Decorating & Entertaining Ideas

The Essential Guide to Bar Carts

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A throwback to simple, sophisticated days past, bar carts bring a dash of Old Hollywood glamour to your place. Good looks aside, there’s no end to the number of roles this designer favorite can play in your home. Read on for all the reasons bar carts scored a spot on our list of essentials.

Photo: Courtesy of Sally Wheat Interiors

Photo: Courtesy of Sally Wheat Interiors

They stash away easily and are always ready to roll.

When you’re not using them, bar carts tuck effortlessly into small nooks—between couches, alongside your kitchen island, and in pantries (if you must)—but thanks to their mobility, they can follow the party wherever it migrates.

No matter your decor, there’s a bar cart to match.

Got a mod loft sprinkled with graphic prints? Consider a pop-arty Lucite design. Space stuffed with cool flea-market finds? Look for vintage brass. A devotee of all things midcentury? Go for a wood-and-glass design that would look at home in Don Draper’s office.

Photo: Jen Huang Photo

Photo: Jen Huang Photo

Both men and women love them.

Remember that time you tried to convince your husband that a pink pouf was exactly what your living room needed? Yeah, this won’t be like that. There’s something slightly masculine about even the most ornate carts, and the hubs will dig the fact that his bourbon is just an arm’s reach away.

Photo: Jessie Webster

Photo: Jessie Webster

They fit all your home-bar basics.

Here’s a little cheat sheet for a well-stocked cart:

Tools: jigger, shaker, strainer, bottle opener, corkscrew, and ice bucket and tongs.
Basic boozes: vodka, gin, rum, tequila, and whiskey.
Extra-credit boozes: vermouth, St-Germain, Campari, and orange liqueur.
Mixers: juices, sodas, tonic water, and bitters.
Serveware: highball and old-fashioned glasses, wineglasses, decanter, and wine bucket.

Photo by Lonny.com

Photo by Lonny.com

They make you feel like the hostess with the mostess…

…even if you’re not actually lifting a finger and guests are mixing all their own drinks.

Photo: Stoffer Photography

Photo: Stoffer Photography

Sure, they’re great at holding their liquor, but that’s not all they can do.

Consider using your cart as…

…a towel holder in your bathroom.
…a plant stand in your sunroom.
…a nightstand in your bedroom.
…extra, superstylish kitchen storage space.
…a mini media center with your TV on top.

Shop even more bar carts >

I have a bilevel oval brass bar cart that was my grandmother’s, which I adore. There’s nothing quite like being able to roll an entire mini bar up to where you’re sitting—especially if it’s in bed.

— Mary McDonald, designer
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