Deciding where to hold your next corporate event is a major decision. Multiple factors come into play: cost, value, experience, transportation, logistics.
There can also be internal politics and competing interests as everyone is suddenly an “expert” on what will make for the best experience. It can also be overwhelming in a place like the SF Bay Area, where there are nearly limitless options available to us.
We break down 3 of our favorite venues to help you gain a little bit of clarity on the big decision. We hope that even if these venues don’t make the cut for you, this article can help to illustrate some of the factors that go into the decision process.
Above all, we urge you to consider all the factors carefully, as the venue is one of the most important decisions you have to make!
Below are 3 venues that are near and dear to our hearts, and cover a variety of uses / styles. We’ve personally worked at all 3 and can therefore verify the experience and logistics of each
Photo by Gustavo Fernandez at Spring Awakening Event, Entire Productions
Emphasis: Classy / High End Event
The first time you walk into the Bentley Reserve in San Francisco’s Financial District – your jaw hits the floor. From the great columns on the outside, to the gorgeous ballroom – The Bentley is truly a crown jewel of event venues.
If you are looking to impress co-workers, guests and your boss, this is one of the premiere venues in the world, let alone San Francisco in which to do it. Just beware that the price tag that comes along with it will be steep.
Pro tip: Make sure that the sound vendor fills the room with PLENTY of speakers. This is because the hard surfaces make it very reflective and thus difficult to hear the sound. Using 8 smaller speakers instead of 2 big speakers will have significant sonic benefit. Just make sure they use painters tape, as the venue is VERY particular about their floors ????
The good: Amazing venue with marble floors and a rich history in the financial district.
The bad: Very expensive!
The unexpected: How truly magical the venue feels once filled with professional lighting.
Emphasis: Educational event with lots of projects to occupy guests
The Exploratorium is another San Francisco staple. Whether you had the chance to visit in the old home at the Palace of Fine Arts or the new home at the Embarcadero, the spirit and life of the Exploratorium will continue to inspire you for years to come.
While some my feel the venue is geared towards the younger crowd, we feel much differently about it. There are endlessly fun and fascinating experiments and exhibits which will surely enthrall guests of all ages.
The new location on Pier 15 is reminiscent of old rave warehouse venues the San Francisco is known for (Groove, anyone?). It’s big, beautiful and full of wonder.
Pro tip – Make sure to section off an area specifically for dancing (and make sure to put the main bar inside). One of the drawbacks of a venue this large is that folks tend to really spread out all over the place. It can make it difficult to create the momentum necessary for a dance floor to get going.
The good: Never ending list of fun projects to keep your guests busy!
The bad: Logistics will be very difficult for vendors as they have to load in from an adjacent pier and have a narrow window of time to work with.
The unexpected: Guests will constantly be blown away by what they learn and discover. Not just for kids!!
Emphasis: Something truly unique and very fun!
SPiN is the new kid on the block – literally. In their FABULOUS new building (pictured above) they have carved out a gorgeous, modern and artistic home, right in the heart of San Francisco’s SOMA district.
I had the distinct pleasure of helping them with their opening night party and WHAT a party it was. Celebs, socialites, tech elites and all manner of artists, freaks, geeks and ping pong rockstars were there in full effect. The crowd was right out of Burning Man and absolutely brimming with energy.
The concept of a “Ping Pong Social Club” is unique, relevant and absolutely the kind of revitalization that the SOMA has been working towards for years. I’m old enough to remember when the SOMA was a place you had to be careful walking around at night. Thankfully those days are behind us and venues like SPiN have been instrumental to the transformation.
Pro Tip: It’s easy to get lost in the music, great food and hustle and bustle of a busy corporate event. Whatever you do – don’t forget to have a game of Ping Pong!! It’s way more fun than you remember, and you’ll probably find yourself heading back to SPiN after work next week, to re-live the experience again!
The good: Beautiful new location, with fabulous art and style.
The bad: Location in Soma means parking is expensive and traffic can be pretty tough.
The unexpected: Ping Pong is endlessly fun and entertaining!! You’ll be addicted before you know it!