Non-Cheesy Dinner Party Games for Adults

Avoid awkward silences, boring conversations, and small talk, and give your dinner party a facelift by preparing one of these five, dinner party games for adults. I promise it’ll have your guests more engaged, laughing harder, and bring out just the right level of competition without making you cringe.

Blind taste test with beer

1. Blind Taste Tests

What is it?

Blind taste tests are one of my go-to dinner party games for adults. They can settle (or start) debates and help you refine your palette. From Pinot Noir wine to coffee to California rolls, guests always enjoy it no matter what.

Why do it?

Firstly, taste tests are fun. They almost always teach you something new about a particular food or drink and reveal just how influenced we are by packaging and branding.

Prove to your wine-snob friends that expensive wine isn’t always better. Or, prove that gas station coffee is just as good if not better than the hipster coffee roastery in town that sells it for three times the price.

It’s fun to see people’s reactions, discover what people like, and make engaging conversation throughout the night. Plus, having your guests bring part of the dinner lightens your load puts you ahead of the game to host a stress-free dinner party.

How to play?

If you’re not sure how to host a blind taste test, read this post Chris and I wrote on The Unconventional Route, giving you easy steps to throwing a blind taste test at home with your friends. And check out this post on creative blind taste test ideas to help you decide on what product to taste.

Tip: If you’re in Cape Town, join one of our fun blind taste test events this summer!

Come dine with me dinner party game for adults

2. Come Dine With Me Dinners

This dinner party game for adults takes a bit of preparation and time commitment. However, it’s totally worth the planning if you and your friends like to cook.

What is it?

Come Dine With Me is a game based on the popular British food show, Come Dine With Me. On the show, a group of 4 couples (strangers), take turns dining at each others’ homes. At each dinner party, one of the four couples, hosts and cooks everyone dinner. Guests rate their experience from ambiance to food, and the marks are tallied up at the end of the four dinners to determine a winner.

In this case, you’d do it with a group of friends, not strangers, and throw in a bit of prize money.

Why do it?

Everyone likes a little bit of competition, and this is precisely that. Plus, you’ll have four dinners to look forward to by committing.

How to play?

  1. Pick your team. Round up three couples who like to host and cook and confirm they’re ready to commit to four dinner parties.
  2. Select the dates. Select four dates that work for everyone can make over the next month or two.
  3. Create a budget. Select a maximum budget for the dinners (for example, up to $150, including drinks), so people don’t go overboard with expensive ingredients.
  4. Find out about allergies and preferences. Make a list of everybody’s allergies and dietary requirements in a Google Doc. Be sure to include the calendar of events as well. Share with everyone in the group.
  5. Decide how much you want to wager. Decide on a fair dollar amount each couple has to contribute (say $20) and how you will be judged.
  6. Select the order. Randomly select which couple goes first using a picker like Wheel of Names.
  7. Have fun. Dinner party away!
Drawing from a Telestrations game
When the term “stuck on a deserted island” turns into something completely different.

3. Telestrations

What is it?

Telestrations is a simple dinner party game for adults that requires a tiny bit of prep and a lot of imagination.

Sure, you can use the actual board game Telestrations, but if you don’t have it, it’s not a problem and is almost better when you get to decide the topics. It’s a fun pre or post-dinner activity that unleashes peoples’ creativity, without being too serious.

Why do it?

Telestrations is a perfect dinner party game for adults to play if you’re short on time, yet still want to plan a little pre or post-dinner activity. It works well for groups that don’t know each other that well and reveals peoples’ creative abilities and ability to work under pressure.

How to play?

Before your guests arrive, prepare the notepads. Use scrap paper and create mini pads of paper with enough sheets of paper for every guest. For example, if you’re a group of eight, you should have eight pieces of paper in each notepad. In the top right-hand corner, number the pages 1 through 8. Staple the sheets together and set aside.

When you’re ready to play, give everyone a pad and a pen.

To start, everyone must write down one phrase or word that the others will have to draw and guess on page 1. Let’s use “Canadian winter” as our phrase, for example. After I’ve written the statement, I pass my pad of paper to my right. My neighbor then draws what he or she thinks what a Canadian winter looks like to them, and draw it on page 2. My neighbor’s neighbor then looks at this drawing on page 2 and describes what they see, in writing, on page 3. The game finishes once your stack has gone around the table, and you get it back in your hands.

Then, you get to share the evolution of your story with the group. Feel free to embarrass your friends showing off their childish drawings and wild guesses.

4. Table Topics

What is it?

Table Topics, if you haven’t already heard or played, is a great dinner party game for adults that provides thought-provoking questions and conversations. It can be an easy introduction and ice-breaker or a hilarious ending to a sloppy night.

Why do it?

It requires zero prep, it gets the table talking about cooler stuff, and it and doesn’t take all night.

How to play?

Buy Tellestrations online, set it on the table, and pick a card to start.

Take turns answering questions in the deck. It’s that simple!

dinner party games for adults - cocktail competition
In Medellin for one of our dinner parties, we prepared syrups, citrus, and alcohol for people to make their cocktails.

5. Cocktales

What is it?

Cocktales is a friendly cocktail competition game that you can play with your dinner party guests. In the competition, each guest prepares a cocktail that represents the host. For example, it could be a spicy cocktail that represents the hosts’ spicy personality. Everyone takes turns making one cocktail while the rest of the group sips on cocktails and rates the creations based on specific criteria. If you’re hosting and don’t want to be the center of attention, pick a theme such as “old-school cocktails” instead.

Why do it?

This dinner party game gets your guests’ creative juices flowing and allows people to feel comfortable early on in the night.

Tip: Be careful not to pour full-sized cocktails here (get couples to share, at least) otherwise, your dinner party will get a bit sloppy. I speak from experience.

How to play?

Let your guests know about the competition in advance. Decide whether or not you want to provide all the ingredients for people, or just the basics. I think providing the basics is more than enough and allows people to get more creative. I also recommend letting couples make one cocktail unless they’re keen to make one each.

Here are some essential bartender pantry items you could provide:

Prepare scorecards on scrap paper with space for people to write down comments about each category (presentation, story, and taste). Collect enough pens for everyone as well. Ask guests to rate their favorite cocktail from worst to best.

When your guests arrive, put numbers in a hat and let people choose the order they present. Give everyone a maximum of 5-7 minutes to prepare their cocktail and a couple of minutes to present them. After everyone has gone, go around the room and have people discuss each cocktail and name their favorite.

You can prepare a small prize for the winner (a nice ice-cube tray or bitters) or just let them revel in their glory.

Feeling Inspired?

Hopefully, you have some new ideas for activities to play with your friends at your next dinner party. I’d love to hear what your favorite dinner party games for adults are and how you make your dinner parties more memorable.

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