How to Throw a Hipster Theme Barbecue in 5 Easy Steps


[Editor’s note: It’s the last Friday of the summer, so your Flavorwire editors and writers are taking a much-needed break. We’ll return to our normal publishing schedule on Tuesday, but in the meantime, we’ll be revisiting some of our favorite content from the past few months. This post was originally published May 28, 2010.] With a long weekend around the corner, there’s a good chance you’re planning an epic BBQ. You know who else likes to grill meat and drink beer? Hipsters. While we in coastal cities are well-versed in hipster-barbecue culture, we worry that our older, suburban, and rural readers may not have had a chance to witness these remarkable rituals. That’s why we’re giving you the inside scoop on how to throw the trendiest theme party of the weekend. After the jump, learn how to throw a hipster barbecue worthy of Williamsburg and Portland in your very own verdant, landscaped backyard.

1. Meat

It used to be that hipsters were vegetarians or vegans or macrobiotic or followed other strange, eco-/animal-friendly diet. But these days, most agree that eating cow and pig is the best way to show you’re in touch with the real America. You know, farms and tractor pulls and such. Designer barbecue spots and boutique butcher shops are popping up in hipster meccas all over the country. And if you still insist on giving a shit about sustainability, “free-range” and “local” is the new meat-free.

Image: A locally sourced feast from Brooklyn’s Fette Sau via

2. Alcohol

There a lot of ways you can go with this one. Kitschy, ’50s-style tropical drinks are a popular choice. You can never go wrong with a bottle of bourbon, especially one from a distillery no one’s ever heard of. But for Memorial Day, you’re best off performing your faux-working-class patriotism with cans (not bottles!) of cheap American beer. Schlitz and Natty Boh and even Bud will work just fine, but Pabst Blue Ribbon, with its flag-colored bottle, is the obvious choice. Oh, and if you’re not ready to invest in your own grill, you can always build your own “hobo stove”… using empty PBR cans!

Image via

3. Music

Once again, you’ve got some options. If your local teenagers have long hair, wear neon-colored clothing, and are in a band that lists its influences as Animal Collective or Vampire Weekend on MySpace, you might try paying them $20 to serenade your guests. This will be insufferable, but you must commit to your theme. Because this is a barbecue, you may also find hip hop or classic country (Hank Williams, Johnny Cash, Patsy Cline) appropriate. When all else fails, make yourself a chillwave mixtape, full of bands like Washed Out, Blissed Out, and Neon Indian. Yes, they sound exactly like what you assume artists with these types of names would sound. If you don’t want to go to the trouble of compiling your own, this one will work just fine.

4. Attire

For your theme party to work, it is essential that you and your guests come in costume. Popular hipster summer gear includes rompers, cutoffs, and lots of shirtless, hairless male chest. It is acceptable for men to come dressed all in while, in a look made popular by Andrew W.K. Women may want to consider doing their best Pocahontas impression: Headdresses, fringe, feathers, and print. At the same time.

“War bonnet” image via neworleansmagpie on Etsy.

5. Decor

You might be thinking, neon lights and homemade dioramas and stylized graffiti. This is not the way to go. When they have a barbecue, hipsters like to impersonate… you. Or, rather, “ironically” crawl back into the womb of their idealized suburban youth. This means red-checked tablecloths, Citronella candles, and coolers full of icy beverages. You may even want to provide your designated grillmaster with a “World’s Greatest Dad” or “Kiss the Cook” apron.

Image via dragon762w on Flickr; Main image via nsfmc at Flickr.