How to throw an epic Super Bowl party, according to the owner of a local cocktail bar and lounge

Get tips for food, drink, and conversation starters.

A corn dog at Trina's.
A corn dog at Trina's Starlite Lounge. –Pat Piaseki

When the New England Patriots are playing in the Super Bowl, “it brings great energy into the bar,” said Emma Hollander, owner of Trina’s Starlite Lounge, which has locations in Somerville and Amesbury.

That means you’ve also already got a lot of excitement working in your favor if you’re hosting a Super Bowl party this year, Hollander said.

The restaurateur offered the following five tips for hosting an epic Super Bowl Sunday party at your home.

Choose crowd favorites for foods

“I feel like anytime you hear football, you’re thinking wings,” Hollander said. “I would say wings and nachos are top on the list.”

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Also a fabulous idea, according to Hollander: a hot dog bar.

Trina’s, which is known for its hot dogs, uses Kayem dogs and cooks them on a griddle. Hollander said that, no matter what type of dog you use or how you choose to cook them, it’s important to offer fun toppings for your guests.

“Hot dogs are always a crowd-pleaser,” Hollander said. “We like to get fun and creative with our hot dogs.”

For example, the lounge’s “Starlite-style” dog has melted American cheese, a spicy aioli coleslaw, and French fries piled right on top.

For your hot dog bar, slaw, cheeses, avocado, bacon, and bacon bits are all fun choices, Hollander said. Make sure you offer a variety of sauces as well.

“We do a sriracha sauce, which is good,” she said.

Serve easy drinks

Trina’s customers also get a big kick out of its fun — and fun-named — cocktails. (Bonnie’s Milk Punch or Tokyo Drift, anyone?) But when it comes to hosting parties at home, it’s best to keep it simple, Hollander said. That’s why she recommended beer and wine for your Super Bowl party.

“You don’t have to worry about shaking cocktails or making drinks,” she said.

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If you do want to serve a cocktail,  Hollander pointed out that margaritas are easy.

“I’m a big margarita person, and it’s really easy to do different flavors of margaritas at home,” she said.

Store-bought limeade and pureed fruit are a great way to make margaritas quickly so you can focus your attention back on the game, Hollander said. Plus, you can make a large batch ahead of time and store it in the fridge.

“When I’m throwing parties, I’m looking for quick and easy,”she said. “If you want to juice your own limes, that’s great. Fresh juice is always good. We juice our own [at Trina’s Starlite Lounge]. But I think, in reality, if you’re having a bunch of people over, it’s just time-consuming.”

Puppies are always a good idea

If you want a great conversation starter, Hollander suggested putting the Puppy Bowl on TV before the big game. Animal Planet will air its 15th annual Puppy Bowl game on Sunday at 3 p.m. The show features adorable rescue pups frolicking on a small gridiron.

“I always work on Super Bowl Sunday, so that’s what we do at Starlite: We’ll put the Puppy Bowl on and then the Super Bowl on,” Hollander said. “People love it. Because who doesn’t love puppies?”

Make a playlist

While you of course won’t be listening to music during the game, Hollander said it’s a great idea to play some tunes before kickoff.

“For me, music is a huge aspect at parties,” she said. “Before the Super Bowl happens, have a good playlist.”

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Hollander said she likes to create “a good, fun playlist that’s kind of eclectic and that doesn’t focus on one genre.” Choose songs from several decades so it’s pleasing to all ages, she said. One other recommendation she had: Take a cue from Trina’s Starlite Lounge and include Queen’s “We Are the Champions” if it looks like the Patriots are going to win the game.

Remind your guests not to drive

If folks are planning to drink alcohol, it’s so important for them to drink responsibly, Hollander said.

“This city is so accessible with Ubers that it doesn’t make sense for anybody to ever drive,” she said. “Nobody on Super Bowl Sunday should be driving anywhere.”