NEW YORK CITY — It’s too cold to leave the house, so convince your friends to come over with the lure of a special activity.
Despite the city’s reputation for cramped apartments that are not conducive to entertaining friends, there are services that can turn your home into a restaurant or even comedy club. Representatives from these services, that offer everything from art classes to a game show, say they have hosted events a variety of apartments, from tiny fourth floor walkups to massive TriBeCa lofts.
Here’s who can help you host your friends and enjoy your own apartment:
1. Hire a Chef for Dinner or Brunch
The website Kitchen Surfing — like the AirBnb and Uber of the catering world — connects you with chefs who will cater a dinner party from $50 per person. You generally get a three-course meal featuring cuisine of your choosing, from Thai to Italian to Southern BBQ, and you provide your own alcohol. The chef serves you and your friends, and then leaves the kitchen as clean as they found it.
For a higher-end home catering experience, Elisabeth Weinberg, who is a past winner of the Food Network’s "Chopped," can design and cook up a custom menu. Dinner party sizes vary from about six to 20 people.
“Our goal with these sit down dinners is to essentially bring NYC fine dining into people’s homes,” Weinberg wrote in an email.
Her company is called Miss Elisabeth’s Catering and dinners start at $80 per person, plus Weinberg’s hourly fee of $65. For parties of four or more a server is required for $40 an hour with a minimum of five hours.
“A lot of people who are having a party want something to spruce it up a bit,” said Schendlinger, whose fee for the evening ranges from $500 to $1,000. His sets can last from 20 minutes to 30 minutes depending upon what the host wants. He can also bring another comedian for a longer performance.
3. Spa Parties
Through her company Spa Party Sister, Marcella Lombardo does beauty treatment parties for kids and adults. The host chooses two types of services that will be on offer and the cost is based on what is chosen. For example, a party of eight women who each get a facial and a massage (both about 20 minutes long) will cost $100 per person.
“We come set up chairs, table, candles, décor,” Lombardo said.
She sticks to a two-hour party no matter how many people attend. The bigger the party, the more staff she brings so everyone gets their beauty treatments.
“Two hours is just enough time for them eat and socialize and get the treatments,” she said.
The company brings each participant an easel and a canvas. They also provide the paint, paintbrushes and coverage so that no unwanted paint is left in the apartment. The instructors also provide help to the painters. The parties cost $65 per person plus the travel cost of staff from the studio to the location.
“All our parties are really tailored to the person,” said Art Studio coordinator Cristy Brown. The host can choose between 50 different images for the group to paint that range from impressionist to abstract.
5. Cooking Classes in Your Own Home
A cooking class in your own home for up to 20 people might be pretty interesting, but a cooking class with a singing chef is something truly unique. Lawrence Rush from Cooking A Cappella will both sing and teach you how to cook.
The host can choose between cuisines such as Thai or French, or just dessert, according to the Cooking A Cappella website. Pricing varies, but for a party of six it costs between $500 and $600, according to Rush.
6. Have a Game Show Night
Let Noah Tarnow bring his projector, questions and sparkly quiz master jacket to you. The 38-year-old works full-time on his creation The Big Quiz Thing live game show and performs it at parties and venues throughout the tri-state area.
While many of his clients are big corporate events, he also does about a dozen small, private gatherings each year. The smallest event has been a bachelor party for about 20 guys in a tiny fourth floor apartment on the Upper West Side.
“Everyone was pretty much sitting on top of each other,” said Tarnow.
The quiz show, which involves grouping participants together in teams, lasts for about 90 minutes and can cost, depending upon group size, from upwards of $500.