Oakland Wedding Venue
1520 Lakeside Drive
Oakland, California 94612
Ringed by a delicate necklace of lights and comprised of parkland, gardens, and historic civic structures, Lake Merritt and its environs is not only the vibrant heart of Oakland, it’s a thriving urban wildlife sanctuary (the first official refuge in the U.S.). A multiyear project to upgrade the lakeshore’s landscaping and buildings was completed in 2010, and the city’s “crown jewel” now has a waterfront restaurant worthy of its surroundings: the Lake Chalet.
Stepping down past colorful flowerbeds, you enter the handsomely restored edifice that was once the Lake Merritt Boathouse. It has never looked this grand. Materials throughout include water-inspired themes. Blue-painted curved wood panels reminiscent of a ship’s hull, charcoal-colored floors, blackened steel, lacquer-red metal and mahogany accents surround you in comfort and luster. A magnificent white marble bar, running nearly the length of what used to be the Pump House, faces a long window view of the lake that extends all the way to the opposite shore. To the right, on the south side of the Lake Chalet, a 30-seat Executive Dining room with fireplace, big screen TV, wine library, garden views and separate entrance for red carpet arrivals is ideal for small mixers, meetings, rehearsal dinners or a hideaway for the bride.
Breezes blowing in through the restaurant’s many windows draw you outside to the well-appointed patios, where a dock broad enough to accommodate a wedding ceremony, cocktail reception, or dinner reaches out into the placid lake waters. Outfitted with stylish furniture, heat lamps, palm trees, umbrellas and its own bar, this unique site has a resort-like feel. Wild ducks, snowy egrets, crested night herons and pelicans are among the protected birds that are at home here, as are the gondolas that glide gracefully by. That’s right—a taste of Venice has come to Lake Merritt! Gondola Servicio and its genial gondoliers are available for pickup and delivery during an event. Picture the bride’s dramatic arrival or the newlyweds’ departure in one of those slender black vessels. Better yet, capture the moment in photos.
The romance will linger in the Gondola Room, named after that charming conveyance. Three walls of windows frame panoramic views, and European-style balconies look out over the dock and lake. Private restrooms, kitchen, and bar; light and lustrous earth colors; hardwood floors and an atmosphere of ease and serenity make it an excellent setting for fabulous wedding receptions, as well as corporate events, fundraisers and cocktail parties. The bar here, like all the others indoors and out, has fine beers on tap. And yes, the food is also amazing. This place is, after all, run by the talented restaurateurs responsible for the Beach Chalet Brewery & Restaurant and the Park Chalet Garden Restaurant in San Francisco.
If your guests want to stay in town, there are lakeside, downtown and bayside hotels just a short ride away. Many of the city’s most popular attractions—the Oakland Museum, Jack London Square, City Hall and the transbay ferries—are also nearby, but remember, Lake Merritt is home to some of the best of them: Children’s Fairyland, the Rotary Nature Center, and of course, the marvelous Lake Chalet.
50% of the food and beverage minimum is required to reserve your date and the balance is due in full on the day of the event. Rental fees range $150–5,000 depending on the items needed. Meals start at $50/person. Tax, beverages and a 20% service charge are additional.
Special Events, Parties
Kitchen Facilities: n/a
Tables & Chairs: provided
Linens, Silver, etc.: provided
Restrooms: wheelchair accessible
Dance Floor: provided
Bride’s Dressing Area: CBA, extra fee
Meeting Equipment: some provided, CBA
Parking: large lot, valet required, garage nearby
Accommodations: no guestrooms
Telephone: office and guest phones
Outdoor Night Lighting: provided
Outdoor Cooking Facilities: BBQ on site
View: park, garden, landscaped grounds, cityscape, lake
Banquet Hall/Events Facility
Alcohol: provided or BYO with corkage fee
Smoking: designated areas only
Music: amplified OK
Wheelchair Access: yes
Insurance: not required
BYO w/ Corkage Fee
Alternate Info: The Lake Chalet Seafood Bar and Grill