When it comes to adding a touch of glamor and sophistication to your home, nothing beats a bar cart. Whether you’re hosting friends or just unwinding solo, a perfectly styled bar creates a chic focal point and makes whipping up a mixologist-grade cocktail no big thing. For those just getting started, we’re breaking down the bar cart basics, from what spirit essentials to load up on, to how to freshen your cart for company.


Copper and glass bar cart in front of distressed mirror.
Photo Courtesy of Brian Hart Hoffman

1. Consider What You Need in a Cart

When picking a bar cart, there’s a few things to consider, including your space and how you’ll be using your cart. If you’ll be totting your cart both indoors and out (i.e. poolside), you might want to opt for a cart with wheels, which will make a change of venue both smooth and seamless. Alternatively, if you’ll be docking your cart permanently indoors, you might want to splurge on a more substantial cart that could double as storage if needed.

2. Stock the Spirits

While a bar cart necessitates booze, assembling a full bar from scratch can be daunting. If you’re unsure where to begin, consider grabbing a few basics like gin, whiskey, tequila, and vodka. Add in a bottle of red (sweet) and white (dry) vermouth, and presto!, you have all the fixings for old school classics like martinis and Manhattans. For extra credit, select a few choice liqueurs to jazz up the scene (our vote goes to Campari!), some Angostura bitters for dashing, and a jar of Luxardo maraschino cherries.

Brass bar cart with matching candlesticks in front of floral wallpaper.

3. Personalize Your Cart

Just in case it wasn’t obvious, bar carts aren’t just for booze! To give your bar punch, try punctuating it with some decor. Candle sticks, ceramic vessels, ashtrays (they’re perfect for holding garnishes like olives or maraschinos come party time), and even small framed art all fair game. If you want to keep things more thematic, seek out some whimsical barware like a playfully-themed cocktail shaker or jigger.

4. Keep It Fresh

Whether you’re hosting a get-together or not, adding fresh fruit or flowers to your bar cart can catapult if from pretty-little-thing to hands-down showstopper. Keep a vase permanently stationed on your bar cart as a reminder to pick up a bouquet weekly, or keep a potted plant on the surface for a perennial source of green. If you’re not confident in your green thumb, you can also incorporate a bit of freshness with a bowl of lemons, limes, or other citrus. If you buy these items weekly, you might even consider making your bar cart their permanent home!

Rose gold bar cart in front of black and white graphic wallpaper and framed art.
Photo by Eric Piasecki/OTTO

5. Stand Back & Edit

As much as we love an over-the-top bar cart, keeping some negative space can be a good thing, too. In addition to keeping an area clear to actually assemble drinks, easing up on the clutter can encourage guests to self-serve. And on that note, a well-edited bar cart also makes cleaning up spills loads easier.

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January 28, 2017

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