Sometimes all you need to get a party rolling is a good bar with free flowing drinks. If you don’t want to get stuck in the role of bartender (after all, you want to be able to enjoy your own party!) set up a self-serve bar.
It’s very easy to set up a self-serve bar. As long as it’s stocked properly your guests will find all that they need to make their own cocktails. Get started with this article.
Where to put the self-serve bar
All you need is a long table, approximately feet long. Put it against the wall, which will stabilize the table and prevent spillage and breakage. Choose a part of the room where guests can access it from three sides. (You may also want to read our tips on how to set up a food buffet table.)
Tools for the self-serve bar
Place ice tongs and ice bucket, napkins, glasses, jiggers, stir sticks, corkscrew, and bottle opener. You may also want to print out simple cocktail recipes and paste on index cards.
Drinks and garnishes for self-serve bar
What’s a self serve bar without alcohol and liquor? What you buy is completely up to you. We suggest vodka, tequila, white and amber rum, whiskey, scotch or bourbon, and red and white wine.
You also need to stock your self-serve bar with softdrinks, juices and water. We recommend having a club soda, colas and diet colas, ginger ales, tonic and lemon lines. As for juices, have orange juice, cranberry juice, tomato juice. Many people also like mixing Mott’s Clamato into their drinks.
Garnishes, like maraschino cherries and lemon and lime twists, are also great.
If you’d like to offer guests beer, keep them below the bar or in an ice-filled bucket or cooler next to the bar. Just check this regularly and restock as needed. It may be fun to include different kinds of beer or different brands, since people have their own preferences.
Tips for the self-serve bar
It’s good to have a towel or cloth near the bar so guests can discreetly wipe any spills or even their hands. You can also have a garbage tucked a few steps away where they can throw away paper napkins, bottle caps, lemon rinds, or other trash.
If you’ve got a lot of guests you can set up different ‘drinking’ stations. For example, you can have the beers or the punch bowl at another table. This prevents everyone from waiting their turn or having to crowd the table with a lot of glassware.
And make sure you have a lot of ice! There’s no such thing as too much ice at a party.
Photo from http://www.hakuba-allure.com/Cocktails.htm