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Best Background Music for Dinner Parties Amazing Playlist

Paola-Bassanese-authorHi! I’m Paola Bassanese, music lover and a contributor for itcher magazine. I’ve written dozens of articles for the music section of the mag, and here I’ve created a playlist highlighting the best background music for dinner parties (it is to die for, believe me). Every single song has been cherry picked to delight your guests.

Paola’s Ultimate Playlist

(1 playlist. 5 hours of music. Track list on the sidebar)


Good Dinner Music… “Help me Choose!”

Guess what: the best background music for dinner parties reflects the taste of both the host and the guests and having a dinner party wouldn’t be much fun without music. End of.

What’s more: a good host WILL find out in advance what their guests enjoy listening to beforehand, making sure an appropriate atmosphere is created for the night.

Have you Done your Homework?

For example, cool background music for a dinner party can vary from something relaxing like classical music or easy listening to some cheerful pop.

The thing is that when you sit down at a table with your friends you want to feel comfortable and get a chance to catch up with everybody. Music acts as a common thread: it can bring back memories of holidays together, or maybe of school days, or just allow you to discover new songs and artists together .

What matters most is that the music acts as the glue that helps your dinner party flow from the moment your guests arrive until their departure.


Matching Music and Moods

Is the right music one of the key components of a good dinner party? Yes, it is!

Ideally, background music should be like a good wine, matching each course and facilitating the conversation.

The right music mix can turn a dinner party into a memorable one.

Since I don’t really know which sort of party you’re hosting (I believe my playlist caters for most) it is good to have an overview of the different matching music styles and moods first.


Some of my friends prefer indie music, while others enjoy clubbing, so my “mix tape” would include a bit of everything.


For a sit-down meal, I would choose soothing music – Ibiza chill out classics can come in handy, for example Cafe’ del Mar Ibiza Chillout Mix or Pacha Ibiza Chillout Classics.


Some up-tempo music would be great: some guests may decide to spontaneously throw shapes in the living room! Latin music can work quite well – from salsa to Bossanova, depending on the mood.


You can experiment with Mexican, Spanish or Italian food and music, for example. You could recreate the electrifying atmosphere at London’s Notting Hill Carnival and cook some Caribbean dishes and play some reggae, soca and soul.

The advantage of this approach? You get to enjoy delicious food and then burn calories with some enthusiastic dancing later. As an added bonus, in true Carnival style, you can use paper plates and plastic cups so no washing up is needed!

For a barbecue, you can choose Brazilian music (Brazilians are famous for their churrasco aka barbecue) or Argentinian tango (Argentines know their beef!).

Hollywood glamour is quite a popular theme for a dinner party, especially during Oscars season. You get to dress up, sip cocktails, savour canapes (or whichever fancy cuisine is on offer) and listen to 50s music: you can choose, for example, from Frank Sinatra and the Rat Pack.

Maybe not a “party” per se, but if you are having a Chinese takeaway with friends and a few beers, why not play some Kylie and have a little dance around?


ALWAYS Choose the Best Music

If I were to throw a dinner party with my friends, I would choose songs that are recognisable and bring a smile to your face. For example, when I went to a Mexican restaurant in Soho, London (those in the know will have guessed which one), I was blown away by the music selection. The music created a buzzing yet relaxed atmosphere and blended 1970s David Bowie with 1980s Gary Numan and 1990s R’n’B.

This eclectic selection of music was a great conversation topic and got my friends and I talking about our own taste in music. That, combined with some amazing tuna tostadas, a little beer and a splash of tequila made for a great night out. So why not re-create the same atmosphere at home? (Mexican hats optional).

Pros and Cons of Ready-Made Compilations

When researching what music to select for a dinner party, I have been browsing through hundreds of online reviews. The main problem with off-the-shelf dinner party music compilations is that some tracks may be too loud or disruptive to hold a conversation.

The upside is that you can, say, put a ready-made compilation on shuffle and the player will mix the music for you. However, you may still dislike some of the choices in the album.

What to do? I’ve created a wonderful playlist seeking inspiration from various countries with music that will make you feel good.

