My F&W
quick save (...)

The Greatest Party Playlists

To find the most compelling music for holiday parties, audiophile Charlotte Druckman turned to the pros behind the best restaurant soundtracks.

Popping a few CDs into a sound system isn’t good enough for the best restaurants anymore. These days, playlists are expected to show as much creativity as menus. Restaurateur Stephen Starr personally approves the playlists at all his places, including Striped Bass in Philadelphia and Buddakan in New York City. A former club owner and music promoter, he has wide-ranging tastes that veer from punk (the Ramones) to folk (Joni Mitchell). Alain Ducasse even enlisted ambient composer Mathieu Leguern to write a score played at all six outposts of his Spoon restaurants. At B.R. Guest restaurant group, Todd Mallis has a music junkie’s dream job: He oversees the playlists at each of the group’s 16 venues, such as Fiamma Trattoria in Las Vegas. "Being music director is about creating an atmosphere," says Mallis. "You want songs to be familiar but not too recognizable," like the catchy music by French indie rock band Phoenix featured in Sofia Coppola’s movie Marie Antoinette. Chefs Thomas Keller and Daniel Boulud work with Audiostiles, a company that also counts the Four Seasons hotels as a client. "We’re like personal shoppers," says Jeremy Abrams, who worked at VH1 before he helped launch Audiostiles in 2004. Since most of Abrams’s customers favor mellow music that won’t distract diners from their food, he turns to jazz artists like Madeleine Peyroux. Here, three iPod pros share restaurant-inspired play­lists worth stealing for holiday parties at home.

International Lounge Music

TODD MALLIS, the music director for B.R. Guest restaurants, likes weaving different voices, eras and genres into his playlists. "Keep it moving," he says. "Never stick to just one tempo." At Level V, located underneath the restaurant Vento in Manhattan, he picks eclectic music that has enough kick to keep the energy up through the night.

Buy The Entire Playlist

Artist

Song

Download

Dusty Springfield Wishin' and Hopin' Dusty Springfield - 20th Century Masters - The Millennium Collection: The Best of Dusty Springfield - Wishin' and Hopin'
Les Nubians Makeda Les Nubians - Princesses Nubiennes - Makeda
Marcos Valle Crickets Sing for Anamaria Marcos Valle - Samba '68 - Crickets Sing for Anamaria
Andrew Bird Skin Is, My Andrew Bird - The Mysterious Production of Eggs - Skin Is, My
Gnarls Barkley Smiley Faces Gnarls Barkley - St. Elsewhere - Smiley Faces
Yo La Tengo The Race Is On Again Yo La Tengo - I Am Not Afraid of You and I Will Beat Your Ass - The Race Is On Again
Grand National Peanut Dreams Grand National - Kicking the National Habit - Peanut Dreams
Primitive Radio Gods Standing Outside a Broken Phone Booth with Money in My Hand Primitive Radio Gods - Rocket - Standing Outside a Broken Phone Booth With Money In My Hand
The Ditty Bops Gentle Sheep The Ditty Bops - The Ditty Bops - Gentle Sheep
Phoenix If I Ever Feel Better Phoenix - United - If I Ever Feel Better
Jem They Jem - They - Single - They

Rock Meets Folk

STEPHEN STARR, the restaurateur, swears by a mix of rock and folk—like the playlist below—for his own parties. "When I first opened restaurants, I played crazy stuff," he says. "But people didn’t want to hear vocals, so we had to change it." At Morimoto in Manhattan, for example, he sticks to upbeat global music.

Buy The Entire Playlist

Artist

Song

Download

The Knickerbockers Lies The Knickerbockers - Best of The Knickerbockers - Lies
Wolfmother Woman Wolfmother - Woman - Single - Woman
Paul Revere & the Raiders Kicks Paul Revere & The Raiders - Paul Revere & The Raiders: Greatest Hits - Kicks
Bob Dylan Forever Young Bob Dylan - Bob Dylan's Greatest Hits, Vol. 3 - Forever Young
The Killers Mr. Brightside The Killers - Hot Fuss - Mr. Brightside
The Hollies Bus Stop The Hollies - The Hollies' Greatest Hits - Bus Stop
Joni Mitchell River Joni Mitchell - Blue - River
T. Rex Jeepster T. Rex - Electric Warrior (Remastered) - Jeepster
Neil Young Southern Man Neil Young - Neil Young: Greatest Hits - Southern Man
The Ramones I Wanna Be Sedated The Ramones - Weird Tales of the Ramones - I Wanna Be Sedated

Mellow Jazz

JEREMY ABRAMS of Audiostiles combines jazz and bossa nova with a selection of covers of more-familiar songs at Bouchon in Las Vegas. Audiostiles also creates custom iPod playlists for individuals ($50 for an hour of music; 212-964-1232 or audiostiles.com).

Buy The Entire Playlist

Artist

Song

Download

Charlie Hunter Quartet More Than This Charlie Hunger Quartet - Songs from the Analog Playground - More Than This
Jamie Cullum Wind Cries Mary Jamie Cullum - Twentysomething - Wind Cries Mary
Bossacucanova Previsão Bossacucanova & Adriana Calcanhotto - Uma Batida Diferente - Previsão
Cesaria Evora Petit Pays (Château Flight Remix) Césaria Évora - Club Sodade - Petit Pays
Madeleine Peyroux Don't Wait Too Long Madeleine Peyroux - Don't Wait Too Long - Single - Don't Wait Too Long
Katie Melua Just Like Heaven Katie Melua - Piece By Piece - Just Like Heaven
Feist Inside and Out Feist - Let It Die - Inside and Out
Sergio Mendes Let Me (Remix from Timeless) Sergio Mendes - Timeless - Let Me
Paul Anka True Paul Anka - Rock Swings - True
Si Sé Mariposa en Havana Si*Se - More Shine - Mariposa en Havana
Bent & Billie Holiday Speak Low (Bent Remix) Bent & Billie Holiday - Verve Remixed 3 - Speak Low
Published December 2006
YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE

Comments

Add A Comment

    Add a Comment

    See our terms
    You must be logged in to comment. or
    advertisement
    The Dish
    Receive delicious recipes and smart wine advice 4x per week in this e-newsletter.
    The Wine List Weekly pairing plus best bottles to buy.
    F&W Daily One sensational dish served fresh every day.
    advertisement

    Tune in on Wednesdays at 10PM ET for Top Chef: Boston, the 12th season of Bravo's Emmy-Award winning, hit reality series.

    Already looking forward to next year (June 19-21, 2015)? Relive your favorite moments from the culinary world's most sensational weekend in the Rocky Mountains.