When I started to look at wedding venues earlier this year, I sent a bunch of emails to a handful of places that piqued my interest. Chris at The Dumbo Loft was the first to respond to my email, and his response was the most comprehensive. Having now visited the space and met Chris, my impression is that he is a pleasure to work with. He is straightforward with answers to questions, and he gave us the sense that the space would be accommodating and flexible while still having clearly established practices (compared to, say, the first venue we saw, where flexibility was definitely an option, but the carefree approach of the venue came across as flaky).
Location: The Dumbo Loft is located at 155 Water Street, at the corner of Pearl and Water, in Dumbo. The entrance faces out onto the little green (that would be painted green, not grass) triangle just next to the Manhattan Bridge.
Quality of Space: This is a pretty bare-bones space. It’s got some nice, wood floors, heavy beams (of which I am a fan), exposed brick walls. One wall has some kind of metal siding that I definitely don’t love, but others might. It is a raw space, and the possibilities for styling it are infinite, but it doesn’t have a ton of personality in its own right. Basically, it’s a 2800 square foot room broken up by some beams. There is a “kitchen” area that is separate from the main room (I put quotes around kitchen, because it’s pretty much just a microwave and some seating), which is where the bathrooms are. Some people might see the separation between these spaces as a drawback, but I think we could make some great creative use of the separate space — it might be a great spot for a photo booth, guest book signing, etc.
As far as the size of the space goes, Chris said that the room can typically accommodate 144 people for a seated dinner or 250 for a standing reception.
Cost: We were quoted a price of $3,000 for a Saturday event or $2,400 for any other day of the week for a wedding in 2011.
What’s Included: This cost includes use of the space until 1am, as well as access to their professional sound system, which can be accessed by a DJ or hooked up to an iPod. There are 2 bartops included with the space, which can be moved around, as well as the optional use of a coat rack. They also have additional furniture for rent at a very reasonable cost — $2 per chair (not the prettiest folding chairs in the world, but, again, affordable!) and $10 per table (either long tables or round tables).
Catering Requirements: The Dumbo Loft is open to whatever caterer you’d like to use. They do require that caterers be insured (this is pretty standard), and Chris gave us a list of suggestions, but the message was really “these are some caterers that have done a great job here,” as opposed to “these are out preferred vendors.”
Bathroom Situation: There are 2 unisex bathrooms off the kitchen area. They are working on putting some more bathrooms in the basement, which could be used for events, but the timeline is pretty unclear on these.
What You Wouldn’t Know from Their Website: I wasn’t totally sure what floor the loft was on from the website. It’s on the first floor. No sweeping views of the Manhattan skyline, though those views are mere steps away. It is also important to note that, while this venue is nestled in the shadow of the Manhattan Bridge, the sound insulation is excellent. Also, when Chris first emailed, he mentioned that security would be required, but this is their standard event language. Security is not typically required for weddings.
This Venue is Great for You if: This venue is great for anyone seeking an affordable raw space in a fairly central location. We were initially looking for a place that would work for both ceremony and reception, but the sparsity of the space didn’t really make me want to have the ceremony itself in that location. At this point, we are very much leaning toward a reception at The Dumbo Loft following a ceremony in Prospect Park (Hello, $25 permit!). We are thinking about Prospect Park, because we love the idea of showing our guests different sides of Brooklyn and because we love, love, love that park, but those who do not wish to schlep all over town could look into a permit for the Brooklyn Bridge Park, which has the advantages of being beautiful, offering stunning views of the city, and being approximately three minutes from The Dumbo Loft on foot. All in all, I am a fan.