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If you’re as collectively sick of Zoom happy hours and attempting dates through the tiny screen of your smartphone as the rest of us, you may be ready to host your first post-pandemic bonafide dinner party. As vaccination rates go up, and infection rates go down, it’s time to bust open the doors, cook up a roast, and put tiny cheeses on a platter.
Though if your idea of a “fancy” dinner in the past few months has involved a lot of lathering up hand sanitizer and awkwardly shouting to your friends six feet away at a picnic, we’ve got you covered.
With an array of inviting decor and the right foodstuffs (and a chilled bottle of wine waiting on standby), your next vaxxed up summer hang can be as classy as possible those of us who not too long ago were hoarding supermarket toilet paper. Though, we do suggest breaking out that karaoke machine after a few hours.
You may even be someone who never thought they would host a bunch of people crowded in their home again, and don’t exactly have the essentials to feed a hungry group of adults (presumably ones you haven’t seen in months, and you’re trying at least a little hard to impress). What do you even serve hors d’oeuvres on? Are cocktail napkins too fancy, or not fancy enough?
Here’s our guide on how to break bread again and throw down a dinner party to remember, even by pre-Covid standards.
Dining tables are what you make of them, and they can range from longer, family-style pieces to more modern, circular tables that making passing around the roast veggies just a little easier. But we love this Brycen Counter Height dining table for, well, its height — at 38 inches tall, it’s built on a trestle base that has a sleek and open look.
This is the great table if you’re trying to recreate the feel of going out to eat, or even if you want to reminisce about sipping flights at a brewery. The blend of iron and engineered wood helps with this vibe, and while it doesn’t come with chairs, this is a great table to stand around and maximize party conversation (just don’t bring up how weird it feels to go back to wearing real pants again).
Charcuterie Board and Cheese Knives
We all know the real reason why your friends are coming to dinner: your artfully-arranged cheese board. While we’re kidding (kind of), there’s something to be said about a beautiful plate laid out with meats, cheeses, and spreads to kick off the night. We like this Cricklade board, which has extra grooves to place crackers, as well as a slide-out drawer to for optimal tiny knife storage. But if you don’t want to go into full-blown Instagram mode, just a cutting board and some good-quality knives will do. Laguiole Mist’s five-piece knife set is ideal for serving both hard and soft cheeses, and the elegant curved handle will help your grip even if you’re just hacking into a block of cheddar.
Are floral arrangements superfluous? Yes. Should you have them at your dinner party? Also yes. Listen, if there’s ever a time to get ostentatious and dress your home to the nines, it’s now. Dried floral bouquets in particular make great table centerpieces because they won’t wilt before the party, and your guests with allergies will thank you. This bouquet from Urban Stems will liven up any dining room you haven’t used in a year without overwhelming the space. With proper care (and no need for water) these stems will last way beyond the night.
Yes, you can whip up a light salad or some crusty bread and your guests will be happy, but if you want to go for a memorable evening you need to bring on the meats. We’re sure your friends will still love you no matter what you serve (vegans and vegetarians look over here) but now’s not the time for gristle-filled cuts. If supermarket meat shopping makes you nervous, ButcherBox has all your meat needs covered in any of its boxes, from 100 percent grass-fed beef to free-range chicken and more. The Classic Box includes 8-11 pounds of food (with free shipping). The Big Box has 16-22 pounds, and is a great option for filling up your deep freezer if you plan to throw a marathon of dinners over the summer.
Well-Stocked Bar Cart
Now is the time for you to flex those amateur mixology skills if you’ve been practicing during the pandemic, especially since it’s easier than ever to get alcohol and wine delivered. According to Wayfair, Bar carts became ubiquitous thanks to Hollywood films in the Fifties and Sixties, so get classy at your next dinner party with this Tibo bar cart made from metal awash. With two locking and two non-locking casters, this is a great way to house (and display) all your wine, spirits, non-alcoholic aperitifs for you non-drinkers, and more. Don’t want this party to get too boozy? It’ll still look glamorous with a few sodas and a bowl of Doritos atop the glass shelves.
Tablecloth and Cloth Napkins
We know you’re dreading it but here’s the deal: you have to break out the cloths. There will be all kinds of mystery stains and wine splashes by the end of the night, but as long as you pick tablecloths and napkins made of durable fabric, popping these in the washing machine will be a breeze. The reward for looking like a true adult (someone who owns things made of cloth!) will outweigh the maintenance (anything polyester usually cleans well). This Pinar tablecloth is simple and elegant, comes in various colors, and most importantly, is several steps above a party store paper runner (which do have their place — game day Sunday, anyone?).