A slightly above-average achiever's guide to parenting
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Baby Shower Locations (or frankly, any party locations)
July 7, 2014
Remember when every summer weekend of your life was filled with weddings and bridal showers and bachelorette parties? Guess what? All those people are now knocked up. Which means you're now going to go to a LOT of baby showers. In fact, you might host one.
I recently had the immense honor of planning Chewbacca's godmother's baby shower. Because we live in the North End, and parking is nearly impossible, hosting at our place wasn't an option. But we wanted to bring in our own desserts, and we wanted it to be outside, which created a surprisingly difficult question: Where can you host a party in Boston where you can bring in your own food that also has an outdoor space?
Lucky for you, I did a lot of research and came up with some great options for party venues in Boston. I've even included some with food options as well. Note: I would have included Upstairs on the Square, which was the BEST baby shower location-- and where Chewbacca's amazing Auntie Noodle threw my baby shower-- but they're closing (insert wailing and gnashing of teeth here).
Places with outdoor spaces that will let you bring food
The Boston University Pub: I know a pub is an unusual choice for a baby shower, but this spot has a fantastic outdoor patio in the back that overlooks the Charles River. Not to mention that it's underneath BU's "Castle", is covered in Ivy on the outside, and is on Bay State Road (which is deserted on the weekends so long as there's not a Red Sox game). Plus, they'll let you bring in dessert. It costs $350 to rent the space entirely for yourself (which includes a bartender) and they're not open to the public on the weekends so it's really easy to get the date you want. The manager told me I could have ANY Saturday or Sunday in June, which I can assure you is not the norm for most party rental places. Someone in your group will need to be a BU Alumni (go terriers!) to make the reservation, but in Boston, that's probably not a tall order. This is where we ultimately held Chewbacca's godmother's shower and it was fantastic. The weather could not have been nicer:
A view from the back deck, with plenty of space.
A friend of the mom-to-be got a copy of "On the Night You Were Born" (aka the book that made me surprise-cry) for everyone to sign. If you haven't read this book to a newborn, do so immediately, and have tissues nearby.
This is the view of the "Castle" from the back porch. Classy as hell, right?
Me and Chewbacca, who kindly passed out midway through the shower.
Pier's Park in East Boston: If you're looking to hold a shower in a park, it's remarkably hard to find one with all the amenities you'll need. Luckily, this one has it all: free public parking (and lots of it), accessible by T (7 minute walk from the Maverick Station), public bathrooms, a playground, splashpool in the summer, picnic tables, and a gorgeous view of downtown Boston. The Boston Police have their headquarters right by the park (I promise, it's not as strange as it sounds) so it's a very safe area. It's a true hidden gem in Boston. Even if you don't go here for a baby shower, check out the playground sometime. It's got a gorgeous view.
Yeah, this is the view you get from the park. Not too shabby.
Copps Hill Terrace: Another good option for a shower in a park would be Copps Hill Terrace in the back of the North End. It's a cement space at the top of a hill, overlooking the harbor, boccee courts, and softball fields. It's tucked away so it's rarely used and you wouldn't have to fight any crowds. The only downsides are that there's only one public pay toilet nearby (that's sometimes broken), and there's not great parking nearby. Also, the Copp's hill burial is really close, so that might give it a weird vibe, unless you have friends that are into that....or if the baby is due on Halloween.
These are the steps up to Copps Terrace, with the Harbor directly behind you.
This is the space on the Terrace, which is almost always completely empty, so you'd have the space entirely to yourself...minus the graveyard behind you.
The Boston Sailing Club: Located on the waterfront, the Sailing Club has its offices in a big river boat. They rent out the top floor to groups and have a hookup for a DJ, a spot for a bar, bathrooms and tables and chairs. You can bring in your own food AND booze. It's a bit more expensive ($750) but it's hard to beat that to be on the water. And I can assure you that almost no one will let you bring in your own alcohol.
When I say you're on the water, I mean you're on the water.
It has a bit of a boat/industrial feel, but if you decorated with something other than hideous colors, I think it could be very beautiful.
The Boston Yatch Haven: Not to be confused with the Boston Sailing Club. This is a botique hotel that very few people know about (but should!) They have free parking for guests and you can rent out one of their rooms for a party right on the water. They have basic hotel rooms inside, but the best part is many of the rooms have a deck overlooking the Boston Harbor. No kitchens inside, but you would have access to a bathroom and some sweet harbor views. The cost here would be just to rent the room. The manager told me they often do parties so I think this would be a usual expectation, so don't feel like you'd need to "sneak" anyone in.
This is the view from your private deck. Yeah, I know.
This is the view from the outside of the hotel, so you can see the deck spaces they have. Ideally you'd want one with a corner spot for more space.
This is what the rooms look like on the inside, so again with the super cute.
Other great options
Stephie's on Tremont: If you're looking for a catered shower in a restaurant, Stephie's on Tremont has a private back room and often hosts baby showers.
City Landing: This is definitely one of my favorite restaurants in the city because their food is amazing but without any pretention. They have a private side room that would be perfect for a shower. Also, bonus points, they are super kid friendly (a whole separate menu, carry covered plastic sippy cups, and have swanky changing tables in the bathrooms). Even if you don't have a shower here, come eat here with your kids.
The Women's Club of Newton Highlands: Someone recommended this to me as a space that will allow outside food and rental of the kitchen space as well. I never toured it but they were very helpful on the phone. I got the sense it was a no frills sort of place (hence no website) but would do the job. The only drawback here is there is no outdoor space. They can be reached at 617-965-1369.
Hill House. This is another no frills sort of space, but friends who take their kids here say that the space is very loved and comfortable. They often do baby showers and birthday parties, however they're closed to special events when they hold summer camp, so this wasn't an option for our party.
Oh, I also know that Addis Red Sea in the South End has a sweet sweet private room in the basement with a thatched roof bar and lots of christmas tree lights. But I didn't include this one on the list because some people might think it's "tacky" or "lacking all taste whatsoever".