We all know the Dapper Chapper is a man about town, seeking out exclusive spots of sophistication, with both finger on metaphorical pulse, and ear to fabled grapevine. But what about that lost art of entertaining at home? A relic of our parents’ era perhaps? Who, admittedly, weren’t still sharing converted warehouses with seven other people in their thirties… Have we been too swift to dismiss this most intimate form of socialising?
We’ve brought in renowned Events Expert Venetia Harpin, who specialises in bespoke and immersive experiences, to talk us through some of the finer points.
There are of course multiple advantages to hosting a soiree ‘Chez Moi’, the most obvious being a significantly softer hit on your wallet, the conveniently short stumble from dining table to duvet, and the complete and joyful absence of eye-rolling waiters.
Moreover, you get to eat food you like, in a place you like, with people you (hopefully) like. So before you start composing your witty-but-affable group Whatsapp message, take a moment to consider these Top Tips to being a Dapper Host:
Every Host needs a Hostess
Not necessarily a lady, just someone with good chat who can keep serving olives and Aperol Spritzes when it inevitably takes longer to chiffonade the kale than expected. And whilst we’re on the subject of aperitifs, for a simple and refreshing change to that on-so-luminescent favourite, you can’t go wrong with a chilled glass of Lillet Blanc, over ice with a twist of orange.
Make Fantastic Cocktails – But Don’t Take Too Long
Traditionally, the dinner party is an opportunity to craft intricate concoctions; pulling out tinctures from your back shelves like a Victorian apothecary. Now, whilst I’ve no objection to a drop of Fernet Branca or dash of Ms. Piggy Peppercorn Bacon Bitters (yes, it really does exist) I am also a huge fan of pre batching, which leaves much more time for actually talking to your guests. If it’s good enough for Mr Lyan, it’s good enough for you. If you’re keen to show off some showstoppers though, consider Dapper favourites Georg Jensen’s Manhattan bar collection or Jonathan Adler’s Newport and Malachite barware as your weapons of choice.
Sea Bass, Not Drum and Bass
A soiree playlist should be cultured and relaxing. It is not the time to show you’re still down with the kids by throwing on the latest Hyperdub release. Choose your music to match your wine; vintage, charming, and probably French. Or in other words, any playlist with Django Reinhardt. Keen to really impress? The Zeppelin Wireless from Bower and Wilkins is your man.
Wax Can Be Lyrical
Whether your desired ambience is convivial or conspiratorial, a candlelit room is nothing short of transcendental when it comes to creating an inviting atmosphere. Go for an abundance of shapes and sizes – ideally enough to do away with any lightbulbs altogether. For ultimate eco-chic try The Recycled Candle Co in Bitter Orange & Ylang
Make Good Food
Unless you’re a next-generation Nuno Mendes, stick with a dish you are familiar with that works well for large groups. I love the fragrant Sri Lankan curries in The Local’s Cookbook – bold colours and flavours, and surprisingly easy to make. If you’re utterly hopeless, absolutely NO cheating with Deliveroo. Take the role of Hostess instead and bribe someone that can cook to do it for you.
Be The Last Man Standing
A good host is an attentive and conscious host. You cannot sneak out of your own party, nor can you fall asleep in the bathroom. So pace those Negronis while you’re stirring the truffle risotto, sunshine.