Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Driveway Happy Hour - Stuttgart Style

Just about a year ago I was back in Philadelphia visiting my family when I got to go to my first Friday afternoon Driveway Happy Hour or DWHH. My brother-in-law (BIL) had the idea to have people over to their house on Friday afternoon for happy hour but they wanted to keep it super casual. They decided that, rather than being "formal" by having a barbecue or even just by having people "in" the house, they'd just keep everything in the driveway. This way people would feel that they could just "stop by" and that they needn't stay for long if they weren't able to. My BIL and sister would provide the space and guests would bring a snack or two to share along with a case of beer or a bottle of wine. The tradition's lived on for a few years now and it was a lot of fun and a great idea.

Well, about a week ago I found this invitation to a Friday afternoon driveway happy hour in our mailbox:

It'd be our first neighborhood event! Horay! One of the things that I miss about Barcelona was the sense of neighborhood that I was starting to really feel living in Poble Sec. I was really hoping to be able to integrate into the neighborhood here in Stuttgart but, so far, it's a very different animal as there hasn't been any opportunities to do so.

The happy-hour-slash-block-party was hosted by two families that live on a small, private street right near where we live.

From what I can tell, people from up to about a block away were invited along with their guests. Our group was our roommate, Diana, and me along with two friends that we invited. There were about 45 people all together.

Each household was asked to bring one to-be-shared dish along with whatever they'd be grilling for themselves. There were about five different types of salads, maybe four types of bread, and a few yummy desserts. The hosts also provided a cash (honor) bar with sodas, water, wine, beer, and champagne where you took what you wanted and filled out a small slip of paper listing what you took. At the end of the evening you'd add up the total and leave the money in a box. The purpose was to offset the cost of things like plates, cups, grilling supplies, the drinks themselves, and some other things. I thought that it was a very practical thing to do, which seems par for the course of how things work in Germany. :-)

We arrived at around 6:30pm and stayed until around 11:30pm. Up until that night, I wasn't really sure who all our neighbors were but now I know a lot of them. Just this morning, I waved hi to one of our new friends. It was nice to feel a part of the 'hood.

Oh, and a note to my BIL, don't worry, they haven't been able to unseat your DWHH...yet...

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