How to Throw a Top-Notch Super Bowl Party

I come from a family of Super Bowl party-throwers. It all started when my beloved Patriots stopped being the suck-masters of my childhood, making it all the way to the Super Bowl in 2001 where a young unknown named Tom Brady miraculously carried them to victory. Thinking it might be our only chance to celebrate such an occasion (little did we know what the future held), my father decided to throw the Super Bowl Party to end all Super Bowl Parties. This basically entailed getting my mom to cook her signature franks and beans (honey mustard is the secret ingredient), filling our fridge with every possible incarnation of Samuel Adams, and buying a chip/dip bowl shaped like a football. For the pièce de résistance, my father stacked all our TVs on top of each other so that our basement resembled a sports bar. It was awesome. A tradition was born.

I’ve been throwing my own Super bowl parties for five years now. And though I carry my father’s basic philosophy to heart — TV + Beer + Gas-inducing food = Super Bowl — I’ve refined the concept to fit both my appreciation of fine cuisine and the limited space in my small Brooklyn apartment. I now consider myself something of an expert in the art of throwing a Super Bowl bash. Here are some tips for pulling off a successful urban SB soiree.

1. Carefully Plan Your Guest List When you throw a party, you usually want a broad mix of people: Some single, some married; some couples who are open to threesomes. You want good-looking people, and people with good drugs. People with impressive jobs, and people with impressive outfits. For a Super Bowl Party, these things don’t matter. What does matter is how into the game they are. The last thing you want is a bunch of hardcore fans leaning in to try to hear the commentators over the loud conversations of party-goers only in it for the food and booze. The key is to invite people who share the same intentions. Another important guest-list factor is the number of people you invite. The ideal is slightly more crowded than comfortable, but not so crowded that there are bad seats. This way, you can get the crowded intensity of a stadium, but with just enough room so that people can enjoy themselves.

2. Outsource, But Don’t Rely too Heavily on Outsourcing I’ve got a guac guy and he comes through every year. For some reason, his Bushwick bodega carries the best avocados around, and he’s got a way with cilantro the likes of which I’ve never seen. I’ve also got a girlfriend who likes to bake, and a friend who can be called on to make a “creative” cocktail. These elements are key to the success of my party, but also aren’t the hinge on which its success rests. If any of these people fall through, things will be okay. There’s always salsa. There’s always beer and store-bought cake. The important thing is to take care of the main dishes yourself, and rely on others for added bonuses that you could ultimately do without if your friends flake.

3. Prepare in Advance I personally spend the entire weekend getting ready for Sunday night. I shop the shit out of Saturday, and spend Saturday night making everything that can be cooked in advance. This includes any and all baking, and certain appetizers that can be re-heated in the microwave day of, because the oven should be entirely filled with meat for all of Sunday.

4. Tell People to Bring Beer It’s an easy thing to bring, and it significantly cuts down on your costs. Plus, they always bring too much and you get to keep the leftovers. Last year I had a fridge full of beer for an entire month after the Super Bowl.

5. Make Sure Your Main Dish Can Be Prepared in Advance The last thing you want come game time is to be running all over the kitchen. Classic Super Bowl main courses like chili, brisket, pulled pork, beef stew, jambalaya, etc. can all be prepared in advance. Slow cooked dishes like these are great because you can stick them in the oven or on the stove in the morning, and let them simmer until game time, leaving you time to work on other things like appetizers and side dishes.

6. Get Paper Plates, Plastic Forks, etc. Even if you’re making a gourmet feast, you still want to use paper/plastic in order to minimize cleanup. This is totally key. If you forget, you will be up all night doing dishes instead of enjoying the post-game special episode of Glee like a real man.

7. Let the Crowd Dictate the Half-Time Plans You can use that time to get dessert ready. Because who cares if you watch the Bud Bowl or not.

8. Have Enough Chairs Borrow some from a neighbor if you have to. No one wants to sit on your nasty floor.

9. Encourage People to Dress up for Football It’s a known fact that if you are an adult wearing an NFL jersey you are twice as likely to get drunk and stop taking yourself so seriously.

10. Have Fun It’s your party. Don’t get too stressed. It’s the Super Bowl. Relax. Enjoy the game.

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