Happy Hour at Home
Hey guys, Lauren Kelp here! If your holidays season was anything like mine, there is absolutely no way you can celebrate with everyone that you wanted to. There are some friends, some couples, some groups, that you just physically didn’t have time to get together with. Now that schedules are getting back to normal, it is the perfect time to host a low-key, Happy Hour at home with all those friends you didn’t get to see during the season. So settle in, because I am here to show you how to throw such a good happy hour, your friends will never want to go anywhere else!
The first rule of hosting a good happy hour, is to set a knockout spread. Your guests are coming over after work so they are sure to be a bit snacky. Whenever I build an appetizer spread, I like to make sure we’ve got something for everyone – a little chocolate and fruit for the sweet eaters, some meat and cheese for those who like savory snacks, and a few palette cleansers, like pear slices, for everyone. Make sure that your appetizer spread is centrally located. With dinner and cocktail parties, guests will get up and mingle, but with an at -home Happy Hour, guests are going to sit back and relax, so getting up and getting snacks from another table is not ideal.
Feel free to build your spread directly on a long cutting board or an attractive serving tray. You can break it up into a few dishes or serve it together, as I did above, for a more dramatic affect. The next big thing to pay attention to is seating. Like I mentioned, your guests are going to want to sit, hang out, and catch up, so make sure your space can accommodate that.
My recommendation is arrange your living room in a way that is very conducive to conversation. If you have a sofa that faces the TV, bring in a few more arm chairs and place them across from your normal seating area.Take the focus of the room off of the TV and bring it to the coffee table in the middle of the seating area. This will be where you set the vibe with your spread & places it in an area where everyone can reach.
I like to place little side tables at the end of the sofa arms or around the chairs, just so my guests have an extra place to put their glass or their appetizer plate. If you don’t have extra side tables, don’t worry! Just bring the chairs close enough to the coffee table that they can easily reach your gorgeous appetizer spread and place their glass comfortably. The next, and arguably most important, thing we need to pay attention to while prepping, is the wine! Cocktails for an at-home Happy Hour are great, but it can get a bit tiring for the host to get up and make cocktails for everyone. I much prefer serving up wine at my happy hours. I always have several bottles of my favorite crowd-pleasing wine, Grand Reserve, and a few bottles of white wine chilling, in case a guest prefers something other than red.
When prepping the space, I always like to put a couple of opened bottles on the table. That way, if you are busy doing last minute prep, your guests feel comfortable serving themselves & a bottle is readily available for anyone who needs a re-fill. Remember, this happy hour is all about getting together with friends you haven’t seen in a while. So don’t stress about balancing the appetizer board, or if you serve your guests mismatched wine glasses, the point is to have a low-key, fun time with the people you love. Happy hosting!
For wine serving tips, visit the Entertaining section of our website.