10/10/2013 04:23 pm ET | Updated Dec 01, 2013

Questlove's Tips for Throwing a Killer Dinner Party

Mickey Rapkin, photo by Mackenzie Stroh


The Roots drummer, Jimmy Fallon foil, and owner of Hybird restaurant never hosts without for-hire bartenders -- and the Golden Girls theme song:

Be Spontaneous
"I throw a lot of last-minute parties. Just ask permission from the people in your building."

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Ditch the Invites
"I'm in a tight-knit circle, so it's never a guest-list situation. I tell one person, then that person trickles the information down. Soon enough, 50 people are at my house."

Hire a Bartender
"I'm the absolute worst at drinks. When I do Mad Men parties, I hire pop-up bartenders via Craigslist. I say, 'Big on the Martinis and Old Fashioneds.' I'm naming drinks I've never had in my life, but I've heard people talk about them a bunch."

Load up on Ice
"It's one of the hardest things to acquire late at night. I had to shell out $400 just to find enough ice for my Oscars party."

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Skewer Everything
"Food on a stick is convenient and tasty. In Portland [OR], I saw macaroni and cheese served as a Popsicle. That's the awesomeness I'm trying to achieve."

Play Favorites
"One a.m. is the Drunk Hour. That's when you hit 'em in the gut with the hits, can't-lose stuff like Michael Jackson. But my newest trick is playing TV themes. Put 'The Golden Girls' on and the place goes ape."

The Golden Rule
"Women are the most important element at any party. If you get the women to dance, you can get anybody to dance."

The Playlist
"A dinner party playlist is one of the hardest to compile. I tend to go toward jazz." Three of his favorites: "My Baby Just Cares for Me" by Nina Simone, Van Morrison's "Moondance," and "Ain't That a Kick in the Head" by Dean Martin.

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