By Brian N. Willhite
Choosing the right venue to host your special event or celebration can be a daunting task with so many places offering a variety of options.
We at Bakersfield Life have done some research and found several hip locations in town that are sure to be a perfect fit for the wedding of your dreams, 50-year class reunion, 21st birthday or other celebration. Here is a partial list to consider in your location planning guide.
If there will be out-of-town guests arriving and needing overnight accommodations, choosing a hotel for your celebration may work best for you.
The Padre Hotel gives guests looking for style and flair for their special celebration a one-stop spot at the city's center. The hotel's fine dining experience and bustling night life make The Padre an ideal choice for trendy events in the lounge, dining hall or on the rooftop overlooking downtown Bakersfield. Event planners looking for high-end meeting places with modern designs will also appreciate the hotel's boutique style and amenities. Guests looking to have their wedding at The Padre will also receive a complimentary honeymoon suite, a discount for block room rentals, and a staff dedicated to your event, a coordinator and more.
1702 18th St. thepadrehotel.com, 427-4900.
Bakersfield Marriott Hotel offers guests looking to host their business functions, social events or weddings and receptions an abundance of room space and ideal proximity to Rabobank Arena and the Bakersfield Convention Center, which are next door. Professional catering staff and certified, skilled wedding planners are also on site to organize and coordinate the event to your specifications. The Marriott has 10 meeting spaces and includes the grand ballroom with a seating capacity of 900. The hotel is also conveniently located near county and city offices.
801 Truxtun Ave. marriott.com, 323-1900.
DoubleTree Hotel offers an ideal venue for roaming events, corporate functions, business seminars, social gatherings and weddings for attendees traveling to Bakersfield, as it's close to Highway 99. Guests looking for ample meeting space will appreciate the hotel's large ballroom and meeting rooms located next to each other. The on-site coordinator and professional catering staff will work you to meet the needs of your event. Wedding planners are also available to coordinate and will organize a block of rooms for guests seeking accommodations.
3100 Camino Del Rio Court. doubletree.com, 323-7111.
Four Points by Sheraton Bakersfield offers guests looking to host an event or wedding a variety of elegant backdrops and settings indoor and outdoor. Whether it's a corporate reception or seminar, social gathering, fundraising event, or upscale celebration, Four Points has a formal or banquet space for every engagement for up to 230 seated guests. With wireless high-speed Internet and audio-visual capabilities available, the hotel is sure to fit your business meeting needs. Professional catering for your event is available.
5101 California Ave.. fourpoints.com/bakersfield, 325-9700.
A Touch of History
When the tone of your event calls for local charm that is uniquely Bakersfield, these hometown venues have been doing it well for years.
The Noriega House offers guests a historical and picturesque atmosphere and a versatile setting with the ability to host small or large functions indoors or outside in the scenic garden area. Weddings, bridal showers, corporate events, birthday parties or other life events can all be accommodated here. Included in the package are all the tables, chairs, linens and a coordinator to help create a stress-free event. Set up and take down services are also included in the pricing. Caterers, decorators and DJs are provided by the guest. Reservations for large events should be made at least nine to 12 months in advance. Event packages range from $300 for small events to $5,000 for large scale events.
1325 Baker St. noriegahouse.com, 633-9016.
The Kern County Museum's Pioneer Village has a variety of venue options with their eight different historical and picturesque locations that are sure to be the perfect backdrop for any special event or memorable occasion. Events are rented out in three-hour increments and include all tables and chairs, set up and take down services, security, and a coordinator. Entertainment and decorations are provided by the guest. Prices for booking range from $825 to $1,650.
3801 Chester Ave. kcmuseum.org, 868-8410.
Hodel's Country Dining offers a variety of options. Whether it's a Sunday afternoon luncheon with the family, a business seminar, reunion or large wedding reception, Hodel's can accommodate you with one of their nine banquet rooms, which can host up to 500 guests. They also offer full-service catering at off-site locations for up to 3,000 guests. Hodel's can design a menu to meet your party's needs or guests can serve themselves from the restaurant buffet. Prices for smaller gatherings are per person and depend on breakfast, lunch or dinner menus. Large event packages begin at $2,316 and include tables and chairs, linens, food, and serving staff.
