"We were planning a party for 500 guests. Someone said we probably should get a permit. But we just invited all the guys at the local firehouse. No one bothered us about permits." —Steve Hindy, co-founder, Brooklyn Brewery, Brooklyn
A good guest list should break down into a Venn diagram of overlapping cells. Guests should know enough people to feel comfortable, but there should also be new faces, promising the potential of new friends, even hookups. Expect that list to change along the way, says Josiah Citrin, owner of Charcoal Venice, in Marina del Rey, California: "We plan for 40 guests but always end up with 80." Citrin has one ironclad rule: "Make sure you are OK with everybody who is coming. You don't want people who will ruin your space." That's debatable. A great party thrives on drama. A brave host invites his exes, a rival or two, even friends known to be at odds, and then waits to see what happens.