The quickest way to make something un-fun is to make it mandatory. In that vein, work parties can tip-toe the line between a blast and a bust. If you genuinely love your coworkers, regardless of your job, you can make any outing fun. But if you are lucky (or unlucky…) enough to be put in charge of your office holiday party plans, we’ve got a go-to guide to keep your holiday hop poppin’, while keepin’ it local. Here are some scenarios in which you can throw down with your cubicle mates and actually let off some steam.
Sometimes the best venue is inside your office. You already know you all fit, and everybody presumably has a parking spot. You just need to spice up the space. Gather some garlands from some party supply stores, or have a pre-party craft-a-thon and make some decorations. Then, it’s on to the important stuff: food and booze. Let’s address the most important part first: booze. The goal here isn’t to get wasted at work (or is it?) so keep it light with a couple bottles of wine—red and white if you feel so inclined—and maybe some lagers for the beer drinkers. In other words, you’re an adult and there’s no need to overthink. In 2018, essentially everyone is on a diet. Keto? That would be Stacy, the secretary. Vegan? Adam down in accounting cut animal products out in January and is surprisingly still going strong. If you are looking to please everyone’s palates this holiday season, Graze could be a safe bet. They offer all the meats so your keto friends can stay in ketosis, and every vegan knows sides are truly what makes Thanksgiving great and they have plenty of ‘em like maple-dijon green beans and roasted sweet potatoes with rosemary. On the other hand, you could tell Stacy that she might have to break the diet for one day, and sorry that you’re environmentally conscious, Adam, and get a whole Thanksgiving feast from Hoggy’s. Hoggy’s Pilgrim Feast will keep your office Thanksgiving a bit more traditional with their fully smoked turkey and ham as well as all the fixins, like your choice of mac’n’cheese or mashed potatoes and green beans with bacon. Finish off your feast with some apple cobbler and you’ll be ready for a 4 p.m. meeting with the back of your eyelids at your desk. If the budget isn’t looking so full for the feast, snag some fast casual catering from Sweet Carrot. It won’t be a traditional Thanksgiving meal—you’ll still have a bird, but it’ll be a chicken, and it’ll be in meatball form.
Away for the Day
If you want to get out on the town with your time-clock comrades, you can set up an excursionary crawl. Hop around downtown, sampling drinks and snacks from various vendors. There are a couple of corridors around the city where you can stretch your legs without having to drive. Fourth street has The Walrus, where you can nosh and sip while playing some pub games and checking out a live band. Around the corner is 16-Bit Bar + Arcade, where you can snag some themed cocktails and free-play the arcade games. Move on to El Camino Inn for Mexican-style street food, but watch out for those tequila cocktails. For some late-night grub, head over to Dirt Frank’s Hot Dog Palace for some gourmet dogs. If weiners aren’t your game, smash some pizza at Mikey’s Late Night Slice up the block until 4 a.m.
In the ever-evolving Short North, you can have a fair share of fun within an uber’s ride from home. Start at Oddfellow’s Liquor Bar, where you can attend a drunk spelling bee, trivia night, or just pet some pups on their dog-friendly patio. Across the street, just a jog away is Local Bar, where they have the ultimate holiday office party fest/fiasco opportunity. That’s right. Karaoke. After that, cross High Street again (carefully) and head over to Big Fun. With a photo booth in the back, you can make some memories for your cubicle walls, and pick out gifts for your dudes from the bins and shelves of oddities and memorabilia for which they are known. If you want to keep it classy, head up to The Rossi, where you can sip fancy cocktails, and pretend you didn’t just watch a hermit crab race at Local Bar, and buy a salacious gag gift at Big Fun. Exploring the city lets you do the on thing you can never do in the workplace: Wander!
Chillin’ in the V.I.P.
If you want to get out of your regular digs, but know that Cheryl from accounting is gonna really let it all hang out, and that Ray from sales will end up curled up napping on a hightop table before the apps are eaten, maybe it’s best to hold your soiree somewhere where no outsiders will see the evidence. These private rentals around town will give you guys a place to tearfully toast one another without an audience, and they’ll clean up the chaos when all is said and done.
We’re all just looking for a reason to get out of work to kick back a few beers, so why try and hide it during the holiday season? Endeavor Brewing Company offers a completely soundproof glass room within the bar as well as plenty of board games, and your own TV where you can control the music, the volume, and everything else in between. Plus, you know, Endeavor’s beer is delicious. If you wanna get real fancy, you can rent out the rooftop at Juniper, above the Smith Bros. warehouse on 4th street. Top-of-the-line tapas can be the star of your soiree. Rent the new event space at Seventh Son Brewing for a chance to quaff brews straight from the source. You can have space to seat 50 guests, but squeeze some more in by leaving the room open for people to mingle. Sales staff can regale the creative content team with their client nightmares. And the social media wizards can let their cool rub off on the accounting department. Dance floor, anyone?