5917 Knudsen Dr. hodels.com, 661-399-3341.
Kern County Basque Club offers guests a large space with plenty of room for dancing, large banquet needs or corporate functions. The hall will hold up to 380 and includes rent-free tables and chairs. Among other on-site amenities are a full kitchen or caterer of choice, as well as barbecue facility and full-service bar. The rental fee, which includes security, totals $1,800. A refundable $500 cleaning fee will be returned upon satisfactory inspection.
2301 South Union Ave. kcbasquclub.com, 833-9420.
Wool Growers Restaurant offers guests space for small- to mid-size gatherings, such as rehearsal dinners, holiday parties, business meetings, reunions or other life celebrations. The family-owned, three-generation establishment specializes in lunch and dinner events with many menu options available. Group prices are on a per person basis and range from $18 to $21 for lunch, and from $27 to $35 for dinner.
620 E. 19th St. woolgrowers.net, 327-9584.
Just the Right Size
If you're looking for an open space to plan your own theme into and fill with banquet tables, then consider large, open halls for your next event.
Bakersfield 420 Club, also known as California Highway Patrolman's Club of Kern County, offers an indoor and outdoor venue allowing you to create the dining or reception area that works best for your event. Weddings, receptions, birthday parties, corporate outings, club events and more can all be accommodated with the club's 200-seat banquet room and outdoor patio area, which includes a gazebo perfect for weddings. The venue also includes a full-service kitchen and bar with restrooms on site. Guests must provide tables and chairs, as well as all decorations, entertainment and security. Cost to rent the venue is $2,200, and $500 is used as a security deposit and refundable upon satisfactory inspection after the event.
3910 Alfred Harrell Highway. bak420.com, 871-5750.
Moorea Banquet Centre offers an elegant space with a neutral color scheme to match the decor of any event, and features plenty of floor space for dancing or banquets. Guests will also enjoy the centre's welcoming foyer, soaring ceilings and cocktail area, as well as the multi-purpose stage to accommodate the needs of their event. A fully functional kitchen is available for the caterer of your choice. Call to discuss pricing for your event.
Palm Island Plaza, 8700 Swigert Ct. No. 109. mooreabanquetcentre.com, 665-1055.
Bakersfield City Firefighters Hall offers a multi-purpose facility to accommodate most events within a quiet area with ample parking. Whether it's a wedding reception, fundraising event, social party or other celebration, the firefighters hall is well-equipped to meet your needs with a 250-person capacity, or 200 diners. Included in the rental price are tables and chairs, as well as use of the commercially equipped kitchen for a caterer of choice. Audio and video equipment, including a jumbo-size screen and a full service bar, are also available for an additional fee. Rental prices range from $600 to $1,600, with an additional refundable deposit of $500 to $1,000, depending on event size.
7320 Wible Road. bakersfieldfirefighters.net, 397-1001.
Elks Lodge offers a downtown location ideal for large banquets, receptions or corporate functions featuring its grand hall, welcoming foyer, full-service kitchen, and audio-video options. Rental of the lodge is $1,750 and includes tables and chairs, kitchen use, cleaning, security for the event and a bartender. Guests must provide their own linens, entertainment, and decorations. Check out time is midnight.
1616 30th St. 865-0584.
Bakersfield Womans Club is a venue rich in historical charm that can accommodate most functions large or small. The 1921 landmark includes a stage, a bar, an outside patio area, and full kitchen with an ice maker on site. Tables and chairs are also provided, though renters will be responsible for set up and clean up before and after the event. Maximum capacity is 325 for banquet seating and 350 auditorium-style seating. Renters will also provide their own caterers and linens, though decorators will appreciate the neutral color scheme to allow for more versatility. The club rents for $2,000 for eight hours with additional time for set up. An additional $1,000 refundable security fee is also added.
2030 18th St. bakersfieldwomansclub.com, 325-7889.
Non-traditional or a new twist
Hosting your celebration in a non-traditional venue can be a fun alternative for some. Here are a few places for you to consider.
