Stumped as to the best venue to hold your next party when you only want your nearest and dearest present instead of your entire Facebook friends list? We’ve got your next celebration covered with this handy list of some of the most interesting places to either have a fancy and languorous dinner in your own private space, or a party that may be small in size but big in personality.

BIG DINNERS
Ilona Staller
Upstairs at Ilona Staller is a graceful affair. The dark timber accented private dining room can cater for up to 24 people and there are three menus to choose from: a standard entree, main, dessert option; the sharing table option (where a feast is laid out for all to share); or last but not least, a cocktail menu involving an array of canapés and refreshing alcoholic concoctions.
282–284 Carlisle Street, Balaclava
ilonastaller.com.au

Church Street Enoteca
When you wish to impress with an intimate dinner for 20 or so of your nearest and dearest, Church Street Enoteca is the way to do it. The art deco-inspired private dining room comes with dedicated waiter service and complete privacy, not to mention the artful degustation menus that can be organised to suit your discerning guests.
527 Church Street, Richmond
churchstenoteca.com.au

Kumo Izakaya
Izakayas in Japan are traditionally casual bars for after work drinks, so they are spaces best enjoyed with company. Kumo Izakaya has a traditional tatami room for private parties of up to 10 people, and with it you can enjoy an enkai banquet menu, featuring favourites like edamame, yakitori, sashimi and plum wine karaage chicken. Start building up your muscles for sitting cross-legged muscles now.
152 Lygon Street, East Brunswick
kumoizakaya.com.au

San Telmo
For those friends with whom you can’t help but share everything, San Telmo may be perfect for your next milestone outing. Specialising in Argentinean dining, where sharing is compulsory, you can enjoy a plethora of empanadas and other treats in San Telmo’s private dining room, which accommodates 10–14 people. They can even organise for you to have a whole or part animal – such as a suckling pig or a leg of lamb – slow cooked just for your party on their parrilla charcoal grill. You’ll feel like a Viking king.
14 Meyers Place, Melbourne
santelmo.com.au

Cavallero
No matter what time of day or what you’re craving, Cavallero has you covered and when it comes to functions they won’t let you down. For a big family dinner they have a large wooden table that can easily fit 16–20. If you want more space upstairs, you’ll find a neat little function space in which you can cram up to 80 of your craziest friends.
300 Smith Street, Collingwood
cavallero.com.au

SMALL PARTIES
Madame Brussels
Cocktail jugs on the terrace, anyone? Madame Brussels’ balcony garden parties are celebrated for a reason. Available for groups over 10, this is a boozy version of high tea, where you and your guests can nibble on refined ribbon sandwiches, scones and cupcakes, all while partying on jugs of the Madame’s best selection of alcoholic punches.
Level 3, 59-63 Bourke Street, Melbourne
madamebrussels.com

The Smith
The Smith is uniquely suited to catering for groups as small as eight and as large as 120, due to the space and the staff’s keenness in putting together whatever function suits you best. Cloistered away in your tailored private space, you and your guests can sample canapés that encapsulate the best parts of The Smith’s multi-cuisine menu. They’ll even help you to match the best wines to your nibbles.
213 High Street, Prahran
thesmithprahran.com.au

Long Play
A bar with a difference, not only can you enjoy a well-curated wine list and nibbles when holding a soiree at Long Play, you can unleash your inner film buff and take advantage of Long Play’s very own cinema room. Perfect for everything from showing off your latest holiday snaps (on a screen big enough that no one can escape) to putting together your own film festival of favourite flicks, you can tailor any occasion to suit this unique space.
318 St Georges Road, North Fitzroy
longplay.net.au

Lil Boy Blue
If the thought of a terribly fancy restaurant or bar setting for your little function sets your heart at a nervous flutter, how about trying a convivial cafe for size? Kew’s Lil Boy Blue houses an upstairs dining room that seats up to 25 and a sunroom (perfect for summer) that seats 6, which sounds to us like the perfect excuse for a wee tea party.
309 High Street, Kew
lilboyblue.com.au

Rue Bebelons
Well accustomed to throwing on shows as part of the Fringe and Comedy Festivals, don’t think that that means that the gorgeous little cavern that is Rue Bebelons isn’t also perfect for your next intimate soiree. To the contrary, have yourself a party sipping wines while bathed in soft lights and listening to music provided by the very savvy vinyl collection. Arty, cosy, flirty – Rue Bebelons will give your party a sense of effortless fun.
267 Little Lonsdale Street, Melbourne
ruebebelons.com.au

Fairfield Boathouse
For a really different party, take your friends down to Fairfield Boathouse. You can work up an appetite boating or paddling about the Yarra in canoes, then head to one of the Boathouse’s terraces for, well, any kind of function you can think of – breakfast buffets, afternoon teas, cocktail parties, or a simple Devonshire tea. Whatever suits you.
Fairfield Park Drive, Fairfield
fairfieldboathouse.com