5@5 - David Alan Bernahl II
December 16th, 2010
05:00 PM ET
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5@5 is a daily, food-related list from chefs, writers, political pundits, musicians, actors, and all manner of opinionated people from around the globe.

Newsflash: It's party season! (Don't act so surprised.) So until the ball, and subsequently Snooki, drops in Times Square on New Year's, we're getting our holly and jolly on until we start seeing sugar plum fairies dancing up in the ol' noggin. Capeesh?

And if you're one of the brave souls hosting the likes of  such festive friends, some words of wisdom might come in handy - that's where Dave Bernahl comes in.

Bernahl is the co-founder and director of Pebble Beach Food & Wine festival, and owner of the recently opened Cannery Row Brewing Company in Monterey, California. His party might be a teensy bit bigger than yours (roughly 4,000 attendees), so if he can handle hosting duties, you can too.

Five Secrets to Holiday Hospitality: David Alan Bernahl II

1. Welcome Lubrication
"[The] first and most important rule: Greet guests immediately with a stiff drink. Rinse and repeat."

2. A caterer is your best friend...and no one has to know.
"No one appreciates a hostess trapped in the kitchen or getting chaffed tending to the chafing dishes. A caterer's expertise especially comes in handy when estimating how much food/drink you will need, which is essential to a successful party. If you do decide to cook, splurge on a housekeeper so you're not preoccupied scrubbing the lipstick off your prized Schott Zwiesel glasses during the festivities. Or worse: having to do it the morning after."

3. Introduction Junction
"Making introductions (with as many people as you can) is an important gesture that ensures all of your guests feel welcome and special. This also takes some hosting pressure off of you when everyone feels included and you're free to enjoy yourself and not frantically mix and mingle."

4. Send out the Screaming Eagle(s) first
"Holiday gatherings are a great time to break out special bottles from your collection and treat good friends to good booze. Just make sure you do it early in the evening before everyone gets blottoed and won't be able to tell the Krug from the Cava."

5. All good things must...
"...lead to an after party! No, not always but it's a good idea to have rough timeline that includes a wrap-up strategy or you can get exhausted trying to breathe life in a seven hour cocktail party. Invite the remaining midnight dwellers for bourbon and cigars on the porch and bid them adieu graciously. Then crack open that last bottle of bubbly or Burgundy and toast yourself to a job well done."

Is there someone you'd like to see in the hot seat? Let us know in the comments below and if we agree, we'll do our best to chase 'em down.

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Filed under: 5@5 • Bite • Entertaining • Think

soundoff (38 Responses)
  1. Florence Johnston

    I Double concur. Them Jefferson's were Party Animals!

    December 19, 2010 at 4:42 pm |
  2. me

    is it possible for anyone here to take stuff with a grain of salt?? You don't have to do everything other people tell youto do... it was just SUGGESTIONS. people who are not used to hosting parties may not be able to handle all of the cooking and cleaning that goes with a party.

    December 19, 2010 at 4:34 pm |
  3. Foster Brooks

    Nothing worse than a bunch of sanctimonious (hiccup) teetotalers.

    December 17, 2010 at 2:29 pm |
  4. Ugh

    Lots of my friends don't drink, and the rest of us prefer to enjoy our parties without going overboard. If I can't tell the quality of what I'm drinking, I don't want to drink it! Also, it is not that hard to cook ahead of time and clean up after.

    December 17, 2010 at 9:04 am |


    December 17, 2010 at 7:39 am |
    • Shannon

      Like! And, Ditto :)
      Always proud of the Bernahl & Weakley combo!

      December 17, 2010 at 12:33 pm |
  6. annamaepearl

    Just for the record Carashere, no one would hardly call me a self righteous jerk.I tend to have a certain natural wit that can be quite funny. I have even been mistaken at times for being drunk. I have attended many a party and observed carefully the dependence on alcohol as a social lubricant. If they aren't drinking, they like to talk about drinking. Like I said, the drinkers don't get it and they never will.

    December 17, 2010 at 1:26 am |
    • Cap'n Rita

      Seriously-get over yourself! I'll bet that, just like a typical "drunk", you aren't as "witty" as you think you are. You are clearly lacking in social grace, It is unfortunate that you weren't carefully observant during grammar and punctuation lessons. Your errors AND self-righteousness make you look like a sad buffoon.

      December 17, 2010 at 1:51 am |
  7. Larry Lupus

    What a loser. I didn't realize throwing a good party required getting your guests drunk. I guess he needs something to hide the fact what a loser he is.

    December 16, 2010 at 11:13 pm |
    • someone local

      OK I have not even read the article. I won't waste any more time on this.
      He is a FAKE! We have known him for 15 years, runs up bills everywhere, uses people,
      actually did it once to his first business spent all money on himself, let everyone else work and
      left. He is burning bridges faster than he can make them and is about to be sued left and right.
      I know things are going to catch up to this egotistic loser!

      August 5, 2011 at 4:17 pm |
  8. Larry

    Is it a party to enjoy the company of friends, or a party to get drunk? I rather my friends get home safely rather than get killed from drinking. If you have to drink to have fun then maybe you need help. Ditto on the rich people comment, expensive alcohol, caterer and housekeeper? Give me a break.

    December 16, 2010 at 10:08 pm |
  9. kevin cassidy

    good lord it's another blog telling us what to do again ...

    December 16, 2010 at 10:07 pm |
    • Andrea

      Maybe it's Government sponsered...just sayin'

      December 17, 2010 at 7:59 am |
      • Jerv@Andrea

        Or a covert CIA operation co-sponsored by the FBI and secretly financed by FEMA.

        December 17, 2010 at 8:03 am |
  10. annamaepearl

    A number of us out there silently make fun of all the drinkers. We mock their continual dependence on alcohol for any party. I especially love the alcohol laugh track that kicks in every time booze is mentioned...
    Gotta have a beer (ha ha ha)
    First serve them the drink (ha ha ha) then rinse and repeat (ha ha ha)
    Any one up for some cheap wine? (ha ha ha)
    I love to be around drinkers. I smile, have fun, but they all the while feel a bit uneasy...as if you are superior to them. I have more fun watching others knock it back, act like fools, or even worse, can't socialize at all without the drinks in their hands.
    Only those of us who used to drink, or whose wise parents taught us in our youth to "mock" the drinking culture will get what I am saying.

    December 16, 2010 at 9:28 pm |
    • carashere

      You say, "I smile, have fun, but they all the while feel a bit uneasy." Are you sure you're not mistaking their uneasiness with having an unlikable self-righteous jerk in their midst with any uneasiness with themselves? And regardless of the reason, if they feel uneasy they're not drinking much.

      December 16, 2010 at 10:15 pm |
  11. Scooter

    And don't forget to tell them to drive home safely after they've drank all of that booze that you pushed on them all night long.

    December 16, 2010 at 9:23 pm |
  12. Fiona

    Bid them adieu graciously...yes. Emphasis on "graciously." Don't set people up to fail by not letting them know it's time to go. I've had people just suddenly stand near the door and look irritated until guests got the message. Bad form!

    I don't agree on the lubrication part, though. Pushing the booze is crass, and even dangerous. And so many people do not drink these days. Offer a drink, or point guests to the bar, but don't push them to imbibe.

    Intorductions, yes. Don't just dump your guests into a room of strangers. Bring up something that those being introduced may have in common, to help start a conversation.

    I'd add "circulate" to the list. I've been at sit-down dinners where there was more than one table of guests, and the host and/or hostess sat at the table of preferred guests the entire time. It makes the rest of the guests feel less valued.

    December 16, 2010 at 7:44 pm |
  13. J.B.Jingles@jillmarie

    I think we were poured from the same mold! A party game to get the introductions going is always fun and kills two birds!

    December 16, 2010 at 6:56 pm |
  14. Alex

    Dude, is this like party tips for rich people?

    December 16, 2010 at 6:48 pm |
  15. fob

    Not sure I would hire a caterer since I really enjoy the cooking that comes with entertaining, but I do like the idea of a housekeeper to help with the clean up!

    December 16, 2010 at 6:40 pm |
  16. jillmarie

    I loved that part too! Sounds like he knows how to through a great party. I agree with making intropductions, too. Also, the after party drinks is a cool suggestion, too.
    Some type of party game is always cool, too.
    The best booze should be served first, I agree. When I host a party, I serve the most expensive wine first, then switch to cheaper bottles because it tastes the same at that point!

    December 16, 2010 at 6:32 pm |
  17. URAButtHead

    john mclain

    December 16, 2010 at 6:31 pm |
  18. Matt

    Great Christmas party

    December 16, 2010 at 6:30 pm |
  19. J.B.Jingles

    On subject, he sounds like he has a good sense of humor! My fave: "[The] first and most important rule: Greet guests immediately with a stiff drink. Rinse and repeat."

    December 16, 2010 at 5:59 pm |
  20. wendy


    December 16, 2010 at 5:58 pm |
  21. Truth

    My co-workers have to be wondering why I try to muffle laughter at around this time of day, so I tell them that I just got a joke email...then they ask for me to share, and I have to find something old to forward, and it becomes a big mess...

    December 16, 2010 at 5:50 pm |
  22. J.B.Jingles

    Tasteless buffoonery I tell ya! RH – I believed the imposter and besides didn't want to be locked in the dirty bathroom...LOL

    December 16, 2010 at 5:49 pm |
  23. Dave the 1st

    Looks like it, Did anyone tell Tazer that it wasn't really SLT on klatsch?

    December 16, 2010 at 5:46 pm |
  24. Skottikins

    ah *()&(&*%&^$*^%$$$$$$*!!!

    December 16, 2010 at 5:45 pm |
  25. Tazer


    What a waste of 45 minutes!

    December 16, 2010 at 5:45 pm |
  26. RichardHead

    I thought this guy died.

    December 16, 2010 at 5:45 pm |
  27. Skottikins

    I’d hit it.

    December 16, 2010 at 5:44 pm |
  28. The Witty One

    I won!!!!!! Woohoo!!!!!

    December 16, 2010 at 5:44 pm |
    • Truth

      Well played friend!
      Have to wonder is Tazer wet herself...maybe we should keep a dropcloth in the ccafe closet...

      December 16, 2010 at 5:45 pm |
  29. Truth

    NOT hitting that.

    December 16, 2010 at 5:44 pm |
  30. The Witty One

    I'd not hit it!

    December 16, 2010 at 5:43 pm |
    • RichardHead

      Well played and good answer.

      December 16, 2010 at 5:46 pm |
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