Super Bowl XLVIII hits Feb. 2, 2014, and Los Angeles-area bars are catering to the camaraderie and competitiveness of football, making a play to pry fans off their Southland sofas and into the open arms and open tabs of their drinking and hollering establishments.
Sunday's Super Mellow Bowl will find the Denver Broncos and Seattle Seahawks — teams from our two pot-legal states — facing off for NFL glory at the MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, New Jersey at 6:30 p.m. ET / 3:30 p.m. PT.
If the home-couch advantage is looking more and more like the best bet, throw a memorable last-minute party the easy, SoCal way. Choosing to keep the game living-room local means you've guaranteed prime viewing real estate, reduced the chance of a logistical disaster and provided your roster of pals a place to sleep off the Velveeta hangover before driving.
Here's how it's done —
The Ultimate Easy Super Bowl Party
1. COFFEE FILTERS
Admittedly a strange place to start, but buy them anyway. The kind that look like this. Use as plates and bowls for snacks like cut veggies, grapes, chips, popcorn, etc. They're cheaper and better looking than piles of waxed dishware, and one package goes a long way. Congratulations, you've just cut down on waste, eased clean-up and reduced hands-in-the-pretzel-bowl flu spreading.
2. LUX RECIPES
Ro*Tel has its place in the Football Party Hall of Fame, but or a menu fit for a foodie (complete with beer pairings) will add fanfare to the classic chips and guacamole display. Have someone to impress? Try homemade soft pretzels. Too much trouble? Here are recipes for healthy fare, budget bites, team-specific treats, and meatballs made of Slim Jims. If you've got your eye on delivery, buy a feast of frozen pizzas instead. Cook quick and chop into appetizer-sized nibbles. Dessert? Butterscotch brownies (add pine nuts and rosemary).
3. THE DRINK
Tell the team to bring whatever alcohol they deem appropriate, but start the bar off with a case of water bottles, a case of beer, bag of ice, bottle of whiskey, two bottles of Coke, a sleeve of cups, a pack of napkins. It's a fair price to pay for getting to stay planted all day. And if you decide to make these wondrous boozy cubes for your guests, they may even let you do it again next year.
4. FOR YOU, 99 CENTS
Shop for premium food and liquor at your typical haunts, but be sure to hit the 99-cent playground of discount paper and plastic products. Buy a package of tea light candles and a few glass votives while you're there. Maybe a tablecloth. And a lighter that looks like a giant match. And some off-brand candy.
5. DRESS THE DEN
If banners and streamers fill your inner football fan with hideous rage, you probably haven't seen these. It's even easier than that to liven the living room with subtle sports decor. Tear NFL images from a sports magazine and tape around coasters, for example. Feeling crafty? Try this homage to cheerleader pom-poms with a team color DIY.
The monster television set that used to dominate attention now competes for focus with Super Bowl streaming gadgets and an ever-growing list of straightforward and niche apps to watch and track the game. Have suggestions on hand, and be prepared to not make eye-contact.
Throw a living room long-pass during halftime and whoever recovers the remote gets to choose between puppies, kittens or a shirtless Chili Pepper. Everyone else can debate the production value of this year's crop of commercials.
8. THE OTHER THING
What are your best Super Bowl party tips? Tell us in the comments.