It's your party, and you'll go big if you want to! This year, make your birthday an affair to remember and reserve space at some of the best restaurants in the Bay for a few (or 40) of your closest friends. Here are our top 10 picks in San Francisco and Oakland:
? Pauline's Pizza, Mission
This Valencia Street stalwart has been slinging creatively topped, locally sourced pies for decades now, and its staying power is a testament to its mellow, good-time vibes (and their mighty-fine pizza). Reserve its upstairs dining room for groups of 18 or more, and select a family style meal to suit your tastes and size.
? Starbelly, Castro
Beretta was our long-standing go-to for private events, but sister restaurant Starbelly recently won our hearts with its gorgeous outdoor patio, reservable for you and up to 39 friends. Family style menus include its California-style sourdough pizzas, hearty salads and an obscenely delicious chicken liver pâté.
? Pabu, Financial District
Pizza parties are all very well, but Pabu is the place for a sophisticated, special-occasion birthday party, featuring pristine sushi, a wide variety of izakaya dishes and killer cocktails, too. The private dining room seats 22 and has both prix fixe and à la carte options available.
? Palm House, Cow Hollow
Have a tropically flavored birthday bash at Palm House, where you can rent the stately Captain's Room and chow down on jerk chicken, ceviche, tostones and more. The 12-person room boasts a classy vibe—until you bust out the boozy slushies, that is.
? Chino, Mission
Birthdays are better with dumplings, making Chino's private dining option a win for you and your party guests. Its upstairs dining room seats 32 (or have a standing reception for up to 50) and comes complete with a private bar, plus Wi-Fi so you can DJ your own tunes. Also, dumplings and boozy boba drinks.
? Nico, Pacific Heights
Have an intimate and memorable birthday meal at Nico, one of our top spots for thoughtful, perfectly executed Cal-French cuisine. Its private dining room seats seven to 12, with three- to five-course set menus based around whatever seasonal ingredients the kitchen receives that day.
? Absinthe, Hayes Valley
Go big and reserve the private dining room at Absinthe—the Hayes Valley brasserie's rentable space has its own entrance, bar and music selection, allowing you to essentially create a restaurant within a restaurant (with custom cocktails, natch). Fit 45 seated party guests or 55 standing.
? State Bird Provisions, Fillmore
We know what you want for your birthday: a table at impossible-to-get-into State Bird Provisions. Your wish is granted with its private alcove tables: Each seats eight, and you can reserve both for a bigger group. Get a four-course set menu (each course features multiple dishes), plus street cred for having the coolest birthday dinner around.
? A16 Rockridge, Rockridge (Oakland)
Have a classy, family style Italian meal in A16 Rockridge's private dining room, which seats up to 40. You'll get multiple courses (customized to your taste), control over the music, and input on the table setup, if you so desire.
? Hopscotch, Uptown (Oakland)
We're always looking for reasons to get to Hopscotch, making its private dining space, The Annex, a top contender for our next birthday celebration. Host 10 to 30 friends for a seated dinner and upward of 40 standing, and get full access to its excellent beer, wine and cocktail list, with food to boot (hello, beef tongue-topped burger!).