For a ceremony under the grape vines, and a secluded garden reception with a farm-to-table family style dinner, the Big Bear is an ideal intimate urban hideaway.
There are many ways we can work together to design the perfect event.
The Big Bear is located in a small residential neighborhood in the heart of Washington, DC. It is a brick historic 120 year old Victorian commercial townhouse surrounded by cobblestone patios with flowering gardens, trees, and old native grape vines.
The Big Bear is a neighborhood cafe, coffeeshop, and restaurant with a history of award winning chefs, exceptional food, and professional service.
The indoor dining area has a full service traditional bar, walls of exposed brick and plaster, and rough-hewn hardwood tables built from the reclaimed beams of the original 120 year old Big Bear Market.
- The space is candle-lit at night and tables are configured for either large communal table dining. or the room can be cleared for an open-floor reception.
- The outside garden patio can be used in conjunction with the indoor space to allow for a separate outdoor use (such as an outdoor dining space, reception drinking area, outdoor fire pit seating area, presentation space, or other special activity).
- Between late April and early November the outdoor dining area can seat up to 85 guests for dining on the garden patios. This typically involves 2 long common tables side by side that run down the length of the patio with an optional main “head table” set at the end. There is an additional smaller patio for additional reception space, and the indoor dining area that can be used for receptions or the dinner itself..
- For an unseated open floor reception style event we can accommodate up to 130 guests between late April and early November utilizing both the indoor and outdoor spaces.
- The indoor dining space can accommodate 48 guests for a seated meal, or 70 guests for an open floor reception style event.
- Events larger than 40 guests require a full buy-out of both the indoor and the outdoor spaces.
- In the event of inclement weather, we can erect a canopy tent to cover the 1st street patio. With the canopy tent, there is space for 80 - 100 guests in an open floor reception style set up.
- On-site wedding ceremonies are available for a $500 fee, and can take place indoors, or outdoors on the patio.
- A full buyout of both the indoor and outdoor spaces is required for onsite ceremonies that have more than 25 guests.
- We can accommodate outdoor wedding ceremonies for 2 - 80 guests. Please note that ceremonies with over 60 guests may require a chair rental from a 3rd party rental company. We can assist in setting this up.
- Wedding ceremonies must begin after 5:00 PM (with guest arrival time 30 minutes before).
- In the event of rain, it is unlikely that we can provide an indoor or covered wedding ceremony for groups larger than 35. However, we can work with you to try and make an outdoor wedding work despite inclement weather. Please inquire with your event manager for more details.
- For a wedding reception with a seated meal for more than 60 guests with an onsite ceremony, it is likely that we will need to “flip” the patio after the ceremony during an after-ceremony cocktail reception. We will need to charge a fee for additional staffing for this quick (and seemless) transition service.
- We do not have an outdoor speaker system that can be used for ceremony music. However, if you have a small PA speaker, you are welcome to bring it for use during your wedding ceremony. After your ceremony, we can only allow music to be played indoors. This is a requirement of our patio license, and we want to be respectful of our residential neighbors.
- Please note that we do not provide “day-of” wedding ceremony coordination services.
- In considering decor, note that we provide burlap table runners for your dining tables, and candle votives for the common spaces (bar, tables, wall shelves, etc). The candle-lit space is beautiful as is, but you are welcome to bring outside flowers and other decorations that you choose.
- With outside decorations we cannot accept flowers or other decor prior to 1.5 hours before your event start time. This is simply because we have no space to safely store outside items, and we need outside items to be installed when they arrive. Also, please note that we cannot assume liability for any items delivered to Big Bear ahead of your event start time.
- Big Bear has an amazing in-house bakery, but we do not make traditional wedding cakes. All desserts from our events menu are made in-house and are amazing.
- If you wish to have a wedding cake at your wedding reception, you are welcome to bring one from an outside bakery. We charge a $2 per person fee for plating and serving outside wedding cakes ($1.50 for cupcakes). Please note that we cannot accept wedding cakes or outside desserts prior to 1 hour before your event start time. We also do not have refrigeration space to store your wedding cake.
FOOD AND MEAL RELATED INFORMATION:
- We offer event menus with seasonal options made from the best ingredients in the area.
- We serve a wide variety of dinner and reception items, and we are happy to work with you on custom items.
- We have a full bar with excellent beer, wine, and cocktail selections. We can work together to design your event and meet the needs of your specific vision.
- For seated meals larger than 10 guests, meals are typically served family-style with large platters set on the table for guests to help serve one another. Alternately, platters can be set at a separate service table for more of a buffet style service.
- If you have guests with allergies or other dietary restrictions we are happy to accommodate. We can prepare options that are vegan, gluten free, onion-free, oil-free, or meat-only.
- Please note that for severe nut and other allergies where cross-contamination may be an issue, we recommend sourcing a meal from a certified vendor and bringing it in. We can heat, plate and serve it to your guest at the table.