a bar cart with style

Welcome to All in the Detail... I am so glad you are here! 

I have been getting a lot of interest and requests asking me to do a post about Entertaining at Home and Setting up a Bar Cart. These carts seem to be a current fad (that actually has been around for years and years, I guess social drinking never really goes out of style... it just gets new interest every few years)

Just like when you’re designing a space in your home, a well styled bar cart begins with a plan. Trust me, it’s easier than you think. First, divide the cart into zones and then dedicate each zone to a specific task or essential, whether it’s the glassware, several bottles of your favorite spirits or the bartender’s collection of essential tools.

Believe it or not, color, pattern and texture can all come into play when styling a bar cart. Custom coasters and decorative swizzle sticks and straws will add style as well as function. Cloth cocktail napkins are a small added touch that can go a long way in raising the bar (no pun intended). Even researching and visiting small local distilleries can provide you with pretty packaging as well as equally delicious spirits.

Your bar cart can be the perfect display space. Use it to present some of your favorite glassware and dishes as well as the useful purpose of serving guests.

To create a chic stylish bar cart, choose a décor… if you like vintage, carry that theme throughout the tools, glassware and added decorations. It’s the place where you can stock your favorite mixers and showcase your vintage glasses and fancy plates at the same time.

Fresh flowers are a must to add beautiful aroma and color. Just that little added touch of a bloom or two will show your guests that you really care that they enjoy their experience at your bar.


The finishing touch to any bar is that something extra yet simple (above photo shows an oval portrait hung on the wall over the cart). It’s like the cherry to the bar cart cocktail.

Transform a flea market find into an unique focal point in your home. Take your time to scour flea markets and junkyards looking for that something special that offers your decor just the look you want. It can be tarnished beyond recognition and the handle can be broken but you can easily turn any cart into a treasure with a little elbow grease and a clear vision. After a couple rounds of TLC, you and your guests will be amazed that it can come back to looking like new.

The best part of dressing up a bar cart is adding all your favorite treasures, like unique bar tools, cocktail recipe books, glasses from various flea markets, and the prettiest of liquor bottles. I love the idea of having it set up so that it’s the first thing your guests see when they walk into your home. It immediately invites guests to enjoy themselves while they are there.

Another way to make your bar cart super stylish is to add personality to the wall behind it. Here a chalkboard painted wall adds a bit of humor to an otherwise traditional setup.


No bar is complete without the necessary tools and glassware. 
Here are some of the basics to have on hand:
Stocking the bar
  • Blender (Optional) 
  • Shaker (Image 3)
  • Jigger (Image 7)
  • Ice bucket (Image 2)
  • Strainer (Image 7)
  • Pitcher (Image 6)
  • Muddler (Image 7)
  • Decanter (Image 1)
  • Bottle opener (Image 7)
  • Corkscrew
  • Highball (Image 4)
  • Low ball (Image 4)
  • Champagne flute (Image 5)
  • White wine glasses (Image 9)
  • Red wine glasses (Image 9)
  • Cordial glasses (Optional)
  • Shot glasses (Optional)
  • Martini glasses (Image 8)
  • Pilsners or Mugs (Image 10)