Why settle for a boring, characterless banquet hall when you could have your holiday party in a brewery or bowling alley? Here are some alternative venues to help you get in the holiday spirit -- cheesy DJ and dance moves optional.
Ladybird Grove & Mess Hall
This bar's rustic, camp-like vibe is made better by the fact the patio is the closest you actually get to the great outdoors. You can rent the patio for 40 to 70 of your friends and enjoy s'mores, Mexican hot chocolate straight from a thermos and hot toddys by the toasty fire pits. Three additional rooms are available for rent, and all spaces come with a family-style menu that includes your choice of appetizers like pimento cheese fritters, mains like backyard BBQ and sides like mac and cheese and Brussels and bacon, plus wine, beer and the bar's signature Old Fashioned. Rentals start at $600.
Ladybird Grove & Mess Hall, 684 John Wesley Dobbs Ave. NE, Atlanta. 404-458-6838, ladybirdatlanta.com
The Painted Pin
Why sit around in an uncomfortable suit over a stuffy meal of rubber chicken or watch your boss awkwardly try to whip around the dance floor when you can get your party on at The Painted Pin. The venue has activies that include 20 bowling lanes, ping pong, Skee-ball, bocce courts and darts. You can rent the entire space or just the indoor courtyard area, which includes two indoor bocce courts, two shuffleboard sets, two Jenga sets and seating for up to 120. Food packages are available for $20 per person and include perfect shareable snacks like tacos, sliders and wood-fired pizzas. Beer, wine and cocktail packages are also available.
The Painted Pin, 737 Miami Circle NE, Atlanta. 404-814-8736, thepaintedpin.com.
Monday Night Brewing
What could be more fun than hosting your holiday party in a brewery? Monday Night Brewing has space for you and 500 of your friends, both inside the tasting room and out on the patio. Rentals start at $2,500 and include a brewery tour and samples, souvenir pint glasses for all guests and parking for more than 100.
Monday Night Brewing, 670 Trabert Ave. NW, Atlanta. 404-352-7703, mondaynightbrewing.com.
Fernbank Museum of Natural History
Party with dinosaurs at Fernbank. Rental spaces include the Great Hall with a breathtaking 86-foot glass ceiling and The Star Gallery, with a unique view of constellations in the night sky. Rentals start at $2,000, and you can even add an IMAX® Theatre experience and exhibit tour to your rental.
Fernbank Museum of Natural History, 767 Clifton Road NE, Atlanta. 404-929-6300, fernbankmuseum.org.
SweetWater Brewing Company
SweetWater Brewing Company offers its whole facility for rental, or you can choose from The Tasting Room or The Reel Room for your next fete. Get a beer tour, samples, a souvenir cup and the knowledge you're celebrating at one of the hippest breweries in the Southeast -- all for $2,500 and accommodating more than 300 guests reception style.
SweetWater Brewing Company, 195 Ottley Drive, Atlanta. 404-691-2537, sweetwaterbrew.com.