The Entertainer's Guide to Hosting a Virtual Happy Hour

woman with wine at her laptop

PIETRO KARRAS/Stocksy

For natural entertainers and extroverts, losing the ability to gather friends together for a dinner party or cocktails at your local watering hole can be a tough adjustment.

But social interaction doesn't have to be an impossible feat while you're social distancing. Thanks to apps like FaceTime, Google Hangouts, and Zoom, seeing your friends face to face—while you're physically far away—has never been easier.

Sure, you can keep in touch casually—an impromptu text here, a quick video call there—but why not make the occasion feel a little more like a special occasion? Hosting a virtual happy hour is a great way to keep in touch with friends and family, while providing them with the elevated entertaining they've come to expect from you. A few small thoughtful choices are all you need to plan an evening to remember

Ready to host your own remote happy hour? These tips will help make it a night your group will never forget.

01 of 07

Send a Formal Invitation

I love a good shared calendar invite as much as the next digital native, but a well-designed digital invitation from a site like Paperless Post will make the event feel extra special. Simply design an invite that speaks to you and email it out to each of your guests. They'll be able to click on the envelope to open it and RSVP directly. Psst, they can also immediately it it to their phone calendar too, this just elevates the experience.

02 of 07

Suggest a Special Cocktail

Obviously your guests can imbibe on the cocktail, wine, beer, or non-alcoholic drink of their choosing, but sending along a recipe to your favorite signature cocktail makes the event feel a little more "hosted." Just make sure to choose something relatively easy that requires few ingredients to keep it accessible.

03 of 07

Serve Your Drink Out of an Elegant Cup

If you're anything like me, you've got a collection of beautiful barware that you hardly ever use. Now's the perfect time to dip into your stash and serve your own drink out of something a little nicer than your everyday wine glass (without the fear that your guests will break it). I've got a set of crystal coupes that I'll be utilizing for my next virtual happy hour.

04 of 07

Actually Get Dressed

I know, I know, one of the best parts of working from home is being able to do so in your comfiest loungewear, but the best way to make a virtual happy hour feel like a real event is to get at least a little dressed up. You don't have to go the gown and red lipstick route, but something as simple as swapping your leggings for jeans can make your get together feel more official.

05 of 07

Add Some Ambiance

Yes, your friends will really only be able to see your face and immediate background from their screens, but you can still create a nice vignette for yourself. Light your favorite candle and set out a nice snack for yourself to make your own home feel a little more bar-like.

06 of 07

Don't Forget the Mute Button

Okay, this one's not quite as fun, but after years of virtual conference calls, I really can't overstate the importance of the muting yourself when someone else is talking. Yes, you can chime in whenever you want, but staying on mute when someone else is telling a story ensures the background noise from your home won't disrupt anything.

07 of 07

Most of All, Enjoy the Time With Your Loved Ones

Not being able to see your friends and family—heck, even acquaintances—whenever you want can be hard to adjust to. But it doesn't mean you can't put your hosting skills to good use and throw a happy hour to celebrate the love you have for each other. Cheers to that.

Related Stories