We fell right down the rabbit hole at The Geraghty's recent private party at its 25,000' ft space in Pilsen (2520 S. Hoyne) on August 6. This over-the-top, magical event seemed to be directly inspired by Alice in Wonderland. Everywhere you looked, there was something remarkable. At the entrance, handsome, shirtless greeters with the words "The Geraghty" written boldly across their chests posed for photos with happy attendees. The ginormous space was a riot of color with flowers, food, bars, cute people, entertainers and performance artists. A glowing, branded hot air balloon lit the way to the party and could be seen from miles away. A hand-painted art mural (created by Kehoe Designs artisans, of course!) lined the street leading to the venue and BMX bikers and skateboarders performed tricks outside the entrance.
Tom Kehoe (Kehoe Designs) had been dreaming of a space like this for years, meticulously taking notes on what he felt the perfect event venue should look like. Needless to say, he nailed it and then some. On this night, Tom's grand entrance set the tone for the evening. He rappelled down from the 24' ceiling ala Tom Cruise in Mission Impossible and had the 1,000-strong crowd in the palm of his hand right then and there. His speech was so inspiring and, at several points, he choked up talking about the people who made this night possible--in particular, his Kehoe Design team, key partners in the organization (Bridget, Daniel, Wendy Miller, Adam McCarthy, Sean, Craig and others), his dad Lou Kehoe, 89, (who was in the audience), his siblings who were all in attendance with their families (Tom is the youngest of 8), and, of course, his mom Mickey Geraghty, who was the inspiration behind this venue that bears her maiden name.
He talked about how he became involved in the business. "It was a serendipitous moment when I walked into a flower shop 30 years ago to buy my Mom flowers that changed my life," he said. Tom had worked at the shop throughout high school and college and the owner offered it to him for sale. His devoted parents loaned him the money to purchase it. His beloved mom passed away 20 years ago and he "misses her every day." "She taught me about life, how to love and how to be a true person," he said. "She encouraged me to be creative and design-focused and helped me find not only my aesthetic, but myself." (Grab a hanky and see Tom's video below!)
Part of the reason for the opening was, of course, to show off the space and Tom shared some details about the venue in his welcome speech. "Tonight, I want to show you the possibilities of what you can do when you host an event at The Geraghty. From our open floor plan with 24' ceilings and 4,000 pound hang points to the 32 toilets! We will be able to do anything you can dream of! Did you see the bathrooms, we can have a party in there!," he enthused.
Following Tom's speech, the hot Norwegian singing/songwriting duo Nico & Vinz performed and posed afterwards for photos with VIPs in the venue's elegant "Green Room". ZZAZZ Productions provided costumed models for even more eye candy as they sang and danced onstage and mixed and mingled with guests. A living wall of hand-painted graphics and a gazillion flowers provided a unique step-and-repeat. One-of-a-kind hand-gilded, gold-leaf chandeliers were forged in-house and hung majestically above the multiple bars. A cadre of young ladies in custom, butterfly costumes served the signature cocktail of the evening--the "Sweet Mickey" (prosecco and peach liquor) named after Tom's mom.
Food was EVERYWHERE! The Entertaining Company, Paramount Events, J & L Catering, Blue Plate and Catering by Michaels all provided delicious treats that included truffle lobster mac & cheese, snow crab claw tempura, pork loin confit, pork belly lollipops, coconut shrimp skewers and too many desserts to even mention. It was pure foodie heaven!
State-of-the-art technology provided a glowing LED Wall, interactive projections, outdoor moving lighting, dramatic stage lighting and changing color washes throughout the venue. WHEW! Garrett's Popcorn was there for the taking and, as if this all weren't enough, Tom had created a unique parting gift for guests--living succulents on a bed of rock inside a Geraghty branded clear plastic box. The lid read, "Take your top off." LOL! The Geraghty is truly Party Central and we can't wait to experience a lot more exciting events there!
Tom has been a friend for a long, long time but I suspect he's everyone's friend as he's completely and totally lovable in every way. Chicago is so very lucky to have him......and so are we. (All the good photos are by We Create Media, the rest are mine. LOL!)
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Filed under: Entertainment
Tags: Blue Plate, BMX bikers, Catering by Michaels, chicago party, Chicago party spot, Chicago venue, Entertaining Company, Garrett's Popcorn, Geraghty, grand opening, J & L Catering, Kehoe Designs, Mickey Geraghty, Nico & Vinz, Nico and Vinz, Paramount Events, private party, The Geraghty, Tom Kehoe, Tracey Tarantino, We Create Media, ZZazz Productions