These underground venues may be low, but they’re over the top. Take a look at what lies beneath:
> Concealed in the hillside behind this four-star Meritage Resort & Spa is Estate Cave, where attendees can have an underworldly experience. The 4,000-sq.-ft. venue can host up to 200 guests with its barrel-shaped ceiling as the backdrop for a dramatic event. The Association of Equipment Manufacturers held a dinner inside Estate Cave in November 2014 themed around the six senses. After descending into the space, members were greeted by ornate chandeliers and elegant decor built under a 9-acre vineyard. The lighting was customized, and each of the dishes during the six-course meal was paired with wines and accompanying music. The dessert course had a “Frozen” vibe coupled with the song “Let It Go” as the chairman stepped down and the future chair was anointed.
More underground venues:
> Kentucky’s largest city is about as far from Australia as you can get, but one of its most remarkable event spaces, Louisville Mega Cavern, is undoubtedly down under. One hundred feet below the bluegrass is a 16,000-sq.-ft. event space with full catering services, room for a stage and capacity to host 250 people for a seated dinner or 350 for a meeting. An aerial ropes course with 76 obstacles on one side of the space can be used for teambuilding or entertainment during an event, and lights can be customized to match an association’s palette. (A recent law enforcement association lit the course in blue-and-white light and parked police cruisers in the space.) A smaller glass-enclosed area on the other side holds up to 45 people and is outfitted with Wi-Fi.
> The Autograph Collection’s new four-star property, The Metropolitan at the 9, in downtown Cleveland has a storied history dating back to the early 1900s, evident in the four historic bank vaults that can be used for breakout sessions in the belly of the hotel. Aside from occupying 12,000 square feet of high-tech meeting space, this quartet of rooms, named after their first owners (York Safe & Lock, Mosler Safe, Carnegie Steel, and Diebold Safe & Lock), includes the original safe doors and mechanics.
> Three subterranean event spaces hide underneath Max's Wine Dive, an Austin restaurant known for pairing Champagne with fried chicken. An elevator gives attendees private access down to the Grand Reserve Room, Vintage Room and Black Door Wine Lounge, which can be rented together to host large events of up to 350 people seated and 540 reception-style. Each week the venue hosts more than a dozen events, from medical and dental association meetings to fraternity and sorority alumni get-togethers. Inside the cavernous expanse, find wine barrel tables and sconces, works by local artists and a handcrafted wine bottle chandelier. Catering, private bars, audiovisual system, customized music and three flat-panel monitors are available to planners.