How to Serve Food at a Happy Hour. Some foods and drinks just seem to go together: nachos and margaritas, pizza and beer. It's easy to serve the perfect food at a happy hour party, or to surprise your guests with selections from the outer limits of your gustatory imagination. Pick a drink theme, a color theme or a sports theme and choose appetizers to match. Skip dessert and save room for another drink!
Decide on a budget. Based on the number of guests, decide how much you can afford per person. Calculate the food costs along with your drink budget, especially if the food and beverage will share a theme.
Decide on a service style. Will your guests be seated? If so, you have the option of serving them a substantial entrée, like a hearty cheeseburger or crab legs, which both go great with drinks. Will people be standing, drink in hand? Then finger food on a buffet or passed on a tray will do.
Consider recipes or purchased food items, such as deli platters or snack nuts. If serving an array of appetizers, vary your ingredients and textures. Balance food groups and complement your drink menu.
Choose from your list of possible recipes. Factor in budget, theme and eye appeal. Popular entrées are barbecued ribs and enchiladas. Popular finger foods include mini-quiches and Greek spanakopita.
Select dishware and eating and serving utensils based on what you will serve and how you will serve it.