One of my most popular posts on my blog is entitled, “Mini Guide To Holding the Ultimate 1950’s Party“. The guide discusses themes, invites, food, music and clothing to ensure that you have the best party around (and you will!).

One of the themes suggested in the post is a 50’s Lounge/Cocktail Party but I really did not get into to much detail, so for today’s post I’m going to dig deep with ideas and images on how you can bring this theme to life.

Let the Party Planning Begin!

A cocktail party At The Imperial Hotel, Tokyo, Japan, March 13, 1961
Source: Wikipedia

Invitations:

No email for this party, go really retro and send your invites via the post office. The mini guide post has ideas on where/ how to get your invites created, so stop in there after your done here.

1944 Vintage Postoffice image washington
Source: Vintage Everyday

Example of an invite that can be personalized and on sale on Etsy.

retro cocktail invite
Source: Etsy

MUSIC:

I think that music is the most important part of any theme party. It truly makes or breaks it. So if you can only do a couple of things to make this theme come to life, music should be number one on your list. But what kind of music should you play? Well simple….Lounge Music.

Lounge Music-is a type of easy listening music popular in the 1950s and 1960s. It may be meant to evoke in the listeners the feeling of being in a place, usually with a tranquil theme, such as a jungle, an island paradise or outer space (source). There is also the ‘Swinging music of the 30’s & 40’s’ with an emphasis on the vocalist that is considered part of this genre of music. The Rat Pack, Louis Prima, Bobby Darin, Wayne Newton are just examples of the artists that can be on constant rotation on your record player (or Cd).

OH and don’t forget the Brazilian music style of the Bossa Nova which was popularized in the 1950’s & 60’s as well.

Here are some YouTube mixes to get you started.

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Food:

Appetizers for a cocktail party are easy breezy but you want them to be in the 50’s style so make sure you check out my post “Party Foods of the 1950’s” for ideas and inspiration.

let serve cocktails cook book 50s 60s cover image
Source: Atticpaper

The Drinks:

1959 Illustrated Liquor Ad, Playboy, Barcardi Puerto Rican Rum, Southern Playboys & The Bacardi Party
Published in Playboy magazine, June 1959 – Vol. 6 No. 6 Source: Flickr

Drink Ideas (many more on the internet. Use the Search Term: 1950’s Cocktail Recipes):

1950s cocktail drinks image

  • Manhattan
  • Gin & Tonic
  • Champagne
  • Gin Fizz
  • Whisky Sour
  • Tom Collins
  • White & Black Russian
  • Bloody Mary
  • Punch
50's punch drink ideas
Source: Chronically Vintage

Lastly, make sure you bar is stacked with items like swizzle sticks, garnishes and if possible vintage glassware like lowball and coupe glasses. Here some great examples of glassware you can pickup at any vintage store that tends to stock 50’s & 60’s items.

1950s lowball vintage glasses
Source: Etsy
1950's champagne coupe glasses
Source: Etsy
mid century swizzle sticks
Source: Etsy

1950s cocktail drink image

Decor

First up, your living room is the perfect place for the party. Set up a make shift cocktail bar area, turn the lights down low (or just decrease the lights) and you are on your way to setting the mode. Do you have a record player or know someone who does? Add it to the room and if it works and you have the records, play your lounge music from there.

Remember that vintage glassware I mentioned above? Make sure they are on display or if you have enough, have your guests actually use them.

The Dress Code:

Really encourage guests to dress-up, because if everyone does then you have already boosted your “decor” by 10 fold. 1950’s party/nice dresses, suits for men, vintage apron for the hostess. Cocktail parties were fancy dress-up affairs so showing up in jeans is not going to work.

Three elegant young ladies enjoy the nibbles on offer at a cocktail party, circa 1955. (Photo by Hulton Archive/Getty Images)
Source: Getty Images

About the below photo: Red (right) was the bell captain at the Sands Hotel and Casino back in the 1950’s and 60’s. This was taken at his Christmas Party around 1958. See how the 2 men are dressed in nice suits. Perfect Cocktail Party attire.

1958 Cocktail Party 2 men vintage image

This apron as of (Sept 18th, 2017) is currently being sold on Etsy. It features a bunch of 1950’s Cocktail recipes!

1950s vintage apron cocktail drinks
Source: Etsy

And there is your 1950’s Cocktail/Lounge Party theme. Your guests will have a blast, you will enjoy being able to have time to actually chat with them and the clean up is pretty simple. Just remember to ensure that your guests don’t drink and drive at the end of the night (this is not the REAL 1950’s anymore).

1950s cocktail party kodachrome slide vintage photo
Source: Etsy

 

Have fun friends and you can always drop me a line if you need any help with this theme.

Liz

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