And I’m sure it will : )


My Playlist Caters for All. It Really Does.

Our ultimate itcher dinner party playlist was created just for you to help you bring people together and have a nice, relaxed, enjoyable evening.

Our itcher playlist includes both chill out music and more up tempo music: the idea is to start the evening greeting your guests with music that will make them smile and feel welcome, then relax during the meal and, who knows, maybe even have a little dance after dinner.

Although the playlist does not include classical music, it does feature songs from 50 years’ worth of music history to cater to different types of taste.

Here’s how I Created it…

The playlist I have created for you should be able to get anyone from 15 to 65 agree on some of the music – mixing old classics with some more contemporary music.

I know that a “one size fits all” approach does not work when it comes to dinner parties.

The wait is almost over: I will soon reveal my ultimate playlist.

There is a method in my madness: to create my ultimate playlist, I had a mental image of bringing people together – anything from a family gathering to a group of friends catching up. The age range could be anything between 15 and 65 – with a few contemporary songs and some others looking back 3, 4, 5 decades.

The idea is to start the evening with some energetic, happy music to greet your guests, then have slightly more mellow music for your main meal so you can have a decent conversation, slow down a bit more for dessert (aka: “food coma phase”) and if your neighbours allow it, have a little boogie at the end.

A Quick Overview:

  • FOR GREETING: energetic, happy music
  • MAIN MEAL: more mellow music
  • DESSERT: we slow down a bit
  • TOWARDS THE END: boogie time!
The playlist is approximately 5 hours long – the middle section (3 hours) allows for a more relaxed sit down meal. The first and last sections are more energetic, ideal for a buffet-style dinner.

What Some Members of the itcher Team Chose… (Other Tracks Here besides What’s on the Playlist)

I asked the itcher team for their favourite dinner party music and this is what they came up with.

Here’s what they said:

JONNY: TaroAlt-J

TaroAlt-J. Unobtrusive enough not to interrupt conversation if its already flowing, but stimulating enough to spark it if its dying out. As well as being a beautiful song, it contains an instrument which I’ve never been sure of the name of which perhaps my enlightened guests could help me out with. Plus, it’s written about the two war photographers Robert Capa and Gerda Taro, who were lovers and were both killed doing what they loved – taking wartime photographs. Definite room for debate there. Plus, the video is beautiful, too.”
MICHAEL:The Way You Look tonight by Tony Bennett

“The Way You Look tonight by Tony Bennett. It’s one of my favourite songs of all time. It’s got a gentle pace, there’s no sudden thrash metal sections that might distract from that very important point you were going to make about Kerry Katona‘s constantly fluctuating weight, and it’s classy!”

ROXANNE: WhoDavid Byrne & St. Vincent

“Check out Who, David Byrne & St. Vincent” 

PATRI: MoonriverAudrey Hepburn

“Moonriver, Audrey Hepburn (most versions are amazing but NO VERSION tops Audrey’s enchanting [and stunning] little number. Unmissable track).”

KERRY: I Giorni by  Ludovico Einaudi

“If we’re talking classical, it’d have to be I Giorni by  Ludovico Einaudi. If we’re talking Friday night Chinese takeaway with friends then Thinking About You by Frank Ocean.”

VALERI: Saint-Germain-des-Prés Café

“I’ve chosen Saint-Germain-des-Prés Café because it is such a relaxing compilation.”

Thank you for playing guys!


In the Mood for Adding your Favourite Tracks?

Have I missed anything from this playlist?

What music would you like featured?

Please add your choices in the comments and we if we like them, we’ll add them to the playlist.**For a video playlist of the recommendations, please click here.

I am Paola Bassanese, and I love twitter – I think in slogans! I am a contributing author at itcher mag covering mainly quirky movies that I like and that I hope you′ll like too. [n-e-x-t] I have written a few books including The Foraging Home Cook, and also write about health and lifestyle for the Huffington Post. I consider myself to be a Londoner even though I was born in Italy. I love 80s music and foreign language films, but I also enjoy going to the opera and ballet.
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