Wedding Venue Review: Café Brauer

2021 N Stockton Dr
Chicago, IL 60614
View their website

Average Base Cost: $55,000

Average base cost for a Cafe Brauer wedding is calculated by figuring a 125-person guest list for an in-season Saturday evening ceremony and reception using a rental fee of $11,000, a cost of $230/pp for food/catering, and their Saturday evening beverage minimum of $11,000. Entertainment, flowers, additional decorations and rentals, transportation, and photography are not included. Price is rounded up to the nearest thousand. Gratuity and tax is included.

*Prices subject to change

How it Breaks Down

Facility Rental Fee:

Daytime (9 a.m.–1 p.m.)

  • Monday-Sunday $4,000

Evening (5 p.m.–midnight)

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  • Monday–Thursday $5,000
  • Friday $9,000
  • Saturday and Holidays $11,000
  • Sunday $6,000

Off- Season Evening Rates


  • 50% off room rental fee
cafe brauer wedding venue
Photos by Ed Aileen Photography

What’s Included in a Cafe Brauer Rental:

Tables and chairs for up to 250 guests and security. There is no tax on the room rental fee.

Extras: Staffing, food, beverage, glassware, silverware, china, cake cutting

Important Note: Due to the volume of events hosted at Café Brauer, rehearsals are unavailable.

Vendors: Approved vendors are allowed in the space. The venue will provide you with a list of caterers, entertainment vendors, florist, etc. to choose from. You may use any vendor for bakery, planning services, photography, and videography.

Food: Approved caterers include Tigerlily Events and Jewell Events Catering among others. Current pricing is $210 or $250 per person depending on which plated package you are more interested in.

Beverage: Alcohol is provided by Café Brauer. Bar packages start at $12 per person, per hour. (So for a 5-hour cocktail hour and reception, pricing will start at $60/pp for beverages.)

There are also beverage minimums in some circumstances that must be met, below:


  • $4,000 food and beverage minimum

Monday–Thursday, Evenings

  • $5,000 beverage minimum

Friday Evenings

  • $8,000 beverage minimum

Saturday Evenings and Holidays

  • $11,000 beverage minimum

Sunday Evenings

  • $6,000 beverage minimum
cafe brauer wedding venue

More Stats:

Space Type: Inside/Outside, including a ballroom and two loggias (North and South) that are tented and heated tented and heated November 1st- April 30th.

A sample arrangement could be a ceremony in the South Logia, cocktail hour on the North Logia, and reception in the Great Hall.

Size: The capacity inside is 230. Outside is 200.

cafe brauer wedding venue
Photo via Lincoln Park Zoo

For weddings of 160 guests and under, the venue can accommodate a ceremony on one of the two loggias, which is an outdoor covered space. If you would like your ceremony inside, this will require a room flip and an additional fee of $1,000 added to your room rental. All guests will go outside to one of the loggias for cocktail hour during this time. Another option is to use the Honeycomb (People’s Gas Pavilion) for your ceremony, which is a popular outdoor option for late spring, summer, or early fall weddings. The rental ranges from $2,000-$2,500 to add on to your facility rental fee.

Bridal Suite: No

Parking: Yes. The is free parking on the side street (North Stockton). Guests can also pay to park in the main zoo lot.

How Will Grandma Get There? Located in the Lincoln Park area of Chicago, there are a ton of hotel options nearby such as The Drake, The Ambassador, Claridge House, and Hotel Lincoln.

Party On! Events can go until midnight.

cafe brauer wedding venue

The Report

Designed by Dwight H. Perkins and completed in 1908, historic Cafe Brauer (also known as the South Pond Refectory) was one of the most popular restaurants in Chicago until it closed in 1947. After several mixed uses throughout the years, the historic Prairie School-style landmark located in Lincoln Park underwent an extensive renovation and the second floor main ballroom became an event venue in 1987 and a historic Chicago Landmark in 2003. Featuring a sky-lit roof, stained-glass windows, covered outdoor space, views of the skyline from the Great Hall and of the Lincoln Park Zoo wildlife, the South Pond and Nature Boardwalk, this venue is in the heart of Lincoln Park.

cafe brauer wedding venue

Woman Getting Married Says

There are so many amazing Chicago wedding venues, and this is definitely one of them. There are, however, a few negatives that some brides find hard to overlook. The first is the high beverage cost. While their beverage packages start at $12/per person, per hour, their beverage minimums don’t make sense if you have a smaller guest count. For instance on a Saturday night if you were to only invite 125 guests, you would be paying $88/pp for beverages since their minimum is $11,000. With 200 guests, it becomes more attainable at $55/pp. So keep that in mind if you want a smaller wedding here.

And even though they offer quite a few vendor options, having to go with one of their approved vendors can be a turn-off for some. While their venue rental fee is not taxed, it’s still fairly expensive for a Saturday night, which means if you’re on a budget I would definitely consider an off-season wedding since their rental fees are 50% off January-March, which I think can be just as charming.

All-in-all, this classic Chicago venue is gorgeous and the location can’t be beat, so it’s a matter of what you’re willing to pay for. I would also keep in mind that these prices are not out of whack for the surrounding areas. The average cost of weddings at venues such as the Chicago Museum of Contemporary Art are in the same price range.

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Amenities/What’s Included 8
Convenient for Grandma 9
Layout 10
Location 10
Overall Charm 10
Venue Value 7

WGM Rating

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