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The best office party venues

Planning an office celebration? Time Out Sydney tells you where to have it, what can go wrong and how to avoid the Monday morning walk of shame

Office Christmas parties: why do we have them? Employees over-indulge, over-share and resent having to socialise with people they might not like. For employers, meanwhile, parties are a legal minefield that can result in anything from photocopied genitals (see above – almost) to fistfights to worker's compensation claims.

Yet the office party is an important opportunity for employers to show their appreciation to their staff for a year of hard work. They're also a chance colleagues might not otherwise have to get to bond and team-build.

If you're on the lookout for a location for this year's company bash, try one of the following great Sydney venues, ideal for intimate gatherings, medium-sized shindigs or large corporate blow-outs.

Around 25 people

The Australian Heritage Hotel

Sit back with a slice of pizza or a plate of barbecued prawns and a beer in hand – a very Australian way to celebrate Christmas. Function packages for 30-50 people, at $70-$85pp.

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The Rocks

Balla

Get 28 people together and take over the private dining room at the Star's Italian hot spot. There are three set menus available – ranging from $95 to $115 – and beverage packages available.

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Darling Harbour

Golden Century

A private room starts at $800 minimum food spend or you can be out amongst the action with banqut menus starting at $44. Nothing says 'good job' like pippis in XO sauce, crisp-skinned chicken and steamed parrot fish.

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Haymarket
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Longrain

A killer menu and 100-year old warehouse combine for a superb Thai experience to spice up your Christmas. Set menu is $65-$75pp, drinks not included. 

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Surry Hills

Manly Wine

Dip your feet in the pool or enjoy a top drop in the ‘secret' outdoor garden terrace. Set menu is $45pp for November and $60pp for December; canapés $31; wine $19-$100 per bottle; cocktails $14-$19.50.

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Manly

Mr Wong

Send off the year that was with mud crabs, barbecued duck, dumplings and wine. Banquet menus start at $68 and max out at $138 with all the best bits included. 

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Sydney
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50-100 people

Sokyo Lounge

So many options at the Star's Japanese restaurant – three set menus for dinner ($100-$150), three for lunch ($50-$60), a canapés selection and beverage packages too.

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Darling Harbour

The Sheaf

Eastern suburbs local downstairs, plush cocktail bar upstairs - the Sheaf is many things to many people and they have a stack of spaces for hire and beverage packages range from $29 to $68 and can run from two to five hours.

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Double Bay

The Loft

Indoor and outdoor areas offer views of Darling Harbour from the Northern Terrace. Fits 40-120 people (standing) and canapé packages are available from $29.50. 

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Darling Harbour
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The Local Taphouse

You can have the whole middle floor of the Taphouse to yourself - it fits 100 people - which means unfettered access to the 20 craft beers on tap and roving pizzas at this excellent local. 

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Darlinghurst

The Vic

Feeding 100 people is a snack at the Vic. They have a spit roast out on the balcony where they will cook up a 26kg lamb or pig (approx $900). Plus they have a basketball hoop for an end of year, 3x3 comp and heaps of space for people to mingle.

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Marrickville

Opera Bar

Forget Christmas decorations - nothing beats the Sydney Harbour as a backdrop to a party. You can reserve an outdoor space for 50-200 people or if you want to avoid the hire charge you can always arrive early for an unreserved space. Plus the kitchen is open intil midnight in case things get a little too festive.

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Sydney
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The Morrison Bar & Oyster Room

You can either take over the glassed in Conservatory for 100-150 people (it has a retractable roof and its own bar) or the Parlour for up to 80 festive types in a New York style pub. Sit down meals start at $55 per head, or keep people standing for $40 per person.

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The Rocks

Watsons Bay Boutique Hotel

Waterfront views is the calorie-free condiment that turns a celebration up to 11. Head out to the eastern tip of the city to the Watsons Bay Hotel where you can hire out the top deck (complete with retractable roof) that seats 120 and fits 200 standing, plus they do barebcue catering

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Watsons Bay

100-200 people

The Bathers' Pavilion

Breakfast is the business overlooking Balmoral beach here. Pioneer chef Serge Dansereau has one of the most attractively located restaurants, looking out over Balmoral beach. "My most pleasurable moment was when I opened Bathers' nearly ten years ago and my three new kitchens suddenly came alive," says Dansereau.

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Mosman

Clovelly Hotel

Sit back and ponder beautiful Clovelly Beach with a cold beer in hand and platters of delicious stuff circulating the room. Platters are $40-$80 each; drinks packages $30-$90pp per hour. 

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Clovelly

Cruise Bar

Cruise has an outdoor terrace with awesome views of the Opera House that can fit 270 when combined with the indoor area. The buffet barbecue menu is $75pp. Drinks packages or bar tab available.

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The Rocks
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Crystal Bar

Crystal Bar is just one of the plethora of venues within the GPO. Function packages start from one hour, but the bar has a licence until 3am. A Gold four-hour package will cost $61.25pp.

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Sydney

Greenwood Hotel

The Greenwood Lounge Bar provides a cracking party venue with a selection of platters or Turkish pizzas and a dance floor. Platters are $25-$75; pizzas $35; room hire $400.

