Every bro should know how to throw a great keg party. It’s a rite of passage, and although it sounds simple enough – roll out a keg, tap, enjoy – if you don’t plan ahead, the night you’ll never forget will quickly become the night you shamed yourself in front of the rest of your bros – and, more importantly, the lady bros.
But thankfully for you, we’ve got your back. We’re going to help you out with these eight tips for throwing the perfect keg party. After all, that’s what bros are for.
Make Sure You Have Enough Beer
This seems obvious, and it is, but you’d be surprised at how many people underestimate their beer needs going into a party. A classic rookie mistake is thinking that one keg will be enough to last all night. That’s fine if it’s a small party, but keg parties by nature are out of control, packed house kind of affairs.
A single keg is roughly equivalent to 165 12-ounce beers, which, again, sounds like a lot, but when you’ve got 100 people running in and out of your house, that goes quick. You do not want to be the party that runs out of beer at midnight and then make everyone sit around while you make another beer run. That’s a bad look, and people will get annoyed and find other things to do, like wreck your house, steal shit, fight… basically, all the things you want to avoid.
Do It for the Love of the Game
Another classic rookie mistake is thinking that you can make a bunch of money throwing a keg party by charging people $5 or whatever for a cup. Hint: you can’t. I get it, you all grew up watching movies where this sort of stuff happened, but in real life, you’ll be lucky to break even. That’s because kegs are expensive, and even if you charge people for a cup, that’s money that’s just going to be fed right back into the keg supply.
Plus, when it comes to getting free shit, even the dumbest assholes suddenly turn into wily geniuses, and so while you’re busy trying to make money like a chump, Stephen Hawking of the beer game over there is finding ways to drink for free. You’ve just got to accept it and check your motives for even throwing a party. You’re there to have fun, to make memories, and so go ahead and recoup your costs if you absolutely have to, but anything more than that is a greedy, fool’s errand.
Invite the Right People
At a certain point – if it’s a good party, anyway – this will be beyond your control. But what you can control is making sure that the word gets out to the right people. Yeah, you want your bros there, but the last thing you want is the dreaded sausage fest. If you’re not completely sad, then I’m sure you know some cool girls. Get them involved. Have them spread the word to their friends, and let it go from there.
Of course, you might have to make some sacrifices here too. Everybody knows that one jackass who has an inexplicable harem that follows him around. You don’t like him. Nobody does. But he still is one of the first people everyone clues in when it comes to the party scene because he makes things happen. Invite him. It sucks, but one idiot isn’t going to ruin your party. You probably won’t even notice him.
However, don’t ignore your bros either. You don’t want your party to be just a bunch of strangers having a good time in your place. You need people to share that fun with, and hey, those strangers aren’t gonna help you clean up the next day, you know?
Pick the Right Music
You can’t just have any music. No, you have to have the right music. Upbeat stuff that makes people want to dance. Mix in some slow hip-hop to give people a chance to breathe every once in a while, top 40 shit that everyone recognizes, old school classics, and corny Animal House crap like “Shout” when everyone’s fucking hammered, along with the obvious stuff.
Don’t make the mistake of assuming that since it’s your party, everyone will be cool if you play whatever “cutting edge” nu-metal you’re into or atmospheric chill-out stuff that just makes people want to lay around like they’ve all just been doing heroin all night.
And make sure that people can actually hear the music. Wire up some good speakers around the main dance room, get your playlist ready and let the music do its thing. You don’t have to spend all night obsessively DJing or anything, but you should keep an eye on it. Or better yet, just get that one friend that everyone has who is really into it to do it for you. After all, the more people who feel like they have a stake in this thing are involved, the better your party will probably be.
If it’s a good party, then it’s going to get a little out of control. It’s going to happen and there’s not a lot you can do about it. What you can do, though, is minimize the fallout.
Start by maybe soundproofing as best you can. It doesn’t have to be professional or anything, but if you’re a bro with a house and a big basement, take it down there, maybe put some cheap Styrofoam on the walls and then party without having to worry about your neighbors calling the cops.
You also probably want to get at least one bro to take over crowd control. Make sure it’s someone imposing yet easy going. You don’t want some asshole Dirty Harry wannabe who’s just going to get off on the power trip. You just want someone who looks the part, and who’s going to keep an eye on things so that people aren’t constantly spilling into the yard and pissing on the side of your neighbor’s house. No matter how chill people are, they tend to get a little irritated when their property starts getting fucked up. They’re funny like that.
And perhaps most importantly, party-proof your house. Move furniture around – or even out, if you can – hide your valuables, your dishes, even your towels. I can’t tell you how many towels I’ve had stolen over the years. It’s weird, but it happens, especially when people are wilding out in your bathroom.
Everyone is cool with beer, but it always helps to have some alternatives – especially for any hot girls who may wander by. Plan ahead, make some Jell-O shots, buy some hard alcohol, invest in some fruity shit. You don’t have to advertise it. Let the plebes wreck the kegs while you, your bros and anyone you let into your inner circle wreck everything else.
Get an assortment of beer bongs, booze luges and other corny things to make it seem more festive and not just like a bunch of people sitting around pumping a barrel filled with cheap beer. It’s a psychological thing. People let loose when you start getting creative with the way they drink.
Beyond that, don’t worry about planning games or anything like that. That’s dumb, and people will think you’re lame as hell. The party is the attraction. People will make their own fun if you just provide the atmosphere. Don’t worry about feeding people or entertaining them. Just make sure that they have many different ways to get drunk and you’re all set.
Let People Do Their Thing
Again, you want to plan, and get creative, but you don’t want to overplan. That kills a party dead. Just let people show up and have fun. You’re throwing the party, but you don’t have to play host. You just have to provide the infrastructure and the booze. Everything else should take care of itself.
And you have to accept that sometimes people are going to want to do their own thing, no matter how weird it may seem. An example: I threw enough parties that people started to become regulars. I didn’t know them beyond my parties, but they showed up every time, ready to have fun – always a good sign. I’m not trying to brag like an asshole here, my point is this: there was a group of regulars who showed up and every single time they would plant themselves in one of the rooms and just play cards all night. They didn’t even drink. They just played cards together and had fun. It was kind of weird, but so what? They enjoyed themselves, and that enjoyment just added to the overall atmosphere.
You have to let that atmosphere happen and grow all on its own. Let it become almost a living thing and your parties will become legendary.
Here’s the thing – your place is going to get fucked up. There’s nothing you can do about it. Just make your peace with it, brace for impact and tell yourself that you’ll clean it all up in the morning. Unless things get seriously out of control – we’re talking news helicopters out of control – everything cleans up. Everything gets put away. Just put it out of your mind and have fun.
Here’s the other thing – your party is not going to go just like you planned in your head. But really, who wants things to go as planned? That’s the beauty of a great party. Like I said earlier, it’s almost a living thing, and the excitement comes from just being inside of it while it grows, and if you can let it grow over multiple parties, that’s even more satisfying.
Partying is all about possibility, about letting go and being ready for just about anything to happen. A great keg party is all about losing yourself in all of that. Everything else is just a detail. The beer, the music… all of it is just the scenery. Scenery is important, but it’s what you make happen – or better yet, what you relax and allow to happen – within that scenery that makes the story so great. And that’s how you throw a perfect keg party.
Party crowd image by Christian Bertrand/Shutterstock