Have you ever been to a “barty”? You probably have, even if you’re not familiar with the word.
A barty is a birthday party or other special event held at a bar.
Whenever I get invited to a barty, a little piece of me dies inside. I feel like the good luck leprechaun of party hosting has just lost his pot of gold.
A Barty is the Enemy
Here are some of the reasons why a barty is a major missed opportunity:
- They’re noisy, so it’s hard to talk.
- You can’t control the aesthetics of the space or who is allowed in.
- Ordering drinks is transactional, the opposite of welcoming.
Barties usually lack clear structure and rules. Crowded bars can inhibit connecting.
We miss out on making new friends and strengthening relationships with the people we know.
Many people are tempted to throw parties at a bar because it seems so easy.
Resist this temptation. Host your first party at a venue where you feel confident and can control as many variables as possible.
Why you should host at home
The best place to host your party is at your home.
Your house or apartment is instantly personal. It’s a chance to break out of your work and online identity.
When you invite people into your home, you offer them the chance to visit your personal space.
You reveal more about who you are, especially in a world where digital interaction dominates.
A lot of people appreciate this vulnerability. You feel more relatable to them. It will help your guests see you in a positive light, and they will forgive any aspects of your home that aren’t “perfect.”
They won’t care if your house is small, plain, or a little messy. They’re coming to your party to enjoy themselves and to meet new people, not to pass judgment on your dust bunnies.
Host your party in your own house or apartment because:
- You’ll have more confidence in your own space.
- You can control variables like noise levels and costs.
- Your guests will appreciate you more because of how intimate and generous it feels.
Common objections to hosting at home
When I suggest hosting a cocktail party at home, many people resist the idea.
Some live far away from friends and worry that no one will make the effort to come to their event.
Others worry their kids’ playroom is messy, their guest bedroom isn’t finished, they don’t have the right furniture in the dining room, or their apartment is too small.
If you feel this way, your concerns are normal. But the location, size, and state of your home aren’t as big of a deal as you think.
People aren’t going to judge you harshly if your home is a little cluttered or you don’t have a huge, fancy apartment. Guests are more likely to appreciate your authenticity.
You’ll have more confidence too, being in your own space. You’ll build relationships better and faster, and you’ll set yourself apart when you host at home.
Small is OK
New York City has many tiny living spaces.
My friend Phillip has hosted twenty people in his two-hundred-square-foot apartment. I’ve seen his photos of a group of people crammed into a kitchen the size of a yoga mat. They were all smiling.
A small space makes an event feel intimate and special. I hosted at least ninety parties in my New York City studio apartment.
It consisted of one main room with a built-in kitchen the size of the galley you’d find on a small boat.
It’s tiny but functional.
If Phillip and I can host parties in a small space, so can you.
When hosting at home isn’t possible
For 95 percent of the people I’ve advised, hosting at home is a realistic option despite their initial objections.
For the other 5 percent, it simply isn’t. Here’s why:
- A family member requires care at home, which makes it complicated to invite a lot of people over.
- They do not have an elevator, and they want their parties to be wheelchair accessible.
- They live with unfriendly roommates or in a multifamily situation. It makes it hard to know when the house will be free.
You can still throw parties even if hosting at home is not a possibility. The easiest and most common solution is to find a friend or colleague who will let you use their home for your party.
Other options include:
- A park.
- A library or community center.
- Your apartment or neighborhood common space or game room.
- Your office.
Party Pro Tip: Name tags are especially important when you’re hosting an event outside your home. In a shared space, name tags become a visual unifier for your group. They’ll make it easier to identify your guests.
See more tips and tricks for hosting outside your home, including additional venue ideas, in this article.