Caterer Guidelines | Newberry

Caterer Guidelines

The Newberry's chandeliers sparkle in the historic Lobby.

The Newberry’s chandeliers sparkle in the historic lobby.

Download and print a copy of our Caterer Guidelines.


For 2014 rentals, the Newberry Library has entered into an exclusive arrangement with Occasions Chicago, D’Absolute, Jewell Events, Jordan’s Food of Distinction, Simply Elegant, and Food Evolution.  These caterers can provide a range of prices, cuisines, and menu options.  All 2014 events held at the Newberry Library must be catered by one of these caterers.

in 2013, caterers making a presentation at the Newberry must present proof of their City of Chicago catering license, their City of Chicago liquor license, training certificates for safe food handling and serving alcohol, proof of general liability insurance in the amount of $ 2,000,000, and proof of Dram liquor liability insurance in the amount of $ 2,000,000. This information is required before the client submits a deposit to the caterer. Failure by the client/caterer to submit appropriate documentation may result in the client’s deposit to the caterer being forfeited if the caterer is not approved. The library assumes no responsibility and/or liability for monies forfeited by the client resulting from failure to submit necessary documentation and to obtain prior approval of the caterer from the Office of Events. Certificates of Insurance with the Newberry listed as co-insured are required for all events and must be on file 30 days prior to the event.

Restaurants not holding a catering license, outside service agencies, or wait staff companies are not allowed to cater or staff events at the library except and unless a licensed caterer is hired by the client to coordinate and oversee the event.

The use of butane or propane burners inside the library is strictly prohibited and cannot be brought into the library. 

Damage Deposit

A damage deposit in the amount of $700 is required from any caterer making a presentation at the Newberry. This deposit must be presented to the Director of Events 30 days prior to the event. The deposit will be refunded within 30 days, provided the final walk through meets Library standards.


We would request that you make a specific appointment with the Office of Events to finalize all arrangements no later than two weeks prior to the event. At that time, a floor plan showing the proposed set-up should be submitted. You may contact the Office of Events at (312) 255-3595.


Scheduling constraints may require that rentals be obtained from Hall’s Rental Company. 


The freight elevator is located in the southeast corner of the parking lot. It loads directly into the prep room and Ruggles Hall. The Newberry cannot accept any responsibility for items left overnight. 

Set Up

To be arranged with the Office of Events on a per-event basis.

Kitchen Facilities

There is a large prep room adjacent to Ruggles Hall with two sinks and counter space where you may set up for service on the main floor. On the second floor, there is a small prep room adjacent to the Towner Fellows’ Lounge that services that room. There are no cooking or washing facilities in that prep room. Caterers are responsible for providing all garbage containers and plastic garbage liners. 

Set Up/Clean Up

The caterer is responsible for providing all personnel, material, and equipment for the event. The caterer is also responsible for (1) set-up and break-down of equipment and the kitchen prep area, (2) maintaining event space including, but not limited to, quickly cleaning up any food or drink spills during the event, (3) clearing away equipment and, (4) cleaning all prep areas. Before leaving, caterer and facility staff personnel will complete a walk through of all areas used by caterer and guests. The library is not responsible for any materials left overnight.