A New York City-Inspired Gathering

Grown-Up Game Night


The Backstory

Blame it on Bemelmans Bar, or the timelessness of the city skyline, but something about New York makes us feel especially nostalgic. A particularly unforgettable evening and stumbling upon some Deco-era boardgames inspired us to put together a grown-up game night that recalled the ‘adult parties’ from when we were kids. Nothing gets the night going quite like a little friendly competition. Add a special cocktail and a few classic bar snacks to the mix, and you’ll have plenty of the thing that never goes out of style: fun.

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The Food

Manhattanite Bites

A little bit retro, a little bit modern, hearty, elevated bar snacks are the perfect game night fuel. We loved indulging a bit of that NYC delivery/takeout culture and brought in RedFarm dumplings, Russ & Daughters blinis and Arethusa cheeses. These Bemelmans-inspired Mini New York Reubens were an especially big hit.

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Mini New York Reubens


  • 8 slices of rye bread
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 1 cup well-drained, fresh-style sauerkraut
  • 4 ounces thinly sliced Gruyère or Swiss cheese
  • 1 pound thinly sliced corned beef

Bring a large cast iron skillet or large pan to medium heat. In stacks of four, slice rye bread into quarters. Cut the cheese slices into quarters. Begin assembling sliders by laying half of the slices in rows on a baking sheet. Add a piece of cheese to each slice on the baking sheet. Then layer a few slices of corned beef on each. Spoon a tablespoon of sauerkraut on each slider. Top each slider with the remaining slices of bread. Butter both sides of the sliders and add to the skillet in batches, flipping each gently until each slider is golden brown and the cheese has melted, about 3 minutes on each side. Serve immediately with a side of Dijon mustard.


The Drink

The Art of the Champagne Mojito

We can’t pretend to imitate Luis or any of the other veteran mix masters at Bemelmans Bar, but thanks to this delicious recipe, we can attempt to bring some of their magic home. This pretty, refreshing cocktail also pairs well with old standards like a dirty martini.

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The Old Cuban


  • 2 oz Bacardi 8
  • 2 oz Lime Juice
  • 1.5 oz Simple Syrup
  • 2 Dashes of Angostura Bitters
  • 6 Fresh Mint Leaves
  • 1 Fresh Mint Spring
  • 1 Splash of Canard Duchene Champagne

In a mixing glass, muddle the mint leaves over the simple syrup and lime juice. Then add the Bacardi 8 followed by the Angostura Bitters. Shake on ice vigorously and strain into a chilled martini glass. Top with Canard Duchene and add a mint spring as a garnish.

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The Setting

Chrysler Building Classic Meets Glitzy Glamour

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One Decor Detail…

Tall clusters of white pillar candles and low groupings of white florals in boxy vases make for a striking contrast against bolder gold, black and red touches.


The Activity

“Play for fun”

We tracked down a few classic board games and set them up around the room along with some printed rules (we’d never played Parcheesi before!). Backgammon, Snakes & Ladders and the always competitive Chinese Checkers are a few other fun throwbacks.

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The Tunes

“Happy-making jazz standards and Manhattan music”


Take Five, Dave Brubeck
Love Is Here To Stay, Ella Fitzgerald & Louis Armstrong
Manhattan, Beegie Adair
That Old Black Magic, Tony Bennett & Dave Brubeck
Take the “A” Train, Duke Ellington
Let’s Call the Whole Thing Off, Ella Fitzgerald & Louis Armstrong
Freddie Freeloader, Miles Davis
You Make Me Feel So Young, Frank Sinatra
Autumn In New York, Ella Fitzgerald & Louis Armstrong
Something’s Gotta Give, Sammy Davis Jr.
The Brooklyn Bridge, Frank Sinatra
Drop Me Off In Harlem, Ella Fitzgerald
Almost Like Being In Love, Nat King Cole
Upper Madison Avenue Blues, Bobby Short

May We Suggest…

Looking for more New York City stories? See the full Gather collection.

Contributing Photography: Andrew Baxt (Back East Media)

© Gather’s Party Themes: A New York City-inspired Game Night.