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Party Food Ideas Include Drink Stations Too

Updated on February 12, 2014

Make a Drink Station at your next Party or Shower

Over the years, I have set up quite a few buffet tables and drink stations. Whether for a party or shower I was hosting at my home or for a large event at my banquet facility business -- drink tables make sense!

There are a number of reasons drink tables are a good idea for any party or event. I am going to share some of these reasons along with ideas for setting up a drink table. It's not hard and making/keeping your guests' comfort in mind is the job of any host or hostess.

If you like to decorate (like I do), this just gives you one more outlet. There are thousands of possibilities for setting up a drink station but I'm going to give you a starting point. We'll also take a look at why drink tables make sense and how you would set one up. Let's get moving!

Image used with permission: © Yuri Arcurs |

Beverage Dispensers Work Great on Drink Stations - Wide Mouth Opening makes it easy to fill

CreativeWare 1.5-Gallon Bark Beverage Dispenser, 1.5 Gallon, Clear
CreativeWare 1.5-Gallon Bark Beverage Dispenser, 1.5 Gallon, Clear
There are many ways to display your beverage choices to your guests. A beverage dispenser is one great way. Fill it with lemonade, tea, punch (alcoholic or non-alcoholic), juice and more. Guests can easily fill their glass and get back to socializing!

Drink Stations:

There are a few different items you can use at your drink station that will help your guests serve themselves quickly and easily. Let's take a look at some of them now.

Why a Drink Station? - 4 Great Reasons to use a Drink Station at your Next Party

I am a big fan of drink stations at buffet style or cocktail style parties for a number of reasons. Let's take a look and see if you don't agree with me.

  1. First of all, you have to offer your guests a few different drink options and a drink station is one way to do this in an organized and beautiful manner. Everything to do with drinks (e.g. condiments, stirrers, cups, ice, syrups, garnishes, etc...) are all in one place. No running around looking for sugar for your tea or creamer for your coffee.

    This makes it efficient and convenient for your guests. That's the mark of a good host or hostess!

  2. Most of us don't set up a "tended bar" for every party or shower we host in our home. As a matter of fact, the term "bar" hints that there is alcohol available -- which is not always the case with every party. Setting up a bar and having a bartender serving is very involved.

    For most "at home" parties, we want our guests to help themselves. Drink stations allow guests to choose a drink from those offered whenever they want and not have to stand in line at a tended bar.

  3. Having a drink table set up away from the food table or buffet table, keeps the ebb and flow of a party going. Food can be set up in one area and the drinks in a totally different area.

    This way you won't have a ton of congestion and traffic in one area. It's spread around making it feel more comfortable for your guests.

  4. For most parties, there are a few elements that offer great décor and theme opportunities. Think of it this way: A party will normally have food and drink. These two tables allow for you to decorate with your chosen color scheme and items that further your theme for the party. You might also have a cake table, dessert table or gift table.

    Remember the old adage of setting up a kitchen so that it will be more efficient for the cook? Make a triangle of the major areas access is needed: Refrigerator, sink & stove. Use this same philosophy for setting up your party!

    See diagrams below.

Triangle Theory for Set Up - Diagram of Kitchen and House

Party Floor Plan
Party Floor Plan

Have You? - Drink Tables and Stations

Do you set up a specific table or area for drinks at your parties?

See results

Badash Square Punch Bowl

I have used a lot of punch bowls over the years when hosting and catering parties. They are almost expected at events like weddings, baby and bridal showers and some other parties. Whether expected or not, they are a nice option for your guests.

One possibility for the punch bowl is that it can be very beautifully arranged and act as the centerpiece to the drink table. Set up your other drink choices around the punch bowl when you place it in the middle of you drink table.

Personally, I like all my buffet and drink serveware to do at least double duty so my first tip is to not buy punch bowls that are for a particular season. If you buy one, get a crystal, glass, silver or white stoneware punch bowl.

This way it can be used for tons of different occasions instead of only once or twice a year because it has a specific theme (e.g. Christmas, Halloween, etc...).

Stainless Steel Punch Bowl - Lighter than Glass

Update International PB-3G Ss Punch Bowl, 3 gal
Update International PB-3G Ss Punch Bowl, 3 gal
This stainless steel punch bowl is much lighter to carry to the drink station than glass -- trust me! It is also very elegant and can be used for more than just punch - keep some bottles of white wine on ice for your guests, bottled water or soda cans. Versatility is awesome!


I use punch bowls without matching glasses. That way you can use any style (stackable, paper, acrylic, etc...) cup you want & not be stuck with only a certain number of glasses.

Traditional punch glasses also take up precious space on drink station. I think they're more trouble than help.

Non-Traditional Drink Station - How Awesome is This?

Cart Drink Station
Cart Drink Station

Image: DecoratingforEvents - Mandee Design by McDaniel's Catered Elegance

Cart Drink Station 2
Cart Drink Station 2

Non-Traditional Drink Station

Think Outside the Box

Another fun way to set up a drink station that your guests will definitely take notice of is to use something other than a table as its' base.

