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Is it Time to Reboot Your Company Christmas Party?

There are plenty of unconventional venues that will host your seasonal soiree


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Blame it on the sad mini-trees, half-empty punch bowls and CEOs dressed as Santa: Holiday-themed office parties have caught a bad rap. But there's no reason your company's celebration has to be cheesy, stuffy or dull. Plenty of unconventional venues will host your seasonal soiree.

ARTS + CULTURE

Art galleries such as Denver Art Museum are good, but art studios can be even better. The Craftsman & Apprentice hosts small-group parties in its vintage-style workshop at Denver’s City Park West, where DIY projects range from embroidered pillows and macramé plant hangers to carved spoons. At Upstairs Circus – with locations in Lodo and Denver Tech Center – employees can create, drink and be merry while tinkering away. Located in the super-hip Stanley Marketplace, MindCraft Makerspace is another standout venue for maker-themed gatherings.

Housed in downtown Golden in the former Golden High School building – dedicated to the culture and history surrounding mountaineering – the Mountaineering Museum has a fabulous 3,000-square foot event center for big group soirees. But we prefer a cocktail party on the mezzanine level of the main museum, where employees can tour the museum between appetizers. Bonus:

The lights in downtown Golden will help everyone get into the holiday spirit.

THE GARDEN PARTY

At Denver Botanic Gardens, guests experience a winter wonderland while wandering through Blossoms of Lights, an impressive annual light display spanning the site’s 24 acres, open Nov. 24 through Jan. 1. No, it’s not too cold for a garden party. Corporate event packages include access to indoor spaces, such as Mitchell Hall or Marnie’s Pavilion, where your workforce can warm up with cocktails or cocoa. 

COMPETITIVE EDGE

There’s something about competitive leisure games that gets even the most reserved employees fired up. Punch Bowl Social is an upscale venue filled with old-school arcade games, skee ball, air hockey, bowling — even board games. “Our clients like the space because they don’t have to bring in any elements,” says Deanna Regalado, Punch Bowl Social’s senior event sales manager. The venue can accommodate groups of any size, with three semi-private spaces and full buy-out options, making it a good choice for bosses who want to throw down for employees and their families. 

Ace Eat Serve encourages friendly competition, too, with ping pong tournaments for groups of 20 to 500.

Private parties have access to the pong room, as well as cocktail tables and bar ledges — and an extensive selection of sake. Encourage your employees to dress up as teams, and bring prizes for the winners.

A SWANKY HOTEL

If you’re renting out hotel space, go with something iconic and local, such as Hotel Boulderado, a national historic landmark that just completed a $10 million renovation. We love License No. 1, the hotel’s Victorian speakeasy. Psst: The décor isn’t just for show! “Ours was the first liquor license issued in Boulder after prohibition,” says Michele Rittgers, Hotel Boulderado’s director of sales and marketing. There are plenty of other event spaces inside, but the real attraction is the enormous tree in the hotel’s festive lobby, which draws visitors statewide. 

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Jamie Siebrase

Jamie Siebrase is a freelance writer based in Colorado.

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