How-To Throw BIG Parties in SMALL Spaces
By John Voket
Whether its a cozy condo in Boston, or a sunny Los Angeles flat with a virtual patch of yard, there are plenty of ways to squeeze a LOT of party into small spaces.
Graham Averill at Outsideonline.com has a few ideas, starting with downsizing your grill. Averill says forget that whale of a grill - you'll crave the space you'll save!
Averill also says instead of offering a full bar, save space (and money) by whipping up a signature cocktail — something you can make in big batches ahead of time. Then just set a pitcher featuring your best mixology, an ice bucket, glasses and cocktail napkins on a small folding butler’s tray.
Accommodate guests on a small deck or in a tiny yard by creating zones: Your bar goes in one corner, a small table of appetizers in the other, and a cooler of beer is sandwiched next to the grill so people have to come talk to you while you cook. Keep seating, tables, food, etc. around the perimeter of your deck or yard to give people room to mingle in the middle.
Alex Kalita at Food52.com has observed that the bar often winds up as the focal point of a party. If you don't have one, she suggests selecting a piece of furniture to serve as your bar that’s wide and roughly waist-high, but not too deep. Dressers, sideboards, desks, and console tables are often good candidates.
When it comes to the menu, Kalita says think in bites, not bulk. She says serve food that is substantial enough to satisfy guests, but wieldy enough to rest on a cocktail napkin - crostini, nuts, olives, chips, cheese and crackers, charcuterie, etc. With handheld food, you don’t need cocktail plates and there won’t be competition for surface area. Bonus: fewer dishes to do when the evening ends.
At Elledecor.com, Kelsey Kloss says it's important to make trash cans visible. This will make cleanup easier the next day and save space during your party. She says more trash in the cans means fewer cups, napkins and paper plates cluttering your serving surfaces.