If you’d like your rehearsal dinner or reception to have a vibe that leans more “sophisticated” than just plain “pretty,” consider one of the newer kids on the block—Common House, located just off the Downtown Mall.
Common House is a three-story social club—members join in order to have access to food and drink, talks, co-work space and each other—and the venue is also available to rent for private events. Vinegar Hall, the flexible first-floor space with its own entrance to Market Street, is the section usually rented by couples planning wedding brunches, welcome drinks or rehearsal dinners.
With herringbone-patterned wooden floors and attention-getting murals, the Wolf Ackerman-designed space can be configured in a few different ways depending on the size of your gathering. You can bring your own furniture or use what’s there, and redecorate as you like—though most couples will probably want to take advantage of the lively art collection already on the walls. Vinegar Hall can accommodate up to 150 for cocktails or 94 for a seated dinner.
Common House’s Hilary Taylor says that while custom menus are available from the venue’s in-house kitchen, most guests tend to build meals from the set seasonal menus, which offer options including passed hors d’oeuvres and sit-down dinners. For fall, say, a dinner menu might include boneless pork shoulder, braised cranberry beans and kale with butternut ribbons. A full in-house bar takes care of alcohol, or you can pay a corkage fee to bring your own alcohol. Rental fees range from $500 to $3,000 depending on size of the space and day of the week.
Vinegar Hall serves by day as the Common House co-work space, where members sink into comfy seats with their laptops, and the remainder of the club—including a library, billiards table and double-sided fireplace—is normally reserved for members. But the second floor and rooftop bar are occasionally available for private events and do convey their own sense of style. From the rooftop, you can look out over Charlottesville from under a pergola topped with solar panels.
During its first year, Common House has hosted at least three events per week and often more—its hip, upscale aesthetic is clearly drawing interest.