If you’re thinking about entertaining outdoors this summer, forget about throwing drinks and ice in a plastic chest. Outdoor entertaining is an upscale affair. Homeowners are no longer content to entertain on plastic — furniture, plates and cups. And that includes their coolers.
“Whatever you would do indoors, you would do outside,” says Noelle Smith, spokeswoman for Smith & Hawken. “Nowadays it’s very much about personal style.”
Whatever that style — elegant, Southwest or beach chic — there’s a cooler for you.
“It’s upscaling your entertainment,” says Mike Linda, manager of Outdoor Living in Mesa. “When you have a nice table and grill you want to have nice accessories.”
Tubs made of copper or stainless steel sitting in a wrought iron stand are an elegant choice that can be used in the dining room or out on the patio. They’ll also go with any style of decor, says Smith. A smaller version for the table allows guests to serve themselves while relaxing in their chairs.
While coolers are an essential part of outdoor entertaining, they also have a whimsical function. They reflect the host’s personality. A Corona cooler or a giant wine glass filled with ice sets the tone and says a lot about the homeowner.
“It’s not just good enough to serve someone a beer,” says Keith Kramer, president of Tres Amigos, a Tucson-based furniture store with two East Valley locations. “This is how they’re dressing up the party.”
A quick and cost-effective means of keeping your beer and soft drinks cold is to buy two or three tin pails ($6.77 to $12.99 at Home Depot) and fill them with ice.
If you’re in a financial pinch, try filling your washing machine with ice. Guests who are real friends won’t mind venturing into the laundry room for a beer (just remember not to run the machine until all the drinks are gone).
1030 E. Baseline Road Tempe (480) 831-6701 and 13802 N. Scottsdale Road, Suite 143 Scottsdale (480) 367-1414 or www.tresamigosworldimports.com
3426 E. Baseline Road Mesa (480) 222-3111
Smith & Hawken
Kierland Commons 7030 E. Greenway Parkway, Suite 190 Phoenix (480) 627-9911 or www.smithhawken.com.
(888) 263-9850 or www.frontgate.com