Set Up, Stock and Style a Bar Cart



Our love for bar carts goes beyond convenience. But let’s start there! Bar carts are your handy hosting companion, serving as home to all your basic bar must-haves—without taking up all the space of a permanent home bar. These carts can be moved from room to room along with your festivities, or tucked to the side when they aren’t needed.

While bar carts aren’t big in size, they can bring big style into your room. We love the retro-chic vibe a bar cart can automatically lend to your living room or dining area. However, bar carts are available in many styles to meet your unique tastes, from antique to modern, and can be styled to complement your existing home furnishings and accessories.

  • Bar cart – Start with the cart itself…or skip the cart and choose an alternative that provides the function and flair you desire, such as a rolling server or even an industrial trolley! In addition to selecting a basic piece that will complement your home décor, look for the features that will make entertaining easy. Do you foresee moving the cart along with your guests as you host parties in different areas of the house? Make sure the wheels are fit for the road (or hallway). Also, consider the items you plan to house on the cart and select a cart with the appropriate number of shelves to hold all your supplies and accessories.

  • Glassware - Speaking of supplies, glassware is a good place to start! Invest in glassware that matches the style of your bar cart. If you have an antique brass bar cart, shop for vintage glassware at flea markets or online. For a more modern look, select new and simple glassware. Include a set of glasses for the type of drinks you want to serve. Your basic lowball and highball glasses, wine glasses and cocktail/martini glasses will work for most drinks, and you can add in any specialty glasses of your choosing.
  • Tools – Try grouping your tools on a tray to keep your bar cart organized. Basic tools include an ice bucket and tongs; your mixing tools including a shaker, muddler, strainer and a jigger; as well as a bottle opener and corkscrew.
  • Liquor – Start with the basics: gin, rum, tequila, vodka and whiskey; and add in any of your other favorite spirits to personalize your selection. Since they are going to be on display, look for unique liquor bottles that match the feel of your cart and other accessories. Don’t forget to stock mixers: tonic water, juices and sodas.
  • Accessories and extras – Add interest and functionality to your bar cart by selecting extra items that fit your design theme. Cloth napkins and pretty coasters add sophistication and help prevent messes. Incorporate a cocktail book or two as both an accessory and a handy reference for mixing drinks.