Tasting rooms seem to be a dime a dozen in Napa’s wine country, but it’s pretty hard to find a space that’s modern, sleek and intimate, where you can throw your own private dinner party. CRU at the Annex is such a place. Located in downtown Napa, this 20-seater or 50-guest cocktail party space is set just beside Oxbow Market and offers easy access not just to the wine-rich region but to all the best of local food purveyors too.
Event planner Ashley Smith recently hosted a gathering in the space, which has a real indoor/outdoor feel. She brought in rich, autumnal colors and dotted the tables with tasty charcuterie spreads and CRU wines. Below, we’re catching up with Ashley for all the details of the party, the space and how she added a little extra cool factor to an already rad space.
Tell us about this gathering and how it came about :)
A dear friend, Casey Burke, invited me to come hang out with her at CRU one afternoon. She had a feeling it would be a space I would be into and was excited to share it. We popped into CRU on an afternoon in January afternoon, and it made my jaw drop. There really isn't much in Napa that feels as modern as this. It gives Napa a nice dose of hip/modern design.
What was the design inspiration? Any special pieces or inspirations you incorporated?
I wanted to make the space a little more formal than it is. It's already very cozy and packs the cool factor, but wanted to showcase what a dinner party would look like in there. I wanted to go a little trendy with the rust tones and neutrals, then ended up pulling a bit of black into the design as well to add a little moodiness.
How was working at this venue? Any tips for celebrators looking to book the space?
It was a gem! They have a small kitchen, so if you wanted to bring in a caterer, that is possible. It's perfect for cocktail parties and standing receptions of about 50 guests. For a sit down dinner, it would be great for about 20 guests. It has an amazing little patio that extends the space with a giant fire pit. It's next door to the Oxbow Market in Napa, so you have Hog Island Oysters, Cowgirl Creamery, and many more specialty local food purveyors right there.
Who was invited?
For this, we invited an intimate crowd of local event planners, caterers, photographers, florists, and like minded individuals in the industry. Really a small gathering of great friends I've made in the industry that I enjoying hanging out with.
Any standout or fun moments you can share from the evening?
It was a lovely evening of snacking on cheese and charcuterie, wine, and intimate conversation:)
Planner + Designer: Ashley Smith Events | Venue + Wine: CRU @ The Annex | Florals: Rito Ito | Rentals: Theoni Collection | Food: The Cheese School | Photographer: Jenn Emerling
MEET THE CORRESPONDENT
I'm Ashley, a wedding planner based out of San Francisco planning weddings around the world. Creating an event is something that I value. Not only is an event purposeful but one should be well crafted and beautiful. I don't believe in sacrificing one element for the other. I believe that purpose, craft, design, and strategy are all cohesive elements to produce a successful event. - Website