In a recent piece in the New York Times, Tim Murphy writes that among the 30-something New Yorker set, hiring a bartender adds class to a party, no matter how small the apartment and its reading-corner-cum-bar.
In addition to polishing your act (no more keg and chips for you), hiring a bartender for an at-home party can have pragmatic purpose–relieving the host of having to deal with all of your guests’ beverage needs.
In every city, there are professional services that can provide you with bartender sources–the Times piece reports that for four to five hours of work, bartenders charge between $100 and $200. Or, you could do what we do: hire a relative, give him a quick bartending education (or refer him to any of the Bartending 101-like classes on line), and unless he tests out too many of his concoctions and forgets how to mix a cocktail, you should be all set. Party on.