Throwing a dinner is no small feat. If you have a sizeable circle of friends, not only do you have to think about feeding all those mouths but also how you are going to do it. Where will everyone sit? Will you set a long table? And then there is the task of timing your cooking so everything comes out at the same time.
Behold the ingenious idea of the do-it-yourself food or drink bar. This clever take on the classic buffet gives guests a chance to get up and mingle while also helping themselves to what they want. That means you’re free to cook and/or socialize, rather than plate the meal and serve every person.
That’s right; bars aren’t just for booze anymore! Of course, boozy bars are legit, too. So, here are some ideas for food and drink bars that are sure to make your Friendsgiving fun and easy.
One-bite appetizer bar
If you want to pre-prep your Friendsgiving, you can make enough noshes for an app bar that will keep everyone happy. Just create Foxes Love Lemons DIY phyllo cup appetizer bar so people can graze and try all your treats while still leaving room for turkey.
Fondue is a fancy addition to any party! Create a safe space to the side where everyone can indulge in their cheese addiction, and they’ll love you forever. Plus, a fondue bar is versatile — there are a variety of things, sweet and savory, that can be dipped in the delectable mix.
Deviled eggs bar
One eggcellent way to get some extra protein in before the tryptophan OD is some eggs. Can you say deviled eggs bar? There are lots of ways to dress up this most delicious of appetizers.
Sometimes you just want a little crunch. A crostini bar like this one by Best Friends for Frosting is an update on the bland cheese and crackers idea. It adds flavor, flair and toppings. Who doesn’t love toppings?
Mashed potato bar
While the turkey is the main event, you can sideline your side dishes and let everyone make their own plate. When it comes to spuds, mashed potatoes are a Thanksgiving mainstay. Mostly, they are served whipped with butter.
However, a mashed potato bar allows you to offer a whole host of toppings, like sour cream, bacon, onions, cheese, chives and many other garnishes to sprinkle on top.
If you are going to break bread with friends, it is nice to have fresh baked rolls or biscuits to add to the feast. You can make a bread bar with lots of jams, cheeses and spreads so friends can choose their favorite.
Mac and cheese bar
Mac and cheese is so good it works any time of year, which makes it ideal for baking ahead of time when you are preparing several dishes. Whip up a few batches — don’t forget Domestic Superhero’s buffalo blue mac and cheese — and leave it to your friends to pick their favorite savory, cheesy heaven.
Variety is the spice of life. Variety of pies is the sweet part of life. If you have the option to offer every kind of pie, diner-style, why not? A pie bar is an ingenious idea giving guests the chance to choose their flavor. If they want to try more than one kind, so be it.
Caramel apple bar
Apples are arguably the autumnal flavor. You may have to throw down with all the pumpkin spice fans over that theory, but apples are more pervasive and used in many more recipes.
Case in point: You can make an apple crisp and an apple pie, and still create a caramel apple bar (My Name Is Snickerdoodle’s nacho version is brilliant!) for your guests and be on point for your Friendsgiving menu. Lots of crunchy, sweet toppings laid out to roll your apple in will prove that this bar is the apple of everyone’s eye.
Ice cream sundae bar
Sometimes you have to buck tradition and go with a crowd favorite. Everyone loves ice cream. And after all that hot and heavy food, a little ice cream is a nice refreshing change. You can set up an ice cream sundae bar like Fake Ginger’s and still give it a Thanksgiving flair by pairing seasonal toppings with the usual suspects.
Cel-e-brate good times, come on! A little bubbly will go a long way toward getting your guests to have a good time. Champagne isn’t just for New Year’s; it’s for whenever you want to celebrate, and that can be any meal with a mimosa bar like Sweet Phi’s. Provide different juices, liquors and garnishes to customize.