About once a month, I like to host Fieldhouse Kitchen open houses. Or, as I call them, open fieldhouses. It’s my way of still being able to entertain, regardless of how small my apartment is, or how limited my budget may be.
Why an open house?
Well if I had a party from say, 1–4pm, there would be upwards of 20 people crammed into my small studio apartment all at one time. An open house is a casual way of saying, ‘Swing by at your leisure anytime during those hours… the door will be open.’
I’ve found this tactic works remarkably well for luring in my friends who perhaps don’t want to commit to a full-blown party, but like the idea of having someplace to pop in for a quick drink and some snacks.
Here are some secrets for a successful party in a small apartment (the 5 behind-the-scenes party prep essentials):
No. 1: I clean out my closet
I take out the majority of coats from my closet and hide them elsewhere. I then fill the rod with empty hangers. Nothing is more unsightly than a small space — the only space — cluttered with coats and bags slung everywhere.
No. 2: I stock up on, well, the essentials
It’s true, I stock up on toilet paper before a party, and I make sure to check that the bathroom is well supplied. No one wants to interrupt the party conversation with, ‘You’re out of toilet paper.’
No. 3: I make the bar self serve
Don’t spend the entirety of your party pouring drinks for everyone. Sure, they’ll love you for it, but they’ll love you even more if you drink with them. Choose only one easy-to-make cocktail (gin and tonics and mimosas go a long way in FK). Set up a “mini-bar” on your counter with paper cups (no need to get fancy here!), a hard liquor of your choice, a mixer and an ice bucket. Let your guests be aware ahead of time of the drink you’ll be serving… that way they can plan accordingly and BYOB if they’d like otherwise.
No. 4: I carefully plan the menu
Anyone who’s been over knows it’s typically a one-bite deal at Fieldhouse Kitchen. There’s no slicing fancy apps with utensils, or unwrapping cupcakes in foil. Why? Because no one invited crumbs to the party. I keep my eats simple and clean (and you have to in a small space!): Bedeviled Eggs, cucumbers with smoked salmon, a bowl of mixed nuts, etc.
No. 5: I’m all about the DIY decor
As much as I would love to comb through the aisles of Paper Source or peruse the elaborately detailed crafty pins on Pinterest, I lack both the time and money for both pursuits. Instead, I get creative. I’ve been known to make my own little “hurricane lamps” by placing tea lights inside stemless wine glasses. Or, I use empty vases as bowls for nuts, or even as a simple centerpiece.
And finally — and this goes without saying — mind your guest list.
Your party is only as good as the people invited.