Host a Great Gatsby Jazz Supper Club
Updated: Mar 19, 2022
The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald is not only an enduringly popular story, but a vivid representation of the Jazz Age, an era that embodied exuberant enjoyment of fun, and the shaking off of stuffy old rules and traditions. Also known as the Roaring Twenties, this is a period that many of us look back on with nostalgia, especially now that our current “twenties” aren’t starting off so well.
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So today let’s plan an epic, immersive Great Gatsby Jazz Supper Club, complete with Art Deco theming, 1920’s activities, themed food & drinks, and creative costuming!
If you’re not familiar with the term, a supper club is a vintage nightclub with live entertainment where the guests hang out and eat at small bistro tables while they enjoy the music. The vibe is kind of “underground cool” especially when you pair it with the Prohibition era, which we will do.
The Great Gatsby theme evokes images of a sparkly Art Deco space with gorgeous recessed lights, a black and gold color scheme, and beautifully dressed people drinking vintage cocktails and enjoying a fantastic live band. While most of us don’t live in or even have access to a stunning Art Deco ballroom, we can still create the feeling of this kind of space with a few carefully chosen items.
Start with your most formal space, because this is going to be a fancy shindig. The Gatsby aesthetic is dark, so the first thing you want to do is dim every light. Small table lamps are perfect, and candles are an option too, either tapers in tall candleholders or small votive candles. You can even hang sparkly string lights for a great dim yet fun atmosphere.
Remove things that are too modern, or cover them up with a black tablecloth. Bring out everything you have that’s black, white and gold. These will be your base pieces.
Then, as we always do when we start planning our immersive parties, look around your house for items you already have that have an Art Deco feel. You don’t need to build an entire jazz club in your house - you just need to SUGGEST it with a few iconic pieces. Look at Art Deco rooms online to get a feel for the lines of the furniture and the decorations, then see if you can find things that you might not even have realized were Deco, like a tall vase, or a rounded chair, or even a bar cart. Big poufy feathers work for a signature Art Deco look, as well as mirrors and vintage barware, especially martini glasses. Maybe you have an Art Deco themed poster around, or even some gold Mardi Gras beads or strings of fake pearls that you can artfully drape on your tables. And grab anything you have that has sparkles or crystals on it.
If gold servingware isn’t your thing, you can actually spray paint some thrift shop items like trays, cake plates or even bottles to add some sparkle to dinner displays. You can even paint some frames gold and use them to display photos of 1920’s movie stars or even Leonardo di Caprio and Carey Mulligan. Remember, even champagne bottles and martini glasses can become stunning displays.
If you have space to mimic a bistro setting, grab as many small folding tables or end tables as you can find, and set them up with mismatched chairs and black tablecloths. You’ll want both tables of two and tables of four, set close together so people at different tables can still talk to each other. With a few basic pieces you can build a gorgeous table setting -- Add white plates, gold chargers or a gold table runner, a black menu with an iconic Art Deco border, and feathers in a gold wine bottle on a mirror with votives and some gold star confetti, and your club is emerging before your eyes!
Now look around and see where you could use a few extra special items to really bring your theme to life. Don’t go crazy buying every Gatsby party decoration available on Amazon - just choose a couple of iconic items that will have a strong impact. You might choose to set up some black and gold Art Deco pillars (Oriental Trading for just $6 each) or some gold shimmery fabric draped on the walls or doorways, or even a potted palm for that 1920’s look. Sometimes you’ll see gold balloons or streamers in Gatsby party posts, but use these in moderation. Too many balloons will look like a birthday party and will take your guests out of the immersive feeling of the 20th century.
Another option you have is to turn your club into a secret speakeasy, an opulent room that’s hidden behind a nondescript door. You can set up some “back alley” decor on your front porch or just inside your door, like wooden crates, burlap, empty bottles and “go away” signs, then ask your guests to give a password to enter the real party.