Like Drinking Wine in Front of the Fireplace, But Better

Get ready for a fireside soirée to become your new favorite activity.

It’s that special time during summer when it’s warm enough to be on the beach in the evening, yet cool enough to make a roaring fire sound appealing. You probably sat around a smoky campfire when you were young—but this is different: there’s Champagne, soft music, and good food. Get ready for a fireside soirée to become your new favorite activity.

Fire away.
First, check with the local fire department or a lifeguard to make sure you’re allowed to have an open-air fire on the beach. If bonfires are legal but there are no fire pits to be found, choose a spot that is far away from any low-hanging tree branches, beach grass, or other vegetation. Place stones in a circle and build a teepee of driftwood in the center. Put bark, dry leaves, or crumpled newspaper underneath, then use a long-handled match to start the kindling.

Change your tune. 
Nothing complements the sweet sounds of a crackling fire like a beachy playlist. Connect your phone to a sleek, portable Bluetooth speaker like the Jambox, water-resistant Chant Sport, or BeoPlay A2. Then cue up a reggae-tinged Beachside Acoustics playlist. Just make sure the music doesn’t drown out the waves rolling in.

Sit Pretty. 
You’re going to want to sit and stay a while, so pull up a few large pieces of driftwood, lay down a couple of beach blankets, and set up some folding deck chairs. To illuminate the beach’s natural beauty while the fire builds, set a hurricane lamp or lantern on a folding card table, stake a few tiki torches in the sand, or flip your fog lights on in a pinch. The sunset provides an unforgettable backdrop, so snap a selfie before the daylight fades for the most flattering light.

Chill out.
Lukewarm six-packs have no place at your seaside soirée. What does belong: ice-cold Veuve Clicquot. Keeping your Champagne perfectly chilled not only makes the warm fire feel particularly inviting, it also keeps the bubbles intact. To bring it down to the right temperature, place the bottles in an ice-and-water bath in a cooler or tin pail up to the neck for half an hour before popping the cork. Then, pour it into 8-ounce jam jars, which have wide, flat bottoms that are likely to stay upright if you set them down on a piece of driftwood or the arm of your chair.

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