Bakersfield Museum of Art can accommodate just about any type of event, whether it's a surprise birthday celebration or formal social gathering, with the museum's rich, inviting atmosphere. The museum's versatile space includes a banquet room that seats up to 175, as well as a shady, outdoor garden area with a maximum capacity of 300 perfect for weddings and receptions, too. Event package deals include additional time for rehearsals and set up and includes the use of tables and chairs, audio system, piano and security. Wedding packages range from $1,000 to $2,500.
1930 R St. bmoa.org, 323-7219.
Metro Galleries, one of Bakersfield's premier art galleries, offers guests an elegant decorum with versatile lighting and a loft space to entertain. Event packages are available to accommodate small weddings, parties or social gatherings, as well as larger functions with a maximum occupancy of 320, or 200 seated. Some of the gallery's features include cherry hardwood floors, a baby grand piano, and parking space in the downtown parking garage half a block away. The gallery is also available for rental by the hour.
1604 19th St. themetrogalleries.com.
Elements Venue at the historic Ice House offers guests a non-traditional and fresh atmosphere with two levels and inviting patio adjacent to the outside water fountain. The venue can be transformed to the setting of your choice and is ideal for birthday parties, private concerts, social events, business functions or small weddings. The venue can accommodate 100 seated guests on the first level and 50 in the loft, with additional space at the bar. Pricing ranges from $800 to $2,500, and includes use of the bar and fully equipped kitchen, as well as the stage and DJ booth. Renters must provide decorations and entertainment.
3401 Chester Ave. Suite H. elementsvenue.com, 869-1952.
Elegant, country clubs
For those looking for the elegant, fine dining experience for the setting of an event, member-owned clubs provide a multitude of professional services in-house. Here are some local clubs to consider.
Bakersfield Country Club offers members and member-sponsored guests a stunning view of the San Joaquin Valley and the Tehachapi Mountains from the clubhouse's main dining room, and the outdoor courtyard. Guests looking to host their weddings, receptions, dinner events or other special occasion will enjoy the benefits of the club's in-house catering staff, whose dishes have received numerous accolades. The club can accommodate up to 250 guests with overflow space available in the patio and lounge area. In addition to a personal event coordinator, guests can also order a custom-made ice sculpture, out of a 300-pound ice block, done in-house. Prices vary depending on services requested and entree choices. All events not hosted by a member must have a member sponsor the event.
4200 Country Club Dr. bakersfieldcountryclub.com, 871-4000.
Seven Oaks Country Club offers five-star service for events hosted by members and member-sponsored guests through trained staff and catering professionals who will make your wedding or social engagement one to remember. The club also features a variety of hosting facilities that are ideal for small gatherings or dinner events, as well as larger functions for up to 400 guests in the ballroomand up to 600 outdoors. The formal dining experience and picturesque grounds, lake and beautiful rose garden are sure to make any engagement one to remember. Rental prices vary depending on the time of year, and range from $1,000 to $2,000 for room rental, as well as a per person food fee.
2000 Grand Lakes Ave. sevenoakscountryclub.com, 664-6404.
The Petroleum Club of Bakersfield offers guests a high-rise view of the city from the 12th floor of the centrally-located building. Guests will enjoy professional staff and catering for their weddings, receptions, social engagements or corporate functions in a stress-free environment with the assistance of the provided coordinator. The club has a maximum capacity of 250 and is equipped to handle all of your audio-video needs. Price is on a per person basis and range from $29 to $48 depending on the menu desired. Renters must provide their own entertainment and centerpieces. In addition, an additional fee is charged for non-members. The club is closed on Sundays.
5060 California Ave. thepetroleumclub.com, 324-6561.
Stockdale Country Club offers elegant options to meet your event needs regardless of the size. Whether it's a five-person dinner or a large formal wedding, Stockdale Country Club will provide members and non-members with a beautiful atmosphere and a professional staff to help create a memorable event. The club has an ideal location for anniversary dinners, holiday receptions, or corporate engagements, including serene ceremonial and wedding locations. Prices vary depending on menu options, and event specifics and services needed. Non-members must also have a member sponsor.
7001 Stockdale Highway. stockdalecc.com, 832-0310.