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Do I Need To Bring Alcohol To A House Party? Drinks Etiquette & The Best Drinks To Take To Parties

Saturday, 18th September, 2021

The Best Alcohol To Take To A House Party

The good old house party, you can’t beat them…Especially if it’s someone else’s house and you don’t need to worry about the mess!

But there’s one question which sparks a lot of debate, Do you need to bring alcohol to a house party? Should the host provide the drinks?

There’s not one right answer, and it varies between the types of party and age groups. I’ve been to many over the years, and I’ll break down each type of gathering you’re likely to encounter and what you should expect when it comes to alcohol.

Do I Need To Bring My Own Alcohol & Drinks To A Party?

In your younger (teenage years) it’s pretty much expected to bring drinks. However as you get into adulthood, it’s more common for the host to provide the drinks, and you can bring your own or to share if you wish.

Now for the detail…

Teenage House Party – Bring Your Own Alcohol/Drinks

If you’re young and going to a teenage party and you’ve been talking to your friends about drinking alcohol, you’ll not be the only ones. There’s two issues at hand. You need to be 18 to buy alcohol, and depending on what you drink and how rich you are, it can get expensive.

For these two reasons, you should bring alcohol to the party you’re going to. Don’t expect the host to have it, in your teenage years they’re merely providing you for a place to drink it (the party).

Depending on your friends and group, it might be the case where one person buys some alcohol to share and you split the costs. You’ll have to figure that out before the party begins.

If you don’t drink alcohol, take soft drinks, although they can usually (but not always) be provided by your host, depending on how hospitable he or she feels like being.

What Alcohol Should I Bring To A Teenage House Party?

You should stick with lighter drinks. That could be beer, cider or alcopops.

Forget hard alcohol such as vodka which come in large bottles. You’re not going to drink it all, and you’ll not want to leave it for your greedy mates.

College / Uni House Party – Bring Your Own Alcohol

Taking beer to a university house party

When you’re 18 – 23 you’ll be at College or University level. You can now legally buy alcohol, and can hopefully afford it. If you’re going to a house party, you should take alcohol.

Since it’s the days of Uni, the host should have a lot of alcohol and provide some, but you should always take your own as a courtesy.

What Alcohol Should You Take To A Uni House Party?

The choices here are endless, but they’re usually at the cheap end.

A full bottle of spirit such as vodka or gin could be taken along with a mixer, however this is usually at the cheaper end of the market. You’ll usually end up leaving it there unfinished, so don’t take a premium one.

Another good option is beer. It’s cheap, it can be more sociable to drink since it’s less alcohol per bottle, and you’ll probably not care if you have one or two cans/bottles that you leave for the host.

If you’re going to a Uni Student house party, take cheap drinks to consume that you’ll not care about leaving if it comes to it.

House Party For 20 – 30 Year Olds

Taking beer to a house party

The Uni days are behind you, everyone is in the world of work. Your friend invites you to their house party, should you bring alcohol?

The answer is the host should provide some alcohol. You’re fully grown adults now, grown ups. If you’re hosting a party, you should expect to provide refreshments, i.e. alcohol.

This however, is not always the case. Depending on your friendship group, some will still think they’re in their teenage years, and won’t provide any drinks.

However the host doesn’t have to cater for everyone. They may have a few of the popular ‘main’ drinks or just things they like. That’s usually drinks like beer and vodka, sometimes gin, whisky and rum depending on their tastes.

If you’re partial to a Midori, Disaronno or a specific type of whisky, or you fancy drinking cocktails all night, don’t expect this from the host (unless you know they’ll have those).

You can bear that in mind, and you’ll know the type of friends you have, so you may want to take your own drinks.

The host should provide drinks, but that’s not always the case. If you know your host, you’re likely to know how greedy or generous they are with alcohol.

What Drinks Should You Take To A 20-30 Year Old’s House Party?

As already stated, the host should provide some basic drinks. However it’s not always the case. You’ll know your host, so you’ll be able to judge the situation.

If you’re taking alcohol the obvious answer is beer. It’s cheap and it goes a long way. If you buy a pack of beer you’re not going to be bothered about leaving any for the host.

Taking a bottle of spirit can be tricky. You’re now older, so might enjoy the more premium spirits, and you’ll not want to leave them for your host.

You also know you’re not going to drink the entire bottle, and don’t want to look cheap by taking a half drunk bottle home with you.

With that said, if you take drinks it’s best to stick to bottles or cans you know you can drink – If you’re going the route of spirits it could be an already opened bottle, or smaller bottle.

