Wednesday, May 17, 2006

Eschewing Velvet Ropes, but Keeping Style Intact.

Walking around Old City on Friday night- and I use the verb loosely, as crowds were so thick that I could've easily just allowed myself to be carried off to places unknown- I unofficially retired from going out on weekends in town. As the weather proceeds to get better, more and more people are coming out of their caves to come stand behind the increasing amount of velvet ropes, while wearing frightening amounts of synthetic material (disclosure: saw a girl in an 80's style neon dress, made entirely of nylon. Hope the bar was non-smoking).

Not only that, but it's getting pricier to go out, as the cost of living- and cocktails- steadily rises with rents. Though it pales in comparison to Manhattan, I have my reservations about sitting in an overcrowded faux-Irish pub sipping on an $11 concoction served in a plastic martini glass facsimile.

Unless you can afford to host a casual get-together at The Philadelphia Museum of Art, entertaining at home is the natural, lower-cost choice. Home entertaining is a trend on the rise, not only because of above financial/mental costs, but also because you can easily get all your friends in one place, without hassle.

But the thought of entertaining makes most people anxious. One minute you're planning a menu, the next, you're in near tears over the cleanliness of the bathroom. I say this because I felt the same way- and then I found the Purcell Sisters. Where most entertaining books either get too focused on fantasy (cashmere napkins and 30-year-old Balsamic Vinegar), or etiquette lessons, they constructed their book (Cocktail Parties, Straight Up!) based on entertaining with confidence, i.e. how not to have a melt down while figuring out drink menus. City dwellers themselves, they also take small spaces in to consideration, along with time constraints. A highly recommended read.