Setting up a Bar Cart

A bar car it a simple answer to an entertaining dilemma.

Setting up a Bar Cart | A bar car it a simple answer to an entertaining dilemma. |
Need to get your guests out of the kitchen while you’re cooking?

Remember Gilmore Girls? Any time Lorelai and Rory would visit Richard and Emily, the first thing they would do is walk over to the bar cart in the living room and fix themselves a refreshment. No disappearing into the kitchen for a drink. Just a simple DIY set-up nearby allows the conversation to continue while everyone makes themselves comfortable.

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I thought this was so clever and honestly, I was a little envious of such a chic solution. Of course, in such a large house you wouldn’t want to have to walk to the kitchen every time you wanted a refill.

Then I started seeing Pinterest fill up with posts of people setting up their own in tiny little apartments. If you think about it, that makes a lot of sense, especially for one-butt kitchens.

So, how do you go about it?

Find a bar cart you like

There are quite a few very chic options on Amazon.

Here are some of my favorites.

Gold and glass Art Deco-style.

This glam bar cart makes me think of The Great Gatsby and Downton Abbey. Lovely, eye-catching additions to any home that are both functional and pretty.

Similar here and here.

Clean and functional

I love the lines on this cart and the stemware and bottle holders are great for on-hand storage.

I like that this cart has 4 separate shelves of varying height to accomodate both small and large bottles.

Industrial and Masculine

My husband does not like gold. Or mirrors. Or any of the decorating things that remind me of Versaille. This cart would make him so happy.

With coveted glassware and bottle storage, this bar cart is equal parts rustic and simple. With plenty of storage, if I were to ever get a cart for my husband’s Man Cave, this would be it.

Budget-friendly and natural-wooded

I really like the 3 shelves on this one. The wood and chrome look would blend easily with any home that has pine trim (like mine). It also comes in white-handled instead of chrome.

Silver chic

This one just oozes sophistication. It doesn’t look like it would take up much space. With 3 shelves, it would be great for storage of bar essentials.

Also, I love that the front half of the top shelf is open so cutting limes or garnishes will be easier!

This chic chrome and glass one is my mom’s favorite.

For some reason this one feels like it should be in a lounge on a space ship. Very sleek.

If you’re hoping to see a bar cart in person, you might have good luck at Pier One, World Market, Target, Crate and Barrel, Williams Sonoma, etc.

What to look for in a bar cart

  • Wheels. Different gatherings call for different things, so being able to relocate the cart at will is very important.
  • Storage capacity. I’ve mentioned before that I like multiple shelves, especially of varied height since not all bottles are the same height.
  • Space to work. I don’t know about you, but I like to spread out a bit when I’m fixing a drink.

That’s it really. Of course, you must like the style, but that was a given, wasn’t it?

Stock with bar basics

There are quite a few bar essential posts floating around Pinterest like this one and this one.

You can go all out with the “full bar” essentials, or just take inventory of what you usually drink.

Here’s the short list I would suggest.

  1. 2-3 liquors that you normally drink. (Think of your top 3 drinks you and your friends/family like and stock the stuff for them.)
  2. Mixers for your top 3 drinks (tonic water, coke, etc.).
  3. A jigger for measuring.
  4. A stirring implement.
  5. A mixing container.
  6. Ice bucket and scoop or tongs. Double-walled is better. See here or this one here is really nice.
  7. Bottle opener.
  8. If you like Moscow Mules (a favorite in my family), a muddler would be a good addition.

No need to go out and buy a whole bunch of fancy stuff. Just relocate what you would normally use to fix your drink to the bar cart. Right now my jigger is one of those mini red solo cups. So fancy.

If you do want a full kit so you don’t have to think about it, here are some good basics: here, here and here.

Alternatively, stock with non-alcoholic alternatives

Use your bar cart for tea, hot chocolate or coffee!

Add cups, hot water, a selection of tea or hot chocolate and you’re good to go.

If you’re having a non-alcoholic event, do virgin mimosas with different fruit juices and fresh fruits to add in as a garnish. (This was done at my sister’s bridal shower, it was a hit!)

Style as desired

Hang cute signs above where you store the bar cart, or add those wooden ones that stand up on their own.

Add a bud vase with flowers or a lovely candle.

Or don’t add anything and let a nice decanter speak for itself!

Whatever catches your fancy, as long as it makes you happy and brightens your environment.

Re-arrange as needed for each event

Utilize this new space and customize it for each event. For instance, if serving breakfast for a group, make a Bloody Mary or Mimosa bar.

Set up a signature cocktail in the evening, or just leave it as-is with your 3 favorite drink fixings.

Don’t feel tied to the “styled” version of your bar. It’s there for additional utility, not just to be pretty, after all!

Millie Copper (Homespun Oasis) is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking

Sierra Smith

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