Finding affordable venues in San Francisco might sound like a dream, but rest assured that with Tagvenue, you can find your ideal space in the fancy Bay Area or laid-back SoMa in no time. Though it’s known as one of the most expensive cities in the U.S. ranked right after New York City, San Francisco has many reasonably priced venues that are waiting to host your event. Whether you’re considering a fun night out with friends at a pool house or an intimate wedding ceremony at a cozy pub, you will find exactly what you’re looking for without breaking the bank.
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Planning an event on a budget can be challenging. However, once you find a suitable venue at a cheap price, things get a tad easier. We've rounded up some of our tips and tricks to help you plan your next event while being economical.
Select unusual venues
Whether it’s a warehouse or a dance room where you may not initially think of hosting an event, you might be surprised to know that you can save a lot of money by renting non-traditional spaces. With the right decor and atmosphere, your event can be as successful as any other. Backrooms and private gardens are among some of the venues around the city that tend to come at a lower cost. Using Tagvenue, you might even come up with a list of lucky finds in the Bay Area or Downtown San Francisco. For instance, Del Monte Courtyard at Argonaut Hotel offers an outdoor dining option that costs around $56 per person for the whole session. Planning for a fun event with your friends? Equipped with a dance floor and karaoke, 3910 Lounge, located in Inner Richmond, is a great place for an amusing night out. This place is more on the pricey side, as budget is around $8000 on a minimum spend basis to rent the whole venue.
Choose venues with less expensive food options
One way to save big is to choose less expensive food options such as a buffet or family-style dinner to avoid the cost of full sit-down menus. It’s not only cheaper, but you might pay less for staffing services as well. If possible, consider other options such as BBQs or grills at outdoor venues. Many venues also offer catering options at reasonable prices. One such gem is the Pawn Shop. At $52 per person, including in-house catering, this place is an excellent pick for medium-sized gatherings. Other spaces might be slightly more affordable if you don’t need food and beverages for the event. Cafe Boho in the Marina District is an excellent site for business meetings or any other occasion. This space can be rented for around $45 per person for a minimum of four hours.
Be flexible with dates
Hiring a venue during off-peak times is cost-effective. If your event isn’t date-specific, it’s best to keep a few dates in mind while browsing through venues. Instead, you can determine when to book your venue based on your favorite season or an important date. Try to steer away from holidays like Christmas or July 4th to have more venue options at cheaper prices. Planning a wedding reception? Why not skip the wedding season and take advantage of off-season offers? Prices tend to be lower and venue availability higher when you avoid the spring and summer high season. For instance, exchanging vows in January, March, or November is less popular than the rest of the year, which allows you to plan a budget-friendly wedding. Another easy way to rent out a cheap venue is to look at weekdays and avoid holidays or weekends. That is when venues such as bars and restaurants attract fewer crowds, as prices are usually lower. Whether you’re planning an office party or a team-building event, finding an affordable venue in the off-season can help you save big!
Word of advice: Try not to book any location near any key holidays if you wish to save some money.
Hire the venue and do the rest
Have you ever heard of the term "dry hire"? It’s a popular term in the event industry that is used to describe a venue that only provides a space and nothing more. If you’re someone who enjoys crafting and handpicking everything from the decor to the food, finding this type of venue will be a cakewalk. The good thing about these venues is that you can create the theme that you like and use Pinterest if you’re running out of ideas. From the drinks to the catering options, you can choose whatever suits your budget best. In most instances,such venues do not charge any corkage fees so you can get your own wine or beer at a bargain price. These venues are great if you have enough time on hand to do some research and shop around. You will surely reap the rewards when it comes to paying the bills!
Pick a smaller venue
The price of venues mostly depends on the space provided. With a smaller venue comes a shorter guest list. This not only lowers your overall expenses but also allows you to cater to the needs of all your guests along with a more intimate experience with the people. Planning a small birthday party with your pals? Why not rent out a cozy place like The Canteen at Toy Soldier that can accommodate up to 60 people and offers cheap rental options at only $500 minimum spend?
Whether you’re looking for a cozy upstairs room in Marina Bay or a dance hall in Russian Hill, you can find anything fitting your budget using Tagvenue. Some common affordable venues are:
Upstairs rooms - These affordable locations can be found pretty much anywhere in The Golden City. They are usually found at bars and restaurants and can be rented for small and big celebrations, alike.
Warehouses - Looking for a unique spot with a high ceiling and a laid-back vibe? Why not hire a warehouse to celebrate your next event, it's affordable and is usually spacious enough for all event sizes.
Dance halls are brightly lit open spaces that are great for larger events. They are equipped with great audio equipment and usually offer lower prices than other venues.
San Francisco is known for its high life, yet you can always find cheaper venues in some neighborhoods. If you want your budget to stretch as far as possible, check out the venues in some of these places. Vallejo, in the Bay Area, is not only a stunning place, but it’s also a highly affordable location. Inner Richmond is close to the Conservatory of Flowers and makes for a great event spot. Other cheap areas to check out are the Tenderloin, SoMa, Outer Sunset, and Glen Park.
The minimum spend for spaces in the affordable range will start at around $100. While the hire fee will start at around $360, per person packages usually start at $20 per person.
Most venues in San Francisco require rental fees and have a minimum spend policy in place. Minimum spend refers to the amount of money that you and your guests are required to spend on drinks and food. In case of any shortfall, you will have to settle the amount. However, some venues require only minimum spend fees or per person fees when you’re hiring a venue, so take a good look at your options while browsing through.
Private Room at Persona is a warm, elegant space with a disco ball that can be the place for a variety of events. It's great for small and medium-sized gatherings.
Slate Bar features a cozy setup with dim lights that will make your crew feel like they belong to a secret privileged cult. With direct access to the bar, this place is ideal for a birthday party or any other small event.
Upstairs Room at The Pawn Shop allows you to host your party in a private space with access to the bar and food downstairs. Set in a vibrant and quirky atmosphere, this place is a perfect hideout for your upcoming celebration!
Found an amazing venue within 10 minutes of looking! Really happy :)
I came across Tag Venue completely by accident and Sarah was unbelievably helpful in saving me valuable time and conducting the search on my behalf. I would not hesitate to use Tag Venue again.
It was really easy to find a wide range of potential locations, and I could contact many different venues with ease. Tagvenue allowed me to be very dynamic when organising my event. Would definitely use again!