5.3 min readBy Published On: March 1st, 2011Categories: Book0 Comments on How to Throw an Open House

The Southie tradition of the St. Patrick’s Day Parade is a big day on the social calendar of its residents. You either get out of Dodge and flee anywhere but here – or you embrace the day, don your shamrock green and open the doors to your home to family, friends and the occasional stranger or two. Here are some hopefully helpful hints to ensure Parade Day goes off without a hitch!

Tips for Hosting an Open House:


First and foremost, start off with a good house cleaning. We know it seems sort of crazy to clean and then have 100 people over to make a huge mess but it is nice to have clean bathrooms and a neat and presentable home to entertain in.

Guest list

Make a list of guests so you can plan out how much food and drink you’ll need. Plan on extra and unexpected guests too.

Plan a menu

Since people will be coming and going all day, a buffet is easiest. Have some Irish Bread, muffins or scones (https://caughtinsouthie.com/guide-st-patricks-day/recipes-st-patricks-day-main-dishes-appetizers-and-drinks) and coffee for people who stop by before noon. A cold-cut platter and fresh rolls is an easy and filling staple for your guests. Joseph’s Bakery and Deli (K& Fourth) has great cold cuts and are happy to put together a platter for you. On the bakery side of Joseph’s you can order a tray of pizza – which will please the kids. Quinzani’s (380 Harrison Ave) has great rolls and they sell them in bulk. Their rolls are fresh, delicious and very economical.

  • A crock-pot full of hot and delicious homemade meatballs (http://tinyurl.com/st-pat-s-recipes) are a real crowd pleaser as well as a homemade soup or stew (http://tinyurl.com/st-pat-s-recipes) to warm up chilly parade-watchers. Yankee Lobster and Fish Company (300 Northern Ave/617-345-9799) has delicious clam chowder (44.95/gallon) and lobster bisque (49.95/gallon) that you can order and serve.
  • If you are a traditionalist, why not serve your guest a traditional boiled dinner of corned beef and cabbage. Try making it yourself (http://tinyurl.com/st-pat-s-recipes) and pick up the best cut of corned beef from Phil or Paul at K&8th.They can answer any questions you might have and offer cooking tips.
  • Chips and dips are also good to have available so your guests can casually snack. (http://tinyurl.com/st-pat-s-recipes)
  • Make sure to have coffee, and dessert. Trays of brownies, cookies and cupcakes are easy and guests can help themselves. Homemade is great but if time is not on your side, you can order trays of cookies from Sweet Tooth Bakery. Another convenient idea is purchasing a coffee in carafes from Cranberry Cafe (704 East Broadway) or Java House (566 East Broadway). Much easier than making it in the coffee maker all day.
  • Have plenty of paper goods. You’ll need plates, napkins, forks, knives, spoons, cups for coffee, plastic wine glasses, and plenty of plastic drink cups.
  • For your bar, make sure to have plenty of cold beer. Have extra coolers ready to store beer, water, and soda. Maybe have a keg if you want the beer to go a long way and are planning on having lots of guests. Make sure to pick up festive St. Patrick’s Day green keg cups. Get plenty of ice (these are the times we wish O’Neil’s Ice was still open).
  • Wine should also be part of your bar as well. Pick up some hearty reds which are perfect for a Sunday afternoon in March. But also have some white available and keep it chilled in your refrigerator. South Boston Liquor and Al’s Liquor both on West Broadway offer a wonderful selection of wine and both shops are very helpful and knowledgeable.
  • Bailey’s and maybe some Jameson’s are a nice addition to your bar. Bailey’s is perfect served on the rocks and also delicious in coffee. Jameson’s is fun and traditional but you might want to hide it later in the day if your guests have been drinking a lot. Nothing is worse than too much whiskey or the addition of whiskey to a long day of drinking. Not a pretty sight.
  • Impress your guests with some customized handmade chocolates – think shamrocks or fightin’ Irish leprachauns – Blue Tierra makes them and not only are the fun to look at but they are delicious!   www.bluetierrachocolate.com


(see decorating tips). Think green!

Play some tunes

Have you iPod ready with the perfect “St. Patrick’s Day” mix. (see St. Pat’s Playlist)

Stock up and be ready

Make sure to have plenty of extra paper towels and toilet paper in stock. You don’t want to run out!

If friends and family ask to bring something to your open house, let them! Tell them to bring beer or wine or maybe a dessert or appetizer. Many hands make light the work!

Clean-up along the way. Take a few laps around the dinning room and living room. Pick up empty plates and cups.

Have fun!

Have a good time! It is a party, make sure you have a glass of wine and eat some food and mingle with your guests. An open house shouldn’t be too much work!

Keep smiling!

Being gracious when you entertain is key to being the perfect host. Be patient and always smile even when things go wrong. Bob just threw up in your plant. No problem. Besty just spilled red wine on your rug. No worries. Your neighbors are complaining about the noise, lower the music and shut the front door. Remain calm and in control. Your go with the flow attitude will allow your guests to feel relaxed and it will set the tone for a fun open house.

Have an end time in mind. After all, most people have to get up for work in the morning or take the kids to school, so make sure you know when you’d like your guests to leave by. If you experience “the guest who would not leave”, offer them on last drink and tell them politely the party is over. (see tips for awkward party situations/sticky situations).

The recipe for a successful Open House on Parade day is preparation and graciousness. So ice down the beer, set the buffet, press play on the iPod and put a smile on your face. You are ready! Go open the doors!