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North Sydney

Lowenbrau Keller

Put some oompah in your festivities with imported beers, schnapps and hearty German fare. Sun-Thu 9am-late. Their special Christmas set menu is $48-$54 and they're offering free schnapps.

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The Rocks
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Newport Arms Hotel

Sydney's most fabulously located pub offers folks the chance to party in a marquee, in their restaurant upstairs or in the famous beer garden. The Aussie barbecue buffet is $44pp (not available Sunday lunch) and there is a gourmet pizza package, too, for $25pp.

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Newport

The World Bar

A party party. Enjoy cocktails up on the third floor of the World Bar while the streets of Kings Cross pulse below. The guys cater from group functions Sunday to Friday, from 3pm-late. Minimum bar spend is $1,000 with DJ for $50 per hour.

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Potts Point

300+ people

Chinese Garden of Friendship

Step into these incredibly beautiful gardens and enjoy a Christmas that's worlds away from sausages and beers. The entire area can hold 300 people. Canapés and beverages. Available Mon-Sun for a 6.5 hour period, 5.30pm-midnight. Entire venue cost is $3,850.

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Sydney

The Darling

For big corporate blow-out, the location doesn't get much more spectacular than the lobby at the Darling Hotel at the Star. The artwork's stunning – look up at the suspended swallow, look down at the Akira Isogawa rugs – and the venue can hold 200 people seated, 400 for cocktails.

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Darling Harbour

Establishment Bar

The corporate Christmas dream locale. Enjoy the marble! Cost starts at $80pp. Want the ballroom? Note for cocktails it takes 400-pax capacity, for 192 for banquet and 144 for cabaret.

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Sydney
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Hyde Park Barracks

One of Sydney's landmark locations, it was built in 1819 and can hold up to 500 people. The walled courtyard creates a lovely private space. Catering by Sparkling Catering and Events. For 350-person banquet, 6pm-midnight, $3,990 – the same price as cocktails for 1,200 from 6-10pm.

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Sydney

Paddington Town Hall

You can hire the whole hall that fits 750 people for a cocktail event and then it's a case of finding a caterer who fits your budget. Venue hire is $3,520 for a gala dinner, but for simpler cocktail event with no kitchen usage, price is up to $2,480.

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Paddington

Rock Lily

It's all about live music and tequila at the Star's hip little bar. There are set menus and beverage packages available and the venue can fit 300 people if you book it out for exclusive use.

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Darling Harbour
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Sydney Town Hall

Work for a corporate giant? Sydney Town Hall can fit up to 2000 people in the glorious Centennial Hall and vestibule. This is not going to be a cheap endeavour, but when your company is that big there's not a lot of indoor spots that can house you.

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Sydney

The Argyle

This mega-bar in the heart of the Rocks can hold 1,500 guests. Room hire and/or minimum spends apply. Canapés start from $4 each – no set packages. 

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The Rocks

Ivy Ballroom

If you have 1,000 workmates then check out the epic, pillarless ballroom with zebra-patterned floors and two solid glass walls at ivy. About $100pp. Functions at 6.30-10am, 11am-4pm & 6pm-late. 

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Sydney
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Vessel

This King St Wharf joint has a 6 Green Star rating and a very slick-looking nautical theme. The venue fits 400-800 people. Canapé packages are $15.50-$34.50pp. Beverage package: two hours $29-$44; three hours $39-$52; or four hours $49-$62.

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Darling Harbour

Something different

Aerialize

Bond with your co-workers attempting to build a human pyramid. High-fives galore! Price by quote, refreshments included. Classes range from $135 to $285. Toast your success afterwards with some cleansing ales at the Golden Barley Hotel.

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Canterbury

Bondi Bowling Club

Sunshine, alcohol and a bit of competitive sport all equal sure-fire winner for an office party. Shoes optional. Canapé packages start at $40 per person, you can upgrade to a barbecue pack or order up a whole beast cooked on the spit. 

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Bondi North

Coogee Beach

Bondi's underappreciated little sister? Perhaps. But give Coogee its due. Compact and beautiful with good lookout points at either end, the main strip on Coogee Bay Road has been really upping its game in the café and restaurant stakes as well. Be sure to also check out Coogee Pavilion to see what all the fuss is about.

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Coogee
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District 3

Release your frustration at the guy that always changes the air-conditioning settings with a bit of the old laser tag, or on some dodgems. There are party deals here from $25pp. 

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Sydney

K-Square

Laugh as your co-workers lose all dignity belting out classics (and in our case, some not-so-classics). Snacks are available as well as liquid courage. Rooms hold 6-40 people and are $28-$148 per hour. Happy Hours apply, but not on Friday or Saturday nights after 8pm.

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Haymarket
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For when you're planning a different kind of party

Alternative hens party ideas

We love a game of Mr & Mrs – or Mrs & Mrs – but even the most inspired of hens parties tend to follow the same tired routine. Shake up the agenda and do something unexpected. The bride-to-be will thank you.

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By: Emma Joyce