30+ Years Old House Party aka The Grown Up Party – Taking Alcohol Optional (Depending On The Type Of Party)

Now you’re into the really grown up years, the over 30s. This will probably be a different type and style of party altogether. The music will be lower, if there’s any at all, and people will be looking to mingle more than an excuse to get drunk.

The vast majority of the time, the host will provide the alcohol. The host should be established, so spending money on a party isn’t an issue, and in fact it’s the opposite to the younger years – The host will want to ensure that everyone is well watered.

Hosting a party for over 30s is usually a matter of pride, a good host will want to ensure you have a good time.

This can even go above and beyond providing general drinks, and asking you beforehand what drinks you like, so they’ll have it there for you.

As a courtesy, you can take a bottle or your own drinks. This can be something small such as a pack of lager or a bottle of wine. This shows appreciation, even if you end up drinking all of the hosts drinks while leaving your bottle for them.

Strangely, if you don’t ask people to bring drinks, some will, once again as a matter of their own pride. If you’re over 30, you don’t want to be known as the only guy who didn’t bring a bottle.

What Alcohol Should You Bring?

For the 30+ party, you should bring little alcohol. This could be a 4 or 6 pack of beer or a bottle of wine. Bringing alcohol to a 30+ party is usually more about the respect than actually drinking it.

BYOB Party

BYOB - Taking wine to a house party

If you’ve been invited to a BYOB Party, the clue is in the wording, you should take alcohol.

What Does BYOB Mean? BYOB means Bring Your Own Bottle. This got it’s name from parties where people would be expected to bring a bottle of wine. It can however now be translated to bring your own drinks, as the host will not provide any. (and some now state it means Bring Your Own Booze).

If someone tells you to bring your own bottle or you’ve seen BYOB written on an invitation to a house party, you’ll have to take your own alcohol.

As already mentioned, originally this had a connection with wine. These days people use the expression to just mean bring whatever you’d like to drink, so take your own alcohol.

What Alcohol Should You Bring To A BYOB Party

You should bring whatever you usually drink, or something for the occasion (e.g. wine if it’s a wine and cheese night).

You’ll want to take only what you’re able to drink, as everyone else should be drinking their own drinks. This will usually be beer or cider, or wine.

You can of course share drinks with your friends, more on that later.

Since the host is so cheap not to provide any alcohol, you’ll probably feel like you don’t want to leave yours, and nor should you. If you want to you can, however it’s not a requirement.

Take alcohol for yourself to drink. Don’t feel bad if you’ve got some left over to take home, after all the host didn’t provide anyone with drinks.

Sharing Drinks At A House Party

A good idea could be to share drinks. That means getting together before the party, and deciding who is going to bring what drink to the party.

You could each bring a bottle of spirit, with some bringing packs of beer/cider, and some bringing wine.

If you’ve got friends who argue about money (who doesn’t!) then you can simply put a cap on the spend: Everyone spends £10 or £20 on drinks, and they’re all to share. If there’s a few of you, that will go a long way.

Should The Host Provide Alcohol For A House Party?

Should the host provide drinks at a house party

The host should always provide some alcohol for a house party for grown up adults. That doesn’t mean they should have a fully stocked bar, however some basic and general drinks should be provided.

This would be drinks such as a spirit such as vodka, beer and perhaps a few bottles of wine.

If you’re hosting a party you should expect it to cost a little money. These days spending £20 on beer can go a long way for a small gathering of friends.

The host should also provide mixers and any soft drinks or non-alcoholic drinks. Who hosts people at their home and doesn’t offer their guests a drink?!

The Best Drinks To Take To A House Party

Taking beer and cider to a house party

The best drinks to take to a house party are the drinks you enjoy drinking. You’re going to be drinking them, so you’ll want something nice to sip.

But as already mentioned throughout the article, you might be hesitant to take expensive drinks if that’s your taste, and you know you’re friends aren’t going to be buying them.

That’s why the best drinks to take are smaller and cheaper drinks. These can be beer, cider, wine, alcopops and pre-mix drinks. 

Conversely the worse drinks to take to a house party are expensive premium spirits, which you know won’t be empty by the time you leave.

The majority of the time you should drink your own drinks first, before drinking other people’s. Don’t be the guy that takes a cheap bottle or few cans, only to drink everybody else’s drinks.


And there you have it, the drinks etiquette for going to a house party. In a nutshell you should take some alcohol, depending on what kind of party it is.

The host should usually provide some, but don’t be surprised if they don’t, depending on the age group.

Take as much drink as you think you’ll drink, perhaps a little more. You can leave any leftovers if you wish, but depending on your own social circle you might want to take these home.

Michael Adams

About Michael

Michael Adams is the founder and editor of Michael 84, blogger from Newcastle, UK. Sharing men's fashion tips, style advice and lifestyle information for all guys.

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