Within any week of the year, you’ll typically find at least some of my family gathered around the card table once, if not more! The occasion is typically impromptu and casual with a laid back, but delicious, menu to match so our full focus remains on the game. While the host, attendees, and menu all vary from game to game, I want to help you win at hosting card night, so I'm sharing how I host my own Winning Night of Cards gathering.
Playing cards is something we’ve enjoyed our entire lives and have found that in the past few years, we’ve picked up even more than we usually do – you can find us gathered around the table in some sort of tournament at least once a week most weeks!
Card night is usually very casually announced and easily put together, yet still can get pretty lively from the competitive nature of the gathering. I like to send out a quick text invite with a few, shall we say, inspiring words to set off the spirit of the competition... and to ensure everyone knows that I will win!
One of our go-to games is Gin or Gin Rummy. Since our attendees vary from week to week, we love it because it allows for as few as 2 to play or can expand up to allow for a tournament style to fit the whole family.
We keep a running scorebook to track the wins and losses, and I always love to capture any funny memories or the winners in my Celebrate Every Day Book to reflect on the progress over time.
The setup for our game varies by season. If the weather is nice, we tend to prefer the card table to be set outside. In the colder months, I like to create a cozier atmosphere inside and turn my living room into the game area with a round table set up for our game of gin.
Since it is a more casual gathering, I don’t usually plan on setting a formal dinner table, unless more family members join after the games and just for dinner, but rather I quickly arranging the card table to double as our dinner table. I’ll place the cards and scorebook on the sideboard and arrange a few placemats and silverware.
The Serving Spread
For the serving spread, I’ll set aside a few dishes next to the prepared meal on the kitchen counter for guests to help themselves and then dine at the card table, in between games of course.
I’ll arrange my bar to be a self-serve area and will ensure that all ingredients are stocked along with a few bottles of wine.
Card Night is one of my favorite gatherings to host because it’s laid back, casual, and usually has some helpful parameters for choosing what to serve, which makes finding something different and inspiring a little easier. Since the main purpose of the gathering is to play cards, the menu must contain mainly items to be prepared ahead of time as the cook won’t want to miss a play!
I’ll arrange some mixed nuts in a few small serving bowls on the card tables, so it doesn’t distract from our very important game. Something easily snackable while also holding cards is a must. If I want to stick to a tried-and-true recipe I know everyone loves, I'll make a simmering pot of Beef Bourguignon from Julia Child’s cookbook, Mastering the Art of French Cooking for dinner and pair it with buttered noodles, some additional accoutrements, and crusty bread, of course!
My go-to Winning Night of Cards Menu:
- Mixed nuts
- Main Course:
- Julia Child’s Beef Bourguignon
- Buttered noodles
- Sautéed mushrooms
- Sautéed pearl onions
- Crusty Bread
- Gourmet chocolate bars to enjoy after dinner, or later at home! Some of our favorites are a brand we love and carry in our stores, COCO Chocolatier.
- Wine spritzers with lime
- The makings for everyone’s go-to cocktails, so they can help themselves to their favorites
- Red wine to pair with the Beef Bourguignon, of course!
The DécorTo keep the theme of a casual and relaxing evening, I like to set out and light a few candles and arrange a few cuts from the yard in small-scale vases to make the evening feel inviting. When the cards are cleared and dinner is served, I relocate the candles and arrangements for a quick and easy centerpiece to ground the meal.
Gather the family for a little friendly game night and host your own Winning Night of Cards gathering. It’s the perfect way to gather the group for a casual yet exciting evening of playing cards and sharing a delicious meal together.