If we haven’t made it clear, we love to party - but we love to host even more.
Whether it’s a work event, a house party, or an intimate dinner, bringing people together is more simple than you think. Most of all, it’s fun! Beyond providing the space, food, and drinks, creating a welcoming environment for your guests to connect and let loose is one of the best gifts you can give your people.
With over 100 events and counting at The New Bar, we’ve had some time to hone our skills. You probably know the basics, but there are a few extra tricks to the art of hosting. To get you started, we’re letting you in on our process, from planning and prepping to partying.
Set an intention
When planning an event, we often get caught up in the logistics: the invites, the run-time, and even the playlist. All of these things are important but the heart of your event should be its intention.
In one of our team’s favorite books, The Art of Gathering, the author Priya Parker explains the importance of defining the “why” of your gathering. Why are you hosting in the first place? What are you hoping to accomplish? How do you want guests to feel? The answer to these questions will help inform any other decisions you make in the planning process and will shine through the smaller details. When you have a clear intention for your event, the planning process becomes much more manageable and the impact of it is amplified. Your guests will leave with a lasting and fulfilling impression - and might even talk about it for weeks to come.
Put it on the calendar
Give your guests ample time to RSVP. People are constantly pulled in different directions with varying commitments. Sending invites with as much notice as possible allows you to get a concrete headcount and plan accordingly, from seating arrangements (if that’s your thing) to the shopping list.
The invites don’t have to be fancy, but they can be! A simple group text with a, “Like this message if you can come!” will get the job done, or make a fun flyer and send it out over email. As long as your guests know when, where, and what they’re signing up for, you’re good to go.
Curate an inclusive menu
To make sure your guests are comfortable, build an inclusive food and drink menu that accounts for dietary restrictions and preferences where possible.
Are you hosting someone who’s sober or sober curious? Add some NA options to your drink roster or create a few fun, non-alc cocktail choices. Avoid offering basic substitutes like sparkling water or soda or simply taking the alcoholic component out of your preexisting cocktails.
Being mindful of your guests means making them feel equally included and important, but we get that sourcing multiple cocktail options can make your shopping list start to look like a CVS receipt. That’s where our Party Bundles come in! To lighten your load, we’ve curated drink kits for every occasion, so you can save time, money, and energy no matter the hosting context.
Mix up the seating
Your guests might know each other well or they might not know each other at all. Depending on the intention for your gathering, you can consider different seating arrangements to serve your purpose. If your goal is to encourage guests to meet new people they may not know, providing suggestions for seating at the beginning of your event (near someone they don’t know) and encouraging your guests to move around between courses or activities can be effective.
If your intention is to build a more casual, leisurely environment, maybe you don’t have to provide seating directions at all! Your guests will have the opportunity to decide how they want to connect with one another and possibly even make some new friends.
Phone a friend
We get it, it feels taboo to ask for help at your own event, but we promise it's not. You don’t have to be a hero! People want to help you, and bringing them into the process can make them feel more connected to the gathering’s greater purpose.
You can even assign a few friends to different tasks: Ask people to help set the table, let someone help with plating, or create a cocktail station with instructions so people can mix their own drinks. You can even bring people into the most dreaded part of the process, the cleanup. Our founder’s favorite end-of-the-party trick is what she calls a “two-song tidy.” You essentially grab a few trash bags, play two great songs, and let your kind guests help you clean up at the end of the gathering for the duration of those two songs.
There are so many little ways to take the pressure off and make hosting a more fun, more fulfilling experience. At the end of the day, know that your people appreciate your effort and they want to be a part of your gathering. That’s pretty much all that matters anyway.