Need some entertaining inspiration? Arrange An In-Home Supper Club Experience.
The first Supper Club was conceived by Wisconsin native, Lawrence Frank, during the prohibition era. These social-club style destinations are most common in the Midwest (read more about an authentic Supper Club here), yet there is a renewed interest in this dining style developing across the country. Regular SC patrons are people who love to socialize, usually for an entire evening’s length, while enjoying American-style cuisine and libations. Formal supper club establishments remain a popular destination in the Badger State, however, many people are choosing to re-create the event in their home. Read on for tips on how to entertain – Supper Club style.
Plan. You’ll want to get a feel for how many people you can accommodate at one time. If you are unsure, start with 8. Most people have available seating for 8 in their home, or can make arrangements so that it’s possible. Don’t overwhelm yourself by expecting to entertain an extensive number of guests. The focus of Supper Club is the quality food, drinks and fellowship.
If your group is going to make the gatherings a reoccurring event, it’s also a good idea to determine a consistent frequency. A regular schedule ensures that Supper Club assembles at a convenient time & date for everyone. Finally, determine expectations, such as whether or not the designated host is responsible for all foods & drinks, or if some catered food or potluck arrangement is acceptable. The traditional menu for a Supper Club usually includes surf & turf, a relish tray and alcoholic milkshake type drinks for dessert, but feel free to experiment!
Invite. A great party starts with an attractive invitation! Create a polished design at home with a free, easy to use graphic design website like Canva, or download the app for your mobile device. You can choose to send the invitation in digital or hard copy, depending on the level of formality of the event. Once you’ve held the first meeting of supper club and decided to meet on a regular rotation, you may determine that sending an invite each time is unnecessary. If you are sending an invitation, be sure to remember include RSVP details to make it easier to plan for the amount of food and drink needed.
Atmosphere. Decor is crucial to the experience of Supper Club. Traditional SC establishments often have a log cabin or woodsy feel, due to the tendency for the venue to be located in a rural area. Obviously, not everyone has that type of feel to their home, so we recommend consolidating a theme with motifs like consistent color scheme, regional focus, or historical period – just to name a few.
To make the Supper Club experience as authentic as possible, it’s a good idea to progress through several areas of your home as the night develops. For example, serve cocktails and appetizers outdoors, or, better yet, congregated around a bar, if you have one. Move on to the dining room to enjoy the main course and finish the evening relaxing in the living or game room with desserts. By changing the scenery as the night goes on, you will subtly encourage people to take advantage of the opportunity to interact with all members of the group. Supper Club is meant to foster community, so during the formal dinner portion, it’s a good idea to create a seating chart that allows people to meet new friends. Don’t seat partners together, rather try and place the people who are least familiar with one another together.
If you are concerned about having enough time to socialize with your guests, consider hiring a chef to cook for you, or have the food catered. Some people also opt to ask for pot luck contributions, which can help distribute the burden of responsibility. Another factor to consider is clean up. Are you willing to wash all cookware and dinnerware? If not, check out the following options, which despite being disposable, are quite stylish.
These selections are all based on a gold color scheme:
Entertainment. As previously mentioned, Supper Club is meant to be an entire evening of activity, mainly focused on developing friendships. A great way to achieve that goal, while simultaneously providing some light entertainment, is to write out a short list (5 or less) of questions and include them at each place setting and have everyone “interview” the person to their left or right. As dinner commences, each person can give a quick review of one or two of the things they learned about their new friend. Sample ideas include:
- In which city did you grow up?
- What’s your favorite movie?
- What is your favorite hobby or pastime?
- What is your favorite food/ drink?
- How do you know the host?
- If you could travel anywhere, where would it be and why?
- Dead or alive, with whom would you most want to have dinner if you could?
- Android or iPhone and why?
- Waffles or pancakes and why?
- What was the last book your read or television series that you really enjoyed?
Wrap Up. It’s wise to offer to order a taxi, Uber or Lyft for guests at the end of the evening if they arrived via those services or if you’ve served alcohol at the gathering. Another option is to have a hired driver for the evening, either to chauffer guests round trip, or just at the end of the night. Send visitors home with a small gift of recipe cards for the menu items which were served that evening or a small sweet, like a pastry for the next morning’s breakfast.
Can’t wait to hear about all your Supper Club success stories in the comments section, or tag us on social @philippakarr to share photos of all the fun!