An Enthusiasts’ Guide to throwing a hotel afterparty


There’s an event—maybe a show. Or a birthday party, or a New Year’s. Or a Halloween. And it’s out of town. Or it’s in the same city where you live, but on the other side of town, too far to drunk-stumble home from, and in a neighborhood devoid of cabs past last call. Or it’s next door, but your upstairs neighbor calls the cops when there’s more than four feet wandering the rugs past 11pm.

And then when last call is called or the cash runs out or it’s time for a more intimate setting or some better music or to change out of whatever hot-but-miserable outfit you’ve donned for the celebration—we retire to the hotel afterparty.

But beyond piles of cocaine and enough sexy acquaintances for an orgy (hypothetically), what does it take to throw a bitchin’ hotel afterparty?

1) Booze. The right kinds of booze, and lots of it. And mixers. (Nothing too sweet—the 9am-been-up-all-night-hangover is much worse chased by a saccharine headache.) Pander to your fellow afterparty-goers: everyone’s booze of choice should be accounted for and an appropriate quantity for the number of fans present procured. Unless your friends have got some shiiiiiitttttyyy taste in booze (ie: they’re hopping on board the Night Train, woo-woooo! Or are of legal drinking age and think Goldschläger on ice is classy cocktail [but seriously we’re not, like, judging or anything])—in which case, learn ’em to enjoy something less embarrassing and barfy. If they whine about their booze re-education: delete their number out of your phone and block them on Facebook. They’re dead to you now.

Think basics: vodka, whiskey (we’re a little biased toward bourbon here at the AE), rum. Cognac. Tequila. Maybe someone’s just gotta have gin or Fernet. And as always: beer and wine. Maybe cider, maybe Champagne (you fancy pants).

Our travel bar and boozecase for a recent Oakland Marriot afterparty: places for the shaker, strainer, two citrus juicers, bitters, muddler, shot glasses. A suitcase filled with booze, mixers, lemons and limes, punch bowl, ladle, and a ginormous ice cube designed for minimal punch dilution.

And if you’re especially motivated, why not whip up a signature drink of the evening? Something that can be made in large batches ahead of time—or with minimal injury and spilling by the blacked out. A cocktail which serves well in plastic cups and appeals to a broad swath of palates. Christian prefers a Cognac, rum, and citrus punch: Just don’t forget a large bowl, ladle, and to make a hilariously large bowl-sized ice cube at home ahead of time.

Make sure to set your afterparty bar up against a stunning night view of Oakland.

It’s important to think of the night in stages. Assuming the hotel wasn’t a decision made  last-minute while-out, you’ll want to pre-party in your room before the event, too. Get as pre-drunk as possible—but not so sloppy you’ll miss the festivities—to ensure maximum fun (and maybe save a couple bucks). Keep it quick and dirty with shots and two-to-three ingredient mixed drinks.

Immediately following your event, you’re high on probably just natural adrenaline and nothing else at all, and it’s time to fucking celebrate. Toast to your BFFs of the moment and never-wanting-the-night-to-end with the Best Shit from your boozecase—like Champagne and top shelf—while you’re still sort of able to taste it. Then it’s time to mix up a batch of your signature drink, make sure everything that needs to be is chilling in a cooler or mini-fridge, and that all guests have at least one drink in hand and one on deck.

At this point in the early morning, you are likely balckedd outt. But try to imprint this on your memory before you down the Nail: What happens at the afterparty, stays at the afterparty. Wait—no. That’s an oft-pop culture referenced Las Vegas Tourism advertising tagline and it does not apply here. Here, at this party, friends will want memories captured. And they will take photos, and they will be on my camera, and I will only post the embarrassing ones on Facebook.

Just kidding: the moral of the story is to switch to beer or wine at some point after the sun rises and to remember to drink lots of water and maybe have a snack. Actually, I’m not kidding—and I can’t wait to share your pictures with the world.

Tower motel picture from theamericanroadside (flickr).