Oakland Wedding Venue
1736 Franklin Street
Oakland, California 94612
During the Roaring Twenties, everyone loved a party. These were the days when folks dressed to the nines for “dinner and dancing.” If you lived in the East Bay during those rollicking times, the highlight of your night on the town would probably have been doing the Charleston at the Leamington Hotel’s elegant grand ballroom. Though the Leamington is no longer in business, its Ballroom is still going strong, rechristened as the California Ballroom. Thanks to a loving renovation, an invitation to this impressive landmark—just a few blocks from picturesque Lake Merritt—is still an occasion to look forward to.
When you arrive at the Ballroom, pass through a pair of wrought-iron gates that open to a walkway shaded by a burgundy awning. Once inside, stand back and take in the authentic Art Deco styling of this appealing space. The cream-colored walls contrast nicely with carpeting the color of fine claret, which gives way to a 700-square-foot hardwood dance floor polished to a high gloss. In fact, the Ballroom is quite spacious, and even if you leave plenty of room for dancing, you can still comfortably seat 250 guests for dinner. Have more guests than that? Put tables on the dance floor, and have them cleared when folks are ready to kick up their heels.
The Ballroom feels even more expansive thanks to the lofty ceiling, which also sports a classic balcony reminiscent of a vintage playhouse. The ceiling itself is an art piece, lined with gold-leaf cornices and boasting gold-leaf panels in traditional Art Deco style. Ornate chandeliers bear complementary detailing, echoed throughout the décor. For example, along the walls you’ll find several beveled-glass mirrors topped with elaborate gold carvings of heraldic emblems and cherubim. The more time you spend in the Ballroom, the more grace notes you discover, such as the antique-style light sconces that help set the mood with their subtle glow. Potted greenery illumined with twinkle lights accents the walls, and there’s even a built-in bar in one corner, with a mirrored backsplash for a jazzy touch.
Perhaps the fanciest ornamentation is reserved for the proscenium of the large stage, which focuses all eyes up front towards its intricate design. A polished wood apron extends beyond burgundy velvet curtains and a scalloped valance. Many couples are so taken with the stage’s innate drama that they hold their wedding ceremonies here, with guests seated below. Afterwards, the crowd heads for the bar and the dance floor is quickly cleared or set with more tables. You may decide to put the head table on the stage so everyone can admire the happy couple; alternatively, you might let your band or DJ be front and center, so they can best assist in coordinating each phase of your event.
The Ballroom includes a coat room (don’t you wish more places offered this old-fashioned amenity?), as well as ample parking. There’s an on-site kitchen, and you can bring in the caterer of your choice to serve the latest haute cuisine, or some retro favorites (think Veal Oscar and Cherries Jubilee). Completely private and reasonably priced, the California Ballroom brings a nostalgic glamour to your wedding or other momentous celebration.
CEREMONY, EVENT/RECEPTION & MEETING CAPACITY: The Ballroom holds 200 seated classroom-style, 300 seated at round tables, 350 seated theater-style or 600 standing guests.
Half of the rental fee (as a nonrefundable deposit) is required to reserve your date. The balance is due 90 days prior to the event. A cleaning deposit, along with security and other fees are due 30 days prior to the event. Rental fees range $1,000–2,500 depending on the day and time rented and the type of event. A $75/hour rehearsal charge is additional.
There is a discount for 501(c)(3) nonprofit groups on weekdays. For weekday business meetings and functions, fees vary depending on the day and time of the event; call for specific rates.
Special Events, Parties
Kitchen Facilities: moderately equipped
Tables & Chairs: provided
Linens, Silver, etc.: CBA, BYO or through caterer
Restrooms: wheelchair accessible
Dance Floor: hardwood floor
Bride’s Dressing Area: yes
Meeting Equipment: CBA, extra charge
Parking: on-site lot and on-street
Accommodations: no guest rooms
Outdoor Night Lighting: access only
Outdoor Cooking Facilities: no
Cleanup: renter or caterer
Other: stage, wetbar, event coordination CBA
Banquet Hall/Events Facility
Alcohol: BYO, must have controlled bar
Smoking: outdoors only
Music: amplified OK indoors
Wheelchair Access: yes
Insurance: certificate required
Other: no tape, tacks or nails; no open flames; no rice or birdseed
Year-round, daily, until midnight on weekdays and until 2am on weekends.