Grilling out, hot dogs and beer-hugging koozies may be staples of the all-American barbeque, but they are hardly the makings of an upscale event. When you have access to a rooftop venue as glamorous as the one found atop The Baltic, Park Slope’s newest destination for luxury living in New York City, it only seems appropriate to ditch the traditional grill-out garb for items that exude a bit more elegance. With a few simple upgrades, you can turn your run of the mill barbeque into a stunning social soiree this Labor Day weekend. After all, you owe it to yourself to send the summer off in-style. And don’t worry; you can still wear that “Kiss the Cook” apron, if you insist.
Here are five ways to take your cookout from casual to classy.
Use plastic plates, coated utensils and cotton napkins
Paper plates and plain white forks may “get the job done”, but what they offer in utility, they lack in appearance. This Labor Day, spend slightly more on sturdy, plastic plates that are embossed with simple designs. Coated disposable eating utensils mock the appearance of real silverware without the added hassle of dirty dishes. Using real, cotton napkins help cut down on waste and are especially effective for cleaning up typical barbeque-related messes caused by heavy sauces and grease. Be sure to pick items that you know can be recycled at a nearby facility.
Incorporate a condiment bar
Why do ketchup and mustard always have to do all the hard work? Add exciting new flavors to hamburgers, hot dogs, pork chops and sausages by including an extended condiment bar at your next event. Include a variety of sauces to compliment your mains such as Sriracha aioli, kimchi relish, peanut satay sauce and chimichurri, all of which add a unique flair to otherwise predictable barbeque foods.
Up your bar game
Ditch the open cooler for a freestanding bar, nestled snuggly against one corner of the rooftop where a bartender has plenty of space to prepare specialty cocktails and pour craft beers. Instead of relying on koozies and bagged ice to keep your cocktails chilled, try using frozen grapes, berries and pineapple chunks instead. This is a tasty and attractive way to keep your drink frosty. Of course, your drinks will look even prettier if you substitute red SOLO cups for disposable champagne flutes and other transparent stemmed glassware instead.
Opt for small plates
Sloppy, high-piled plates of pulled pork, baked beans and potato salad may have a special place in our hearts, but they don’t fit the mold of a fancy cookout. Prepare sliders, single-serving Caprese salads, surf and turf skewers and other elegant lite bites that pack a punch of flavor without risking stained shirt casualties.
Host live entertainment
If space allows, hire a three-piece band or a live DJ to lend a most memorable soundtrack to your Labor Day barbeque. If your rooftop poses size limitations, at least invest in surround sound speakers and an appropriate playlist to provide background music while guests eat and socialize.
Follow this advice on Labor Day, and people will still be raving about your NYC rooftop party long after the last summer sunset.