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San Francisco, CA


Solutions for private events of under 40 people: a downtown San Francisco venue, event services, and a sharp collection of rentals.


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4 Tips to Prevent Alcohol-Related Issues at Dinner Parties

Jen Wu


As much good cheer as alcohol brings to any party, it’s important to recognize that individuals have varying levels of control with it.

Whether you host dinner parties at home, for work, or at Cookhouse, it’s good to be aware of some measures you can take, even preventatively, to make sure it’s a fun night while avoiding scary situations.

4 tips to prevent drinking-related problems

  1. Food, of course. Plan for enough food, and enough variety of food, for the amount of time guests will be drinking.

  2. Glass size matters. Did you know there are wineglasses that can fit a whole 750ml bottle of wine? Just keep in mind how much you’ll want to serve if you’re buying or renting glasses for your party. Also, if the focus of your event is the alcohol (e.g., a wine-pairing dinner), maybe each serving could be 2 fl. oz. instead of the standard 5 fl. oz. serving size.

  3. Keep full water carafes on the table. Start with full carafes on the table - 1 for every 4-6 people. I recommend glass carafes, so you can always tell when it needs a refill. If you have serving staff, ask them to refill water glasses on the table regularly and refill the carafes when they run out.

  4. Have other non-alcoholic beverages available as options. Sparkling water - flavored or not, soda, juices, iced tea, tea & coffee, etc. Just being able to offer these can help someone drunk say yes to something once you hit upon something they’d like.

Bonus tip: if you do notice any guests overserving themselves, take any bottles of alcohol off the table to slow down the self-serve, and let any staff know so they don’t automatically refill the guest’s glass without assessing the situation first.

Dealing with alcoholics at parties

Some clients have told us that they happen to know that a guest is struggling with alcohol addiction, but can’t get around not inviting them.

If this is the case, as an additional preventative measure, hire professional servers or bartenders and task them, and them only, with serving the beverages. This serves three purposes:

  1. It takes you, the host, out of the equation. If you’ll feel the need to monitor and/or confront the individual, you risk sacrificing your own fun at the party.

  2. Their experience in the safe serving of alcohol gives you a better-educated hand in making sure things don’t get out of hand.

  3. As in the bonus tip above, there are no self-service bottles on the table nor at a beverage station (such as a shiny, easy-to-locate-even-when-drunk beverage bucket). A bartender takes this a step further in handling access before things get dicey.

I’ll write more on this later, as it’s a more complicated topic.

Getting home

There are so many options for safe transportation now that getting home shouldn’t be an issue - we've even got a taxi zone right out front. Designated drivers, if you’d like a coffee, just knock on the Cookhouse office door and ask!