10 Best Pandora Stations for Your Cocktail Hour

The perfect playlist for your cocktail hour begins here. Let’s look at 10 scenarios, each with a different vibe, and dial up the ideal ambiance. At the end, I’ll give you my number one tip for making sure your playlist doesn’t go off the rails and force you to explain yourself!

  1. In attendance at your “black tie” formal will be your most important friends, family, and colleagues, all dressed to the nines. The timeless classy playlist for American songbook and jazz standards is the “Frank Sinatra Radio” channel. Expect to hear original artists doing classic renditions, as well as some remakes by contemporary artists like Nora Jones, Michael BublĂ©, and Harry Connick, Jr.
  2. Cozy, elegant, and modern decor envelops your 30-something, fashion-forward crowd at your city’s upscale hotel. You insist the vibe be upbeat and classy, with some vocals so that it’s not completely disconnected from your guests, but few enough vocals so there’s plenty of room in the music for conversation. Tune in “Miguel Migs Radio” for deep house tracks that give a swanky Buddha bar feel.
  3. We’re dancing tonight, and you’re absolutely going to establish that in cocktail hour. You’re thinking about some medium tempo dance tunes that are recognizable, but nothing your DJ is going to play during your peak hour dance set. For guaranteed tunes that make it impossible to resist bobbing your head and mouthing the chorus, enter “The Movement (90s Dance)” channel. Expect to hear Robin S, Ace of Base, and Technotronic.
  4. For the 20-something guest list with sophisticated taste in music, traditional flavors of jazz might be too clichĂ©. Treat them to the electronic nu-jazz sounds of Paris on the “Hotel Costes Radio” channel. You will experience a curated mix of European-influenced smooth rhythms, funky electronic grooves, and smooth vocals perfect for sitting behind intellectual conversation.
  5. You prefer to keep cocktail hour very chill with a smooth sexy vibe favoring deep conversation over small talk. The electronic sounds of artists like The Sneaker Pimps, The Chemical Brothers, and Morcheeba are perfect for your friends. “Portishead Radio” is your solution.
  6. You want your soundtrack to be modern and current. You’re looking for recognizable electronic hits, but without the club bangers your DJ will play during the upcoming dance sets. The “Today’s Dance” station has you covered. You will hear bouncy melodic EDM tracks by artists like Kygo, Duke Dumont, and Seven Lions.
  7. Ideal for late summer afternoon wine tastings and seating music for outdoor ceremonies, the acoustic sing-a-longs on “Coffee House Covers Radio” are our go-to station for remix and remake artists like The Piano Guys and Pentatonix.
  8. Your guests are expecting R&B hits from the 90’s and 2000’s. They will want a mix of recognizable hits and excellent B-sides from artists like Maxwell, Aaliyah, and Alicia Keys. Classy, soulful, and nostalgic is the vibe in your room with this playlist.
  9. Lite rock from the 70’s & 80’s is what you’ll get with “Yacht Rock” as your play list. The smooth sounds of The Doobie Brothers, Kenny Loggins, and Hall & Oates provides a reminiscent mellow island getaway for your cocktail hour background.
  10. If your cocktail hour is just for the kids, you can’t go wrong with “Today’s Hits” as your playlist. You’ll get artists like Maroon 5, Bruno Mars, and Cardi B. Just make sure the “explicit lyrics” filter is set! (see how below)

As promised, the number one tip for a successful cocktail hour using Pandora playlists is turning off explicit lyrics! Before I show you where that setting is, you should know that this setting is account-wide, and will apply to all stations on all devices using your account. It will only filter explicit words. It will not filter adult themes or situations.

Ok, so for mobile devices, touch the menu icon and go to -> Settings -> Account. Turn off the “Allow Explicit Content” button. You will need to hit “Save” and enter your account password to store that change.

For laptops or desktop computers, click the avatar in the top corner. Select Settings -> Content Settings and toggle the “Explicit Content” setting to the “off” position, which will be gray. If the switch is green, then explicit lyrics are allowed. Click “Save Changes” and enter your password to lock in that setting.


For personalized playlists or suggestions for your specific background music scenario, contact our event specialists at!

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