcohol unless you aren’t drinking alcohol at all.  They have been booking weddings so quickly lately that they have developed an "I don’t need you, you need me" attitude.  You might also want to consider that you will need to rent EVERYTHING- tables, chairs, etc- and that bar price does not include the $5-$6 that your caterer will charge you to stock the bar with glassware, juice, ice, etc. and run the bar.  Its such a gorgeous place, however, that I fell in love!  If you really like it, talk to them and see what they say.

I also have some other suggestions comparable places if you are interested.

Post # 12
Member
4 posts
Wannabee

You may have already heard from them, but I just wanted to chime in – I’m getting married at Brauer in November and their current contract (as of this past November) is that they are including all miscelleaneous bar things like ice, mixers, etc.  Many of the caterers I spoke with didn’t know this yet so I had to inform them because they will all charge you the $5+ pp in bar expenses.  Honestly Brauer is super high for alcohol especially compared to open bar through most caterers.  But we loved it so we’re sucking it up and dealing with it  🙂

One thing we’re doing to keep the cost down is closing the bar for dinner.  There will be open bar for the cocktail hour on the loggia, then everyone will move back in for dinner where we’ll have wine service, but the bars won’t come back into the room.  My caterer said lots of people do this because people aren’t up walking around during dinner and the bar typically doesn’t get used much while everyone’s eating.  If you did that, you could cut almost 3k (assuming you were doing wine service during dinner either way).  Also, remember that your bar count is different than your guest count.  You’ll give Brauer the total number of drinking people (everyone over 21 not including pregnant, elderly, religious non-drinkers, etc).

One note, if you go with Brauer, is that my caterer just informed me that Brauer told them that the caterers are responsible for providing the liquor for any "signature" cocktails you might be providing.  This is actually ridiculous and I was only informed of this after we signed the contract with Brauer (which explicitly says that Brauer is the only provider of alcohol allowed) by my caterer so I’m going to fight Brauer about this.  For me, it’s not that big of a deal – we’re not really serving a signature cocktail throughout the night, we were just going to have hot spiked cider passed at the beginning of cocktail hour to help ease the initial bar lines, so it’s really a small amount of money since there would be a limited number passed.  But I’m still kind of annoyed.  Just an FYI.

Brauer’s definitely pricey but I think it’s worth it  🙂 

Post # 14
Member
2 posts
Wannabee
  • Wedding: October 2008

I am also interested in Cafe Brauer but have been turned off by the price.  We are looking at having around 200 people and with my budget it doesn’t seem realistic.  You have given me some hope though with the ability to negotiate. 

 My biggest problem now is wondering if they are as strict about the entertainment vendors..  Any ideas?

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