India House is a veritable fixture of the Financial District. It’s legend precedes it. When my father dabbled in maritime law straight after school, this was the place to be. Located at 1 Hanover Square, India House is across the street from the British Gardens and down the street from both Fraunces Tavern and Delmonico’s. Stone Street, which is lined with usually hopping restaurants, cafes, and bars (including a Financier!) runs along its western side. You really cannot ask for a better downtown location. This landmark is easily accessible by all forms of transportation.
India House was the last venue I looked at but was one of the first I called. It was overlooked for a visit because of a silly confusion. Back in February, I called Bayard’s because I had read about it on some website. It took me a while to finally connect Bayard’s as the catering service for India House. That said, the food at India House is definitely one of its huge pluses.
Cocktails at the India House would be severed between two first floor rooms–the Blue Bar and the (red) Hanover Room. Both are stunning. While the Blue Bar exudes cool comfort, the Hanover Room transports you back into a golden age with its lush red walls, Chinese tapestries, and crystal chandeliers. Hosting a cocktail party on the first floor is like hosting it in your own grand mansion. You automatically feel very “at home.” But of course, I can’t help but note that the division of the rooms is odd and can sever your guest list.
Moving on to the second floor, there is an alternative space for a cocktail hour or a space, for a small group, for a sit-down dinner or buffet. Called the Garden View Room, this set of this rooms make a U-shape.
These rooms are great, super bright and airy; however, you must like or at least be able to stand maritime art. The India House is practically a maritime art museum! Those ships cannot be sunk! What on the walls, stays on the walls.
This brings us to the third floor or the Marine Room. It’s west side looks out onto Stone Street. This orange, blue, and white room is very large and very versatile. The India House brochure states that it can seat 200 for dinner, though with a dance floor, we’re talking more like 130-150, maximum. While décor is minimal, you do have to contend with two gigantic models ships at each end.
Pros: no rental fee; all tables/chairs/etc. inclusive; in-house catering; additional time at cost; facilities on first and third floors; suitable elevator (to all floors)
Cons: maritime theme; $75 non-refundable/non-transferable tasting; very dark and steep staircase leading from the second to third floors
Conclusion: This venue is tried and trusted, but it does leave those looking for a little pizzazz a little sea sick.