Bartender or not, you want guests to find your drinks easily and hopefully incorporated into the decor of the party.
HACKER TIP! Starting in January, every payday, buy a bottle of liquor. It will save you from having to buy it all at once right before the party and drop hundreds of dollars at once.
Depending on how big or small your party is may depend on how you have drinks set up. Also if you serve alcohol or no alcohol, set up is important. A good host or hostess always makes sure everyone has a drink even for the designated drivers! Keep them happy. One thing I learned the first few parties I had was at every point of the night someone is trying to get a drink. Set them up for success so they don’t have to look for anything and you’re not constantly having to play bar back at your own party.
For this reason I separate where drinks are but make them easy to find and super accessible. Since the backyard is a huge hangout area, I put all the beer and sodas out there. There is also ice, cups, bottle openers, corkscrews, and a trash can. Since I wanted to make it fit in with the decor, I was lucking to come across a wooden coffin that I lined with thick black plastic sheeting. Filled it with the beer and soda and then topped with ice. It has become quite a sight! I also placed it in the backyard that can easily be seen with light and a place where it won’t bottleneck with people.
For the hard stuff I set up a counter in the kitchen away from high traffic areas. I’ll be honest it doesn’t always work because people get drinks and stick around to socialize. It’s all good, because people find their way. At this bar there is liquor, soda, mixes (OJ cranberry, pineapple, etc), garnishes, ice, cups, bottle openers, corkscrews, and a trashcan.
Have an area set up too if someone brings punches or containers with premixed drinks. Make sure that area also has cups and ice!
I keep bottled water or water stations at each place where drinks are. Encourage people throughout the night to HYDRATE!
It’s a good idea to have plenty of non-alcoholic drinks for your friends playing DD, those who are pregnant, or those that don’t drink! Make them feel special too so they aren’t left out. I always have at least one built MockTail (a cocktail with no alcohol) so those who aren’t drinking can have some fun things too!
RANDOM TIPS! I have found that I LOVE ice from Sonic Drive In and use that for drinks and buy the cheap convenience store ice for keeping things cold in the coolers or extra on hand. Also, buy a few bottle openers and corkscrews. They inevitably get lost or walkway by the end of the night. Don’t use the one you got as a gift for your wedding. I would also get some cheap bartender rags because someone is bound to spill something and paper towels are useless.
MOST IMPORTANTLY! Keep an eye on your guests too. Make sure they haven’t overdone it and if they have make sure you get the keys and have them stay over or personally get them a DD or an Uber, etc. Nothing can sour a party more than no more ice or a drunk guest causing an issue or getting behind the wheel.
Let’s keep Halloween fun!