It was also the place where officials, such as ambassadors of other worlds, were entertained. Gatherings were also held there.
Earth Starfleet NX-class starships of the 22nd century were outfitted with large mess halls located on the starboard side of E Deck. Boasting several large windows, the NX-class mess hall was a buffet-style environment; food prepared in the ship's galley was brought to the mess hall and stored in a refrigerated display case located on a bulkhead adjacent to a beverage dispenser. Aboard the starship Enterprise NX-01, the mess hall was converted into a theater on some Tuesday nights for "movie night". A large screen was erected in the mess hall, controllable from bridge stations on A Deck.
Like much of the internal spaces aboard Defiant-class starships, the mess hall was compact, functional and had no windows. It was equipped with one food replicator. The mess hall could also be used for meetings with the ship's crew. (DS9: "Trials and Tribble-ations", "Valiant")
Several weeks later, the mess hall was the site of a meeting between Captain Sisko, Quark, and Hanok. Later, a Jem'Hadar torpedo impacted into the mess hall, but did not explode immediately. Quark and Hanok were able to defuse it. (DS9: "Starship Down")
On Intrepid-class vessels, the mess hall was on Deck 2, Section 13, with turbolift access in the corridor outside the starboard entrance. Some ships were equipped with four food replicators, with a private captain's dining room just behind the mess hall. The dining room could be reconfigured, and two of the replicators removed, to serve as a kitchen, as was done by Neelix aboard the USS Voyager. (VOY: "Caretaker", "Distant Origin", "Phage", "The Cloud") The USS Bellerophon's mess hall was also fitted in this manner. (DS9: "Inter Arma Enim Silent Leges")
Since replicator rations were in short supply aboard Voyager, Neelix supplemented food stocks with vegetables from the airponics bay along with food obtained from trading and scouting missions.
The mess hall aboard Voyager was host to many social gatherings, including diplomatic affairs, (VOY: "Someone to Watch Over Me") birthday parties, (VOY: "Latent Image") ping pong games, (VOY: "Relativity") and holiday celebrations. (VOY: "Homestead")
When Neelix departed Voyager in early 2378, Chell wanted to take over duties in the mess hall. The ship returned to the Alpha Quadrant shortly following, and it is not known if Chell was given the position. (VOY: "Endgame")
Klingon Bird-of-Prey Edit
Several Klingon Birds-of-Prey – such as the IKS Rotarran, the IKS Ch'Tang, and the IKS Pagh – were known to include mess halls. (TNG: "A Matter Of Honor"; DS9: "Soldiers of the Empire", "Sons and Daughters", "Once More Unto the Breach")