In the photo above and to the right, a wooden cart is used as the base. It's decorated with flowers, fabric and other décor but, most importantly, all the drink options are there and easy for guests to access.

Some other ideas for making a statement with your drink station might include stacking old wooden crates at different levels and setting wash tubs filled with bottled or canned drinks. Use vintage suitcases on top of a trunk or other base. If it's not tall enough, use something as a base and drape it with fabric (don't want it seen) and then stack your suitcases at different heights and place your drinks in and around them.

Use your imagination! Drink stations can be lots of fun to set up!

Image: DecoratingforEvents - Mandee Design by McDaniel's Catered Elegance

Wood Garden Cart - Perfect for a Drink Station

Wood Cart on Wheels
Wood Cart on Wheels
This would make an awesome drink station! At 4 feet tall, it's perfect to hold drink dispensers, pitchers or punch bowls filled with your drink offerings. Set some potted plants around the base in groupings and write Drinks! on the included chalkboard! I want one!!

Get some Wood Crates to Stack - As part of your Drink Station

Use a smaller table, barrel or stable base for anything breakable. Then, place wash tubs filled with bottled and canned drinks on top of the crates. Stack a couple of crates with a barrel on top to add different heights. This is an awesome way to offer your guests drinks!

Party Drink Station
Party Drink Station

Pitchers and Drink Dispensers

Maybe a bit of both...

Pitchers are the age-old manner in which we offer tea, lemonade and lot's of other beverages. Depending on how large your party is, they may work just fine. If you decide to go with pitchers on your drink station, use cake stands or a risers for a few of them. You want the eye to travel up and down. It's just more appealing.

Maybe you will use drink dispensers instead. These are nice because you can make a large batch that will last a long time -- no running around refilling every couple of minutes. A lot of them also come on a stand for height. The spout needs to be up high enough that a cup or glass can fit under it for filling. Test your dispenser and make sure the glasses, paper or plastic cups you are planning to use, fit under the spout.

Maybe you want to use both pitchers and dispensers. This is great too. Mix them all up, I say! I am a bit of an eclectic personality so mixing things up is right up my boat. For a baby shower, you could have a carafe of coffee, double dispenser with ice tea and lemonade and then a tube with bottled water and sodas available. See? Mix it up!

Image used with permission: © Yuri Arcurs |

Glass Pitcher with Style - for Your Dink Station

Libbey Impressions Pitcher, 80.1-ounce
Libbey Impressions Pitcher, 80.1-ounce
Perfect for iced tea, lemonade, juice and just about any other beverage on a drink table for your guests. It is made of glass and I just love the personality of the top spout area. It holds 80 ounces of your favorite beverage.

Rounded Glass Dispenser - Classic Elegance

Curved Glass Drink Dispenser w/ Stand
Curved Glass Drink Dispenser w/ Stand
I love the looks of this rounded drink dispenser! It holds 1.2 gallons and comes with the black metal stand. Fill it with whatever beverage you want and set it on the drink table for your guests to enjoy.

Don't Forget...

Drink accessories for your drink station. Straws, stirrers, sugar, creamer, garnish and maybe a some drink umbrellas just for fun!

Drink Condiments and Accessories - are the finishing touches to your Drink Station

Bella Cupcake Couture Paper Party Striped Straws, Green/White
Bella Cupcake Couture Paper Party Striped Straws, Green/White
These paper straws come in lots of colors so you can find just the right one to match the decor and color scheme of your event. Biodegradable paper straws are also better for the environment that plastic. Your guests will love them!
RSVP International Stainless Steel Sugar Bowl Container with Lid and 4.5" Spoon, 8 oz Capacity
RSVP International Stainless Steel Sugar Bowl Container with Lid and 4.5" Spoon, 8 oz Capacity
This is a gorgeous sugar bowl for coffee or tea. It's polished to a shine stainless steel finish says classy and elegant, for sure!
Tropix Ice Bucket With Tongs and Lid 3 Quart Clear Acrylic Bar Accessory
Tropix Ice Bucket With Tongs and Lid 3 Quart Clear Acrylic Bar Accessory
A clear ice bucket allows you to see at a glance if more is needed as you check supplies for your party. This one holds 3 quarts of ice.
Fun Express Paper Cocktail Drink Parasols - 144 Pieces
Fun Express Paper Cocktail Drink Parasols - 144 Pieces
Drink umbrellas are so cute and add a bit of whimsy to any drink station, no matter what type of party. Have you got yours yet?

Drink Stations Rock!

What do you think?

At your next party or get-together, try a drink station -- a table (or some other base) that's set up for the sole purpose of showcases and dispensing the beverages you are offering your guests.

They will love being able to serve themselves and not waiting in a long line at the bar just to get a soda. It will add to the overall décor of the party (make sure you use some décor to snazzy it up).

Thank you for stopping by!

Do Come Back and See Me Again!

~ DecoratingforEvents ~

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