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.
Of course, if you just want to take the team out and say thank you, a table at one of Sydney's 50 best restaurants is a good shout, as is booking out one of these private dining rooms in Sydney so that no one minds if you get a bit rowdy or talk at length about standard operating procedures.
Kicking on? Here's the 50 best bars in Sydney.
Around 25 people
How many: 20 or more
What's on offer: This buzzy spacious pub is ultra inclusive and place an emphasis on fun. You can opt for the beer garden or the games room, or hire the lounge upstairs exclusively. The pizzas are crisp, there are vegan and veggo options and there's a stack of craft brews on tap.
Price: You can choose from two function menus at $21.50 and $27.50pp
How many: Book in for 4-15 people in the bistro, reserve a space on the pub floor or the back courtyard.
What's on offer: This true-blue, dinky-di, Aussie pub is exactly where we want to do our drinking. There's also darts, a pool table, killer schnitties and Mary's burgers.
Price: Counter meals start at $25
How many: 8-10 people
What's on offer: There are two intimate private dining rooms, which are a world of their own. The first fits ten and the second just eight, so you might have to be brutal with the invite list.
Price: Groups can choose from two menu options which feature a roll call of Hubert’s takes on French classics, at $85pp or $125pp, depending on appetites (not including wine).
How many: The communal table seats 24 people.
What's on offer: There's some genuinely tasty gear on offer here like the sweet little prawn cake nubbins; crisp pork belly with Chinese broccoli; or the red curry of beef with crisp noodles.
Price: The banquet menu starts at $40pp and you can BYO for only $5 a head.
How many: 20 or more
What's on offer: We don’t need to tell you how much Sydney loves a rooftop bar, and the top floor addition to the East Village Hotel (previously the Darlo Village) is an A-grade, lofty drinking perch.
How much: They'll develop a package to cater to your price range.
How many: Up to 16
What's on offer: As the name suggests, pretensions are minimal and all are welcome at this converted sandstone cottage. There’s a separate sound system in the loft upstairs, so prepare to crack out your inner DJ.
Price: Keep things relaxed and order from the à la carte menu, or go for the three-course set menu for $49pp. There’s no minimum spend here, just a 10 per cent service fee added for private room bookings.
How many: 20-150 people
What's on offer: You can have the lounge, terrace or parlour sections on this Surry Hills pub cordoned off for your very own shindig. They also provide microphones, cocktail catering and canape packages. It's also only 10 minutes walk from Central Station.
Price: Sit down menus starting at $40 per person or you can organise canape packages.
How many: 40-100
What's on offer: Chef Chase Kojima knows his way around a kitchen from sweet bar snacks (try the tender beef kushiyaki) to super sashimi (it's one of Sydney's best sushi restaurants). Add in high-class cocktails and intimate surrounds and you've got a great night out.
Price: Canape packages start at $20pp and they offer two set menus $100 and $150pp.
How many: 20-70 people depending on the room
What's on offer: Take over the whole middle floor of the Taphouse – you can dart between dining rooms or enjoy a sit down dinner in one. You'll also get unfettered access to the 20 craft beers on tap.
Price: Most rooms come without a hire fee, drinks packages start at $45pp for three hours and you can go with canapes (from $19) or a sit down roast (from $50).
How many: The Rooftop Dojo is a tranquil coastal space for a private celebration. The Sunrise Dojo holds up to 150 people standing and 80 seated, while the Northern Dojo caters for 80 standing and 30 seated.
What's on offer: For a rooftop setting overlooking Manly Beach, Daniel San is unrivalled.
How much: Though prices change throughout the week, the minimum spend for a Friday night is $7,000 for the entire space.
How many: Up to 100 (doggos included!)
What's on offer: 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. Plus they have a basketball hoop for an end of year, 3x3 comp and heaps of space for people to mingle.
How many: 50-100
What's on offer: 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 until midnight in case things get a little too festive.
Price: Price on enquiry
How many: 80-150
What's on offer: You can either take over the glassed in Conservatory (it has a retractable roof and its own bar) or the Parlour (a New York style pub).
Price: Sit down meals start at $55 per head, or keep people standing for $40 per person.
How many: Up to 100
What's on offer: This Pyrmont pub has an entire floor dedicated to functions, known as the Little Pint. It has its own rooftop balcony, six craft brews on tap, bartenders and floor staff.
Price: The first floor can be yours and only yours if you’re up for spending $1500 on drinks and $500 on food.
How many: 80-200
What's on offer: These guys offer a whole suite of event services including DJs, live bands, photographers, photobooth setup, venue theming, live oyster shucking, trapeze artists and fire shows.
How much: Canapes start at $15pp, a sit down menu costs $50pp and beverage packages start at $55.
How many: Up to 100
What's on offer: You can hire upstairs at Surly's aka Smokey’s cabin for private use. It comes fully equipped with TVs and soundsystem, shuffleboards and a stage for live music. Food-wise you'll get plenty of American barbecue favourites including fried chicken, pulled pork and corn bread.
Price: Snacks start at $30pp
How many: 20-200 people
What's on offer: There are four different function spaces including the Wine Emporium, the Alcove, the Ladies Parlour or the Cafe. You can nab a Coat of Arms pizza (that's with emu and kangaroo) and they've got plenty of craft beers on tap.
Price: Canape packages start at $29pp while beverage packages start at $39.
How many: 30 for sit down and up to 150 for cocktail
What's on offer: This beautifully restored public pavilion turned restaurant has uninterrupted views of Balmoral Beach. Chef Serge Dansereau has also designed the seriously extensive function mention. It's also worth noting this place books out up to a year in advance.
Price: Prices vary depending on the season, but start at $120 per head for a three-course dinner and canapes.
How many: 1000-3500 depending on the space, and whether it's seated, banquet or cocktail style
What's on offer: Sydney's flashiest new events centre is for the big guns – huge spaces can be adapted for lavish banquets, live concerts and cocktail events. You'll get a a dedicated in-house event production specialist who will take care of the overall event planning and execution plus audio visual, rigging and staging needs.
Price: On application.
How many: Up to 1800 guests.
This mega-bar in the heart of the Rocks has five different event spaces or you can take over the entire venue. Cobblestone flooring, low timber ceilings and luxurious leather lounges all add to the character of this Rocks bar.
Price: Room hire and minimum spends apply.
How many: The entire area can hold 300 people.
What's on offer: Step into these incredibly beautiful gardens and enjoy a Christmas that's worlds away from sausages and beers. It's available Mon-Sun for a 6.5 hour period, 5.30pm-midnight.
Price: Entire venue cost is $3,850.
How many: 350 guests for a banquet, or 1200 guests for a cocktail party.
What's on offer: Host your shindig within the historic sandstone walls of this former convict house. The courtyard's high walls create intamacy while the CBD location makes it an easy spot to get to. They also have a dedicated catering team on site or you can source your own.
Price: On application.
How many: Sydney Town Hall can fit up to 2000 people in the glorious Centennial Hall and vestibule.
What's on offer: It's hosted Sydney Festival, Remix Sydney and galas galore, so expect a schmick event. You can also hire out the lower concourse, it's got direct train station access and at Christmas time it's lit up like a Christmas tree. This landmark also books out well in advance, so maybe jot it down for Christmas 2018.
Price: On application.
How about an activity?
Regret over-sharing at a work function? Tired of nursing a hangover while trying to meet a deadline? We know the feeling, which is why we’ve found ten alcohol-free team-bonding activities that’ll give you quality, out-of-office time with your co-workers – without the stinking headache.