Looking for that “wow” factor when entertaining friends? You’ve found it with the best home accessory — a bar cart built for stirring, mixing, and storing all of your barware!
Walk into any Millenial’s home and a Gen Z’s brand new apartment and you’ll likely see a special corner reserved for their favorite libations. A bar cart keeps everything organized and basically encourages a good time as soon as guests walk through the door. And now, with more cart options than ever before at major retailers and online vintage shops, it’s easy to find one that will fit your style and budget. Whether you’re looking at large butler-style carts or small circular corner carts made for tight spaces, you’re bound to find something that works for your living and entertaining space.
Bar carts combine the beauty of uniquely labeled bottles with the functionality of a home bar, and are a great space saver if you don’t have a big area to put your go-to spirits. And unlike a pantry shelf, a classic bar cart should have wheels so you can roll it from place to place. This moveable feature is what first made the bar cart famous, along with movie appearances in the 1950’s and 60’s. Several films featured famous stars like Marilyn Monroe and Frank Sinatra enjoying fancy drinks from the convenience of a rolling cocktail cart. The ability to enjoy a nice beverage at any time looked glamorous and casual, but why are these carts so popular now?
Bar carts are a major piece of home design for a variety of reasons …
The recent revival of the bar cart is likely attributed to trending “Midcentury Modern” style along with mainstream shows like Mad Men, both of which helped bring this home accessory back into the spotlight. But you don’t have to own a velvet sofa or wear a tweed jacket to enjoy this parlor staple! Now there are dozens of bar cart options for everyone’s home decor style.
Here is a list of our personal favorites for 2022 …
THE GLAMOROUS BAR CART
Leave it to Pottery Barn to create a timeless bar cart that will instantly elevate any room in your home. The wide surface area on both the top and bottom shelf has plenty of space for a whole collection of beautiful bottles, or you can use one section to display other decor such as coffee table books, your favorite candle and (as their product photo shows) a bowl of lemons and limes. Good news! This glamorous bar cart still has wheels so you can move it around the room for easy entertaining.
THE RETRO BAR CART
This cart by Article makes us want to mix vodka with Orange Tang — it’s great for a colorful and sunny 70’s-inspired apartment. Plus, since it’s aluminum instead of wood, you don’t have to worry about cleaning up spills right away. The wheels add an extra style element that makes this the perfect cart for on-the-go fun, from the patio to the dining room (if a rainstorm comes), and then back out to the patio again. Make it extra vibey with a houseplant, or hang a groovy kitchen towel off the wooden handle.
THE ENTERTAINER’S BAR CART
This bar cart is so long it can even double as a console table in a living room, entryway, or wherever you want to show off your best barware. Leave it as a fancy display area or roll it to wherever the group is playing a game of charades. Everything from elegant glasses to a Champagne bucket will look good on this Sterling Silver cart. Top it with accessories like a low vase of flowers, framed photos, and nice coasters. You can also make it a major statement piece at the holidays with garland and ribbon for a festive decorative touch.
THE FARMHOUSE BAR CART
A galvanized bucket bar cart is more like a party wagon on wheels — and works perfectly for indoor and outdoor settings. Pottery Barn crushed the small details here, including a bottle opener on the front of the cart. It helps that the large beverage tub on the top can hold ice and a big assortment of wine and beer bottles. Plus, on the bottom shelf of the cart is a serving tray — perfect for storing everything from red wine to bowls of party snacks and easy-to-grab serveware.
THE STUDIO BAR CART
Most bar carts are heavy and block-like, but this round bar cart can maneuver around awkward and small spaces with ease. The brown and black finishes work with almost any type of furniture and decor, and it can even slide into a coat closet if you don’t want it taking up space most of the time.
THE STORAGE BAR CART
On the other side of the spectrum from the studio bar cart, is the storage bar cart, which can be used for more than just drink supplies. Hide seasonal glassware, ice buckets, and random liquors in the cupboard on the lower half of the cart. Supplies like shakers, drink stirrers, simple syrups, and shot glasses can sit on the side compartment. With so much room within the cart, you can reserve the top counter area for the bottles and bowl of limes that you really want to show off. This makes a great kitchen addition and can still be rolled wherever you want it to go when family and friends come over.
THE INDUSTRIAL BAR CART
If you live in a loft with exposed piping (or your basement is unfinished) — commit to the cool, raw-materials vibe with this industrial bar cart from Wayfair. Few bar cart options will blend in with wood, brick, and metal details like this cocktail area. Place bourbon bottles on the top part of the cart to warm up the look, and place all clear bottles on the bottom shelf for a cohesive, yet curated, corner.
THE WINE-LOVERS BAR CART
If you appreciate a good cocktail but wine is your favorite, then this bar cart from Wayfair is the best bar cart for you! It displays 14 wine bottles in a cool design, and can hold a whopping 18 wine glasses — perfect for the biggest holiday parties and drawn-out summer get-togethers. Between the bottles and the gold hardware, this bar cart is a statement piece. Just remember to keep top-rated canned wine on the shelf for good measure, and so you don’t have to mess with the bottle aesthetic below.
KEEP IT CLASSY WITH QUALITY ALCOHOL
As much as we love UV Blue … (kidding) it has no place on the bar cart. And if you’re doubling your bar area as decor, any alcohol you display should look relatively nice. Keep bottom-shelf alcohol and casual liqueurs such as Triple Sec, Bailey’s Irish Cream, and Kahlúa tucked away in a separate cabinet. Here are some of our favorite bottles that are just as fun to display as they are delicious to drink …
Four Roses Single Barrel bourbon will have your dark-spirit base covered. Bourbon is essential when stirring up an Old Fashioned or Manhattan, and is a smooth drinking experience on the rocks or when enjoyed straight compared to regular whiskey. The Botanist makes an incredible gin that can blend in with any assortment of classic-looking bottles. And since every bar has to have vodka, try Hangar 1 Straight. This California brand makes an easy-sipping vodka with a surprisingly stylish label, and plenty of rave reviews to back it up.
If quality liquor isn’t in your budget and if crafting is in your DNA, you can have fun making your bottles look even better than the expensive stuff with this fun DIY bottle-painting project! Or, you can stock up on a variety of decanters and pour your liquors into the pretty hammered bottles. Remember to hang labels off the neck so you don’t mix up the vodka and gin.
Whether you opt for a small bar cart or a large one that can entertain a crowd, you’ll be happy to have a place to put all of your favorite spirits and the bottles other people bring over. Cheers!
Erin Hooker is a writer with experience creating wine, food, and interior design content. She began contributing to Graham + Fisk’s blog in 2021.