My Backyard Hangout

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If you’ve never experienced one, bar theme nights are a lot of fun. Traditionally used by businesses to draw in customers, they’re also a cool idea for hosting parties at home. Best of all, you don’t need to wait for certain holidays. These ideas can be used any time you feel like having friends and family over.    

1. Paint and Sip Party

Just as it sounds, a paint and sip party combines wine-tasting with painting. If you don’t have a lot of variety already, you could ask each of your guests to bring a different bottle of wine to share. Also, if painting isn’t your thing, you could swap it for some other craft. For example, pottery or making jewelry bar theme nights.

Bar Theme Nights Inspired by Decades

Many bar theme nights are based around iconic decades, such as the 1920s. Recreating your favorite era is a good idea for those who like dress-up parties. If you want to make it as authentic as possible, ask your guests to dress according to the theme. You can also make special invites, playlists, photo props, and even drinks. 

2. 1920s Speakeasy

The 1920s, also known as the prohibition era, was a time when the manufacture and trade of alcohol was banned. Hidden bars, called speakeasies, rose up around the US. Being illegal at the time, they were very secretive. When throwing your own speakeasy party, you could set up a secret password at the door or gate to your backyard before guests can enter. If you have dimmable string lights, you can set them to 50% or lower. You can also find a 1920s playlist on YouTube, create your own, or even play an ambiance video on a projector in the background. For drinks, you could mix Gin Rickeys, Bee’s Knees, etc.        

3. 1970s Retro

If you’re more interested in throwing a 1970s-themed party, you might use some color-changing string lights or hang some disco balloons. You could also buy or make some 70s-inspired photo props. Some drink recipes might include Tequila Sunrise, Tom Collins, or Harvey Wallbanger. 

4. Game Night

One of the most traditional themes is hosting a game night. This might include card games, Dungeons & Dragons, or trivia. If you have an enclosed bar, you might consider adding different entertainment options over time. For example, pinball machines, dart boards, a pool table, a karaoke player, or even real slot machines (depending on where you live).

Another idea for a bar theme night could include a popular book, movie, or TV show.

5. Fantasy Series

One of the most popular and well-loved fantasy series is Harry Potter. For a Harry Potter-themed party, you could serve Butterbeer or Firewhiskey. Upon arrival, you could sort each person into a Hogwarts house. If you have a projector or a TV and some comfortable seating, you could have a movie marathon and play drinking games, like this one. Or, if you prefer something more active, you could play classic party games with a twist, such as Quidditch beer pong. If you’re more of a Star Wars fan, you can make cocktails like Death Star or Java the Hutt. For entertainment, you can do drinking games, like those above, scavenger hunts, or even trivia.

6. Post-Apocalyptic

If you’re into the post-apocalyptic vibe, some movies or shows to consider include Mad Max, The Last of Us, or The Walking Dead. For these, you could host viewing parties or play games centered around survival. You can also experiment with different drinks and names.

7. Favorite Authors

Similar to the Harry Potter or the Walking Dead series, you could host a theme centered around specific authors or novels. For example, you could throw a party centered around Stephen King. Everyone could dress as their favorite character and let the others guess who they are. 

8. Luau Party

If you have a tiki bar, like fruity drinks or Hawaiian culture, consider throwing a luau party. In this sense, a luau is a Hawaiian-inspired celebration. To recreate one at home, you could light some tiki torches or start a bonfire. You could also make or buy floral leis for your guests and serve piña coladas or pineapple mojitos. For entertainment, you could have a limbo or hula hoop contest. Or, if you have a pool, you can buy a net and play water volleyball

9. Glow Party

As it sounds, a glow party uses black lights or glow-in-the-dark supplies. You can install LED black light strips or decorate with light-activated materials. For example, black light tape, balloons, stickers, and/or tapestries. You can also buy special cups to play glow-in-the-dark pong and mix drinks that glow under black light. You can also pair them with a post-apocalyptic theme.


Hosting theme nights at your home bar can be a fun way to celebrate with friends and family. Whether you like dressing up or just hanging out, you don’t have to spend a lot of money to have a good time. Which bar theme night will you recreate?

Attending a party or an event? Check out this article for personalized gift ideas.


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