It’s true, the kitchen is the heart of a home; however, when you are hosting a party, you will find that guests typically gravitate to the bar first! Having hosted a number of parties at our home over the years, I have observed firsthand this gravitational pull my bar has on guests that come to our home. A well-curated bar therefore, is imperative for any soiree you plan on throwing! The following are five essential tips to help you style your bar and make your guests feel welcome!
Designate a Bar Area. Let’s start with the basics. Be sure to designate a bar area in your house that is easily accessible for your guests. Remember that a handful of guests will be pouring drinks at once so keep this in mind when you’re thinking about a location. We have a built-in bar next to our kitchen, so this is where I usually set up our wine and spirits. If you don’t have built-in bar, then I would definitely invest in a bar cart. It’s something that you’ll use often and you can always repurpose it!
Offer a Signature Cocktail + Menu. It’s always a good idea to offer a signature cocktail and stock the bar with the respective essentials. You don’t want your guests to see a great bottle of Vodka only to learn that you don’t have tonic. This will also limit how many types of glasses that you will need to have available. If you’re offering a signature cocktail, then also provide a menu so that they can make the drinks on their own.
Prepare Garnishes. Think about what you’re serving and how the drink can be garnished. Clean and cut the limes, oranges, grapefruit, etc. Have fresh herbs cut and ready, such as rosemary, mint, basil, etc.
Incorporate Festive Stirrers + Cocktail Napkins. I love Laura Hooper Calligraphy and the entertaining essentials that she offers in her online shop. She has beautiful coasters, stirrers, wine glass tags, etc. You can also check out Dot and Army if you’re looking for linen napkins. The best thing about her napkins is that they are very easy to care for – just throw them in the washer and dryer and they come out looking great!
Display Floral Arrangements. Flower arrangements make a big impact and can add a pop of color. If you have a small bar cart/area, single roses in bud vases are sufficient. When choosing a flower vase, think about the type of barware that you will be displaying. Do you have glasses with gold rims, then consider a gold vase. If you have glasses lined on a silver tray, then incorporate a silver vase. Have festive glassware with bright colors — then find a colorful vase that compliments the designs on the glasses.
Consider these special touches when entertaining:
- Ice Bucket with Tongs. If you’re serving cocktails then you’ll need to have ice handy. Emily McCarthy has some great choices for chic ice buckets.
- Bar tools. Think about what you’re serving and what tools will be needed to open, prepare or serve the libations such as a wine opener, shaker, jigger, bottle opener, muddler, etc. Check out Cocktail Kingdom if you’re looking for good quality barware.
- Incorporate Trays. I have a beautiful silver tray that I love using to display our liquor bottles. It really makes the presentation beautiful. It also makes the area look clean and it gives a subtle instruction to your guests to put the bottle back on the tray after they use it.
Photography: Kelli Boyd Photography
Hair and Makeup: Anna May Hall
Outfit: Tibi Outlet
Floral Garland: Festive Occasions
Cheers Coasters + Stirrers: Laura Hooper Calligraphy
Seersucker Cocktail Napkins: Dot and Army
Copper Mugs: The Market at Sea Island
Custom Calligraphy Menu: Lavin Label