To find the most compelling music for parties, audiophile Charlotte Druckman turned to the pros behind the best restaurant soundtracks—and suggests three winning cocktails to pair with the soundtrack.

Charlotte Druckman
October 17, 2011

Cocktail Party for 25

Musical selections by restaurateur Stephen Starr.

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).

Starr 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.Music:

The KnickerbockersLies The Knickerbockers - Best of The Knickerbockers - Lies
WolfmotherWoman Wolfmother - Wolfmother - Woman
Paul Revere & the RaidersKicks Paul Revere & The Raiders - Greatest Hits - Kicks
Bob DylanForever Young Bob Dylan - Dylan - Forever Young
The KillersMr. Brightside The Killers - Hot Fuss - Mr. Brightside
The HolliesBus Stop The Hollies - The Hollies' Greatest Hits - Bus Stop
Joni MitchellRiver Joni Mitchell - Blue - River
T. RexJeepster T. Rex - Electric Warrior - Jeepster
Neil YoungSouthern Man Neil Young - After the Goldrush - Southern Man
The RamonesI Wanna Be Sedated The Ramones - Weird Tales of the Ramones - I Wanna Be Sedated