Simple Pleasures: Host a Casual Happy Hour

Planning a huge cocktail party or fancy dinner has its place, but there are times once we would rather simply kick back with a few pals. Little, spontaneous parties place less stress on the server (you) while offering a fun break from the day-to-day grind. So call a few friends or acquaintances, and find out who wants to pop over for a drink at your place — we have the tips and creative twists to make it a significant success.

GR Home/Graciela Rutkowski Interiors

Set up an entryway pub tray. Offering your guests a drink on their way in the door is a festive way to kick things off. Set up a little pub on your entryway table; possibly put out a wide range of popular alternatives and let guests mix their own cocktails, or offer a signature drink and pour your guests a fresh one as they arrive in. Offer nonalcoholic options also, such as sparkling water and sodas with a fragrant garnish.

Corynne Pless

Keep prep low-key. Throw clutter into a basket in the cupboard, plump cushions on the couch, sweep away significant dust bunnies, pull in a couple of extra chairs from the dining area and plunk a couple of backyard (or grocery) blossom stems in a jar.

People actually often feel much more relaxed when everything is not spot-on perfect, thus there is no need to stress over every detail. Keep things simple and casual, and you’re certain to have a good time.

Harper Design from HarperCollins Publishers

Create a wine storage invoice. Take a cue from the creative book dwelling in a Nutshell, by Janet Lee, and install floating shelving in a zigzag form to hold your favorite bottles of wine. Painting the wall behind the shelving is really a wonderful touch — guests won’t be able to resist perusing your own collection.

Jenn Hannotte / Hannotte Interiors

Put a record on. Do you have a record player gathering dust? Pull out that puppy! Playing great old-fashioned vinyl is guaranteed to get people speaking. You’re certain to end up with a crowd round the record player, talking music and checking out your records.

Crisp Architects

Have a drink in the kitchen. It’s casual, and you will have easy access to snacks — what more could you ask for? Make it feel specific by bringing in a couple of small bud vases with flowers and lowering the lights.

Leslie Glazier @ Properties

Host friends outside. If you reside in a temperate climate, take advantage of yearlong decent weather by inviting friends out to the patio or deck for a drink and snack. One of the quickest yet most striking changes you can make to your outdoor area is to include something which feels veryindoors. Consider a fluffy rug, cushions out of the living area or your coffee table. Oh, and there is no need to make yourself perspiration — enlist the support of the first friends to arrive, and they will immediately feel a part of things. Win-win!

Things to stock: a couple of top-shelf bottles and mixers are generally better than a massive pub full of everything under the sun. And if you want wine or beer, don’t feel you need to offer hard booze whatsoever — stock up on a case of your favorite vintage and make it your “house” wine or brew instead.

Shannon Malone

Go with the flow … and stay safe. In the event you and your guests are having a great time, try to be flexible — ask what folks feel like getting and order something in for supper. This can also be a good sign for friends who could be getting a little too tipsy that it is time to wind things down.Unless you’re inviting your walking-distance neighbors, make sure that your guests have a plan to make it home safely after cocktail hour. Offer to call cabs or designate a driver to shuttle folks home.

Inform us Share your favorite, funniest or worst cocktail celebration tales (either your party or one you attended) in the Remarks!

The best way to set up a festive pub cart

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