Presumably, it has been a long time since your idea of hosting a party involved kegs and Doritos. There's nothing inherently wrong with beer and chips, of course. But if you're proud of your home and hope folks come back the next time you invite them over, you'd be well-served by paying some attention to detail, design, and delicacy. We're talking about food and drinks that taste like they were custom-made for the event (even if they weren't). You'll want to think about lighting and seating (maybe it's time to upgrade the lamps and chairs?). And you should greet your guests in threads that set the tone for the evening: casually elegant, strictly formal, or somewhere in between. Follow the advice below and you'll actually have fun at your own party—as will your guests. Perhaps you'll even convince others that you deserve an invitation to their swanky upcoming soirees, too.

What to Drink

Why It's Time to Try South African Wine—Plus the Bottles to Buy Now
A new wave of acclaimed vintners are putting this far-flung producer back on the map. Here are the bottles to know.

Four Beer Trends
Everything you need to know about Japanese craft beer, barrel-aged beer, wine-beer hybrids, and gypsy-brewed beer.

Apple Gin? Rhubarb Amaro? Meet 8 Craft Distillers That Are Getting Creative
By experimenting with new ingredients and techniques a new breed of wild spirits transcends the usual whiskey and vodka.

Drinks to Keep On Hand
Tonics, bitters, aperitifs, nightcaps, and more.

You Don't Know Applejack: 5 New Cocktails That Give the Old-School Spirit an Update
Across america, bartenders are embracing the colonial spirit to create sophisticated, irresistible cocktails tailor-made for the season.

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Gear and Décor

Entertaining Secrets from America's Greatest Chefs
Everything you need to set your table in style, as selected by 10 of the country's most celebrated chefs—Thomas Keller, Jean-Georges Vongerichten, and Daniel Boulud included.

The Accessories Checklist
Here's a look at some of the better knives, napkins, corkscrews, decanters, and other kitchen gadgets.

Upgrade Your Oscar Night Party Décor
Check out our picks for a properly pulled together fête with a touch of old Hollywood glamour.

Build A Better Home Bar
Upgrade your living-room cocktail service by stocking the best new arrivals from around the globe, then adding clever mixing tools and serving accessories.

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What to Cook and Eat

10 Snacks For Cocktail Parties
Sweet and savory dishes to impress even the most hard-core foodies.

Dips and Small-Plate Dishes
You don't need tons of ingredients to whip up these treats.

A Purist's Guide to Pizza Making
All you need to craft a classic Neapolitan pie are the right ingredients. And these expert tips.

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What to Wear

5 Ways to Loosen Up Black Tie
Dressing up doesn't have to mean donning a penguin suit. If you have a unique sense of style, don't lose it when you go formal.

The Complete Guide to Suits: 57 Rules of Style
Everything you need to know about suits, including what to look for when buying them, how to get them tailored, and the coats, shirts, ties, shoes, and watches to wear with them.

How to Wear Black
Some of the finest in New York prove dark tonal dressing still makes a statement.