One of the main focuses to hosting a party is what type of food to serve.
It can quickly becoming overwhelming. Especially when you start scrolling to Pinterest. Then all of a sudden your list has over 50 ideas when you were looking for 2.
The answer is simple (& more cost effective).
Or you can call them food stations, party bars, or build your own bars.
Why a food bar?
- They’re very easy to put together.
- Your guests can put together what they want to appease their tastes.
- They’re more budget friendly. Especially if you’re expecting a lot of people.
Add a DIY backdrop to your party bar & you’re done.
Below is the ultimate list of over 30 food & dessert bars. You can scroll through or click on one of the categories below to jump to the one you need.
Party Dessert Bars
Cotton Candy Bar
Treat your guests to a carnival favorite with a bar filled with different flavor cotton candy.
Candy bars are always a hit. Mix & match your favorite candies & candy bars on this table.
Be sure to have bags for your guests to put there candy goodies in.
Fill mini cups with plain cheesecake. Then have cheesecake related toppings on the bar.
Yogurt is one of those foods that goes with just about anything.
Set out different flavors of yogurt to go with the toppings.
Ice Cream Sundae Bar
Chocolate, vanilla, & strawberry ice cream are staples to making an ice cream sundae. Now allow your guests to add their own toppings.
Did you know that there are all kinds of different brownies? I didn’t in the beginning.
Treat your guests to classic brownies, cheesecake swirl brownies, blonde brownies, chocolate chip cookie brownie, & more with this bar.
You can even add a topping section for more yumminess.
Cupcakes big & small can fill this bar.
Cake Pops Bar
Cake pops are a fun (cleaner) way to eat cake. Fill your bar with a variety of flavors & designs of these delicious treats.
You simply can’t go wrong with donuts. Host a table filled with all variety of donuts.
Apple pie, cherry pie, tarts, meringues, the list is endless for this pie bar.
Serve mini pies mixed in with slices of regular sliced pies.
S’mores bars only require 4 things which may make this one of the easiest bars to make.
All you need is marshmallows, graham cracker, chocolate bars, & something to melt them all together.
Candy Apples Bar
Candy apples are fun & easy to make. Here are some ideas for toppings:
Complete your bar with a variety of cookies.
Did you know that you could add toppings to your popcorn? I don’t mean butter & salt.
Gummy bears, Reese’s Pieces, Skittles, & mini Kit-Kats are examples of some of your topping choices.
Trail Mix Bar
This trail mix bar is especially great for outdoor themed parties.
Food Party Bars
Fruit Salad Bar
Instead of making a fruit salad bowl where you have to put it all together, let your guests do it. They can decide what fruits they want & maybe even try some new ones.
Bagel bars are especially great if you’re hosting a breakfast party.
Instead of serving whole bagels, keep serving sizes smaller by cutting bagels in half.
Then step outside of the box with bagel toppings.
Besides cream cheese offer:
The list goes on.
Waffle bars are fun & super easy to put together.
You can either pre-make your waffles, buy frozen waffles, or leave out batter for guests to make their own.
You can even spice up the waffle bar by adding chicken to your toppings!
A pancake bar is ran similar to waffle bar above.
Don’t forget to add different flavor syrups!
Hey burrito! You make the fillings let them fill up the wrap.
Taco bars are just simply delicious.
Having a chili bar is sure to be a hit. Throw together a batch of chili & store it in a crockpot. Then place toppings around it. Besides the basic toppings like cheese think outside the box.
- Tortilla chips
- Hot dogs
Variety is the key to this salad bar. Different types of leafy greens, variety of fruits & veggies, mix of salad dressings, & don’t forget those quirky toppings like eggs & walnuts.
Hot Dog Bar
Not only can you make a hot dog bar where guests can add their own toppings but you can take it around the country too.
Put out sample menus of different style hot dogs for guests to try. Like Chicago style.
Nacho bars are truly perfect for when you’re hosting a sporting event party.
Offer a few different meat options along with toppings & you’re all set.
Potato bars are one of my favorites. Bake at least 1 potato for each guest & offer an array of toppings.
Mashed Potato Bar
The mashed potato Bar is similar to the potato Bar instead. Except with mashed potatoes instead of whole.
Some sample topping ideas are:
- BBQ sauce
- Hot sauce
Set your guests up with a burger bar stocked with different mini burgers. Think turkey burgers, beef burgers, bean burgers.
And unique toppings like Mac n’ cheese & onion rings.
Bruschetta is more of an appetizer but served with the right array of toppings & it’ll be the hit of your party.
Grilled Cheese Bar
Don’t be fooled by grilled cheese. It can be filled with a lot more than just plain American cheese.
Set up a bar with,
- Different kinds of cheese
- Different types of meat
- A few sauces
Then have 1 or 2 griddles set up so that guests can melt their sandwich together.
Whether it’s a breakfast party or a brunch party, you can’t go wrong with oatmeal.
Instead of have meat, cheese, & cracker trays, turn it into a bar. Set up different breads, condiments, & meat & let your guests have fun.
For our wedding we did a pasta bar instead of a formal meal. It was a hit!
Offer 2-3 pasta choices along with 2-3 meat choices & your guests will love you.
Party Drink Bars
Hot Chocolate Bar
I wish I could set up a hot chocolate bar every day of winter.
Make hot chocolate from scratch & serve it in a crockpot to keep warm or serve the hot chocolate packets.
Then you can set out,
- chocolate chips
- whipped cream
- white chips
Spice it up with candy cane stirrers.
Hot Apple Cider Bar
You may be wondering how you can make an entire bar out of hot apple cider.
With toppings of course!
- Orange slices
- Cinnamon sticks
- Whipped cream
A lemonade bar is one of the best things to have at an outdoor party. Especially in the summer.
Let your guests make their own lemonade. Set up regular lemonade & then a variety of fruit such as strawberries, peaches, blueberries, mangos, & mint.
Be sure to also have flavored syrups. I love the syrups by Torani.
Whether is a wedding reception, a bridal shower, or Super Bowl party. Coffee is always a winner.
Offer a variety of different juices & fruits to go along with your bubbly drink.
If you’re hosting a baby shower then you can have a “mom-osa” bar with non-alcoholic bubbly.
Party Bar Supplies
You simply can’t have a party bar without supplies. Here’s a list of all of the basic supplies you’ll need.
Depending on your theme & type of bar you may not need some of these items.
- Ice bucket
- Tongs (all sizes)
- Spoons (for serving & eating)
- Forks (for serving & eating)
- Drink dispenser
- Cups (insulated, champagne flutes, margarita glasses)
- Cupcake tower
- Serving platters (large, medium, & small)
- Warming plates
- Goodie bags
- Goodie boxes
- Goodie tins
- Bowls (for serving & eating)
- Table tents (for labeling food)
Tips For Party Bars
When it comes to have food bars there are some tips to make it easier for you to host.
- Don’t try to make everything yourself. It’s ok to have some store bought items.
- Keep portion sizes small
- Have your food at various heights instead of all 1 level.
- Don’t try to cram too many elements into 1 bar.
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