Expert Advice: How to Create Perfect Dinner Party Playlist

Charlie Reyes picks soundtracks for two hot Manhattan restaurants.

July 7, 2017 5:00 am
Here's How to Create the World's Best Dinner Party Playlist
(Michael Buckner/Getty Images for Dewars)

If you’ve ever spent an expensive night out at a top-notch restaurant, it’s usually the conversation at the table that grabs most of your undivided attention.

But there’s also the subtly of the restaurant’s musical soundtrack that a diner may not notice right away, but is equally important to the overall ambiance.

GQ caught up with Charlie Reyes, who picks the playlists for two of Manhattan’s hottest restaurants—Charlie Bird and Pasquale Jones—and RCL, in turn, has made his advice a bit more, shall we say, bite-sized:

It’s all about energy. “Music is very similar to food and drink—when someone asks you to create something for them you have to get a sense of what they are looking for and who they are. What energy are they trying to put into the space?” Reyes tells GQ.

Don’t turn a casual party into a casualty. “If it’s a casual setting, you might want to hear things that are nostalgia-heavy and not necessarily high energy,” advises Reyes.

Pick different tunes for different plates. “If (guests are) having dessert, you want the music to be something where they’re like, ‘Dude, let’s go do something, let’s go drink something, let’s go be somewhere.’”

Keep your go-to’s close. Two artists Reyes can always depend on to liven up a mood are Outkast (see: “Hey Ya“) and Michael Jackson (at Pasquale Jones, he tends to lean more toward MJ’s Off the Wall.)

Know your guests. While people are getting to your place, have the soundtrack be chill; for the following few hours, bring up the BPMs a bit, get people interested in dancing (Reyes suggests “anything by Prince“); and bring things down to a mellow mood when you want people to start leaving.

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