Are you trying to find a great place where you and some co-workers or friends can have dinner without being surrounded by lots of other people? If you are, private dining rooms are the answer, but you have to do more than just make a reservation if you want to bring everyone to one of these exclusive places. There are a lot of questions you need to ask to ensure your dinner goes as planned.

Extra Costs

It's kind of a given that there may be some extra costs, like a rental fee for the space. But you also need to know how tips for the servers will be handled and if there's a difference between how they're handled for small and large groups. Are there additional service charges that depend on the number of people who show up or how varied the menu is? Try to get an idea of what exactly you'd be paying for. If you can get a rough amount, too, that would be helpful.


Find out if there is a fixed menu. Some private dining rooms offer a set menu because that helps the kitchen handle a large volume of orders more efficiently. Other places let you choose the menu ahead of time so you aren't blindsided by someone ordering the most expensive dish on the menu. This is also a time to ask about dietary requirements and how the kitchen would handle them, especially if the kitchen usually has a limited menu for the private parties.

Combination Spaces

Many private dining rooms are just that -- the dining room, with all of the food-related business hidden in other parts of the restaurant. But some spaces have converted wine cellars, for example, into private dining spaces. This could present a problem if the restaurant allows servers to retrieve wine bottles for other customers during your dinner -- there would be unnecessary activity that could make the room quite crowded. You need to know if the dining room does have any shared purpose.

Also see if the room encompasses a bar or the kitchen itself. Those can add quite a bit of noise, but they can also make the meal more interesting.

Floor Level and Lighting

Find out what floor the private dining space is on. Normally this isn't an issue, but if the dining area is in a basement level, that could send the wrong impression if the space turns out to be very dark and cramped. Imagine you've arranged for a private room for you to impress a date -- a dark, cramped basement isn't the best place to be. Ensure the space is somewhere where you and anyone else attending will be comfortable.

Contact private dining rooms in your area to find out more about what they offer and what they require. The staff at these places are used to fielding many questions, so make a list and start calling now.