Bar carts are fun to hunt down in vintage shops, antique malls and estate sales. They have seen a huge comeback in recent years and are even occasionally easy to find in stores such as Homegoods and Target! As I patiently await for chic home cocktail parties to become all the rage again, you can be sure that my tiny little bar on wheels is prepared for a small soirée at any moment!
There are certain elements that every mobile bar should have, and also a few rules to follow to keep them classy. Too many items will have it resembling a side table in a frat house, so you must be careful. Fun idea: If you’d prefer a non-alchohlic option, consider creating an incredibly trendy coffee bar with all the fixings instead!
First things first: Keep clutter to a minimum. Every entertaining piece you own does NOT need to have a place on the cart. It is typically intended for occasional entertaining, and too many objects create a disastrous domino effect when one small piece knocks over (I only speak from my unfortunate personal experience). This rule is especially a struggle for me because I LOVE my collection of vintage stemware! Only the most immediate items needed for two to four guests should be present. We enjoy bourbon and martinis, so I chose 2 martini glasses and 4 crystal rocks glasses. Mix and match for your needs. Some carts even have the option to hang stemware under the first shelf, giving you more space on top. Another important rule to note: the bar cart does NOT replace your liquor cabinet – it is supplementary. Crowding it’s shelves with dozens of liquor bottles is less than chic. See more in the following list of essentials!
Bar Cart Essentials
A crystal decanter or two, depending on the size of your cart | Check out this chic decanter HERE
Fresh Flowers – just a simple and bright arrangement
Cocktail recipe books – small ‘pocket guides’ work best
Martini or Champagne glasses (2-4) | Get my Martini Glasses
Rocks glasses (2-4)
A fun martini shaker | Get my Penguin Martini Shaker
Vintage tea towels in fun prints – such fun to find in antique shops!
Important: To maintain a classy look, store no more than 3-5 spirits/liqueurs on cart at a time. I keep mine seasonal. Place them on the bottom shelf to keep the top clutter free. While entertaining, have other necessary mixers/libations close at hand.
Do you have a unique bar cart or know a creative way of utilizing it? I want to hear your story! Tell me in the comments!
This is beautiful! Love it! I have been wanting to find an awesome bar cart lately. And don’t wait for chic home cocktail parties to come back into style, bring them back 😉
Thanks so much Jen!! I’ll be working on that! Haha! :-*
Gorgeous! Your blog is stunning 🙂 and so is your bar cart!
Caitlin, thank you so much for your kind words! You are the sweetest!
I found a bar cart at a eatate sale for $40.00 i couldn’t pass it up and im glad i didn’t . I will be working on displaying only my nice glasses and decanters soon
Ah bar cart love!!!! When I purchased my condo in Reynolds I had a heck of a time trying to figure out how to decorate. Decided mid-century modern would work well- but this was back in 2011 when bar carts were suddenly all the rage and everything I found was $400+ and I was a lowly law student!
I ended up finding one on Craigslist after months of searching for $60! I don’t think the girl who sold it even knew what she had on her hands!
Soon after, I found an old folded up print in one of my dad’s cocktail books with all the “classic cocktails” and had it framed to sit on the back of the top shelf; I’ve received many lovely glasses and various bar accessories from friends as gifts over the years- it’s one of my very favorite things about my home because it documents so many stories!
I love your inclusion of fresh flowers!! My only add-on would be some nice coasters- I like to have them handy! Anthro seems to always have gorgeous ones. Wonderful post!
Christy, I absolutely LOVE this!!! You are right – they used to be SO difficult to find! I have scored some really fantastic deals on good ‘ol craigslist. I will certainly add coasters, how could I forget?! And what an amazing sentimental piece to frame! Thank you so much for sharing your story!
OBSESSED!!! I just moved to a condo in San Fancisco with a small kitchen and your bar cart has inspired me to style my tiny kitchen wall with one as well!! Thank you for the beautiful photos and great idea!