The dawn of the ‘new normal’ has confused our collective sense of unbridled fun and freedom. Sure, some are enjoying going out, hitting the high street, restaurants and pubs once again, and personally, we’re all for supporting local businesses reopening right now. 

That said, it’s understandable that some are more tentative in stepping out and spending. As such, the second half of 2020 looks certain to see an uptick in folk socialising – at a safe distance, of course – from the comfort of home. If that sounds like your kind of thing, but you’re a little stuck for inspiration on how to host a party from home, fear not; we have a host of activities here that could be a whole load of fun when done domestically. 

Whether you’re into fancy cocktails, trying new cuisines or playing games at home, there’s guaranteed to be something for you here. Here are 6 ideas for having fun with friends at home during the ‘new normal’. 

PIZZA & CRAFT BEERS IN THE GARDEN 

We all love pizza, right? Who doesn’t find comfort in a blistered crust, fresh tomato sauce and melting mozzarella? But our homemade versions never quite do this pizza passion justice; always a little too soggy, a few centimetres too thick and lacking in that non so che cosa.

If you’re going to throw a good ol’ fashioned ‘pizza party’ but aren’t looking to order in from your local Neapolitan specialists, then the purchase of a mini pizza oven (which you can conveniently place over your BBQ ) might just the answer. These guys are available on Amazon and other outlets, starting at around £60, and reach temperatures of 400°C, ideal for that smoky, charred crust you’re after, and a whole lot of fun as a focal point, too. That, or you could even build your own pizza oven, though it takes a fair amount of work.

Throw some craft beers into the mix, and you’ve replicated the kind of scene not out of place in the hipper corners of East London. Perfect! Or should we say, ideal. 

CELEBRATE ‘INSERT COUNTRY’ CUISINE

Sure, an Italian night full of pizzas sounds great, but why stop there? Instead, why not think outside the box and the continent with a deep dive into a cuisine from further afield? Indeed, a fun and delicious way to learn about a country’s culture is through its cuisine, and serving up some authentic, traditional dishes with an interesting history behind them provides the perfect talking point for even the most languid of evenings.

The more hands on and involved the guests can get in the cooking process, the better. So, a Mexican fiesta where everyone assembles their own tacos, or a Sushi night with guests rolling in and rolling their own, is just the ticket for nurturing a convivial, involved atmosphere.

‘INSERT DAY OF THE YEAR’  CELEBRATION

Every day is a ‘national day of something celebration’, whether that’s National Bubble Wrap Appreciation Day celebrated every January 27th, to June 13th’s National Axe Throwing Day and beyond. There’s bound to be something out there to suit anyone’s tastes, and there’s a lot of fun to be had in going totally overboard in theming every element of your party to suit something completely esoteric and obscure!

Indeed, the world is full of wonderful, whacky and weird holidays, but the trick here is to settle on something which everyone loves. ‘National Prosecco Day’, then, coming up on August 13th, sounds like just the ticket.

HOST A POKER NIGHT 

One fun way to enjoy a night in with all the razzle and dazzle associated with going out on the tiles is by hosting a poker night with your friends or family. First things first, no one wants to play poker (or sip that whiskey on the rocks) on an empty stomach; snacks need to be provided and replenished with fair regularity. No one’s expecting a banquet, but some crunchy, salty chips with dips is ideal. And of course, cold beers are a must. To further define the right ambience, some soft, meandering jazz seems to encapsulate the right spirit for an evening of poker.

If you do choose to be in control of the game itself, it might be a good idea to have a quick go at online poker to familiarise yourself with the rules before hosting. No one wants a host in charge of proceedings who isn’t familiar with the intricacies of this most popular of card games. Check out a respectable review site like BonusFinder which saves time for you in finding a safe way to learn the rules of poker without having to make any financial commitment (they have a free play option).

SET UP A COCKTAIL BAR 

You don’t need to leave the house to have an exciting night involving carefully considered drinks and a classy, sophisticated vibe. Ever more esoteric cocktails are all the rage at the moment, and we’re all here for it; wow your guests with the latest biodynamic wines, or how about an Espresso Martini, a guaranteed crowdpleaser, or even something more weird and wacky like the Coquetier, which is made from chocolate, cinnamon, rum and egg, all served in its shell. Mind your grip!

Do check out our tips on how to create the IDEAL wine bar experience at home for some insider advice on doing just that.

CHEESE & WINE NIGHT

You can’t go wrong with a cheese and wine night. Us Brits love one, and nope, we’re not having those stereotypes about the people of this country eating criminally mild cheddar, babybel and er, that’s it. 

Quite the opposite is true, in fact. Britain is currently revered on the world stage for the fantastic cheese it produces, and us Brits are some of the most enthusiastic cheese connoisseurs and consumers about. All the host has to do is curate an interesting, varied cheeseboard, guests can bring the wine, and voila; a sophisticated with little effort (and hardly any tidying up!) required.

For some tips on creating the ideal cheeseboard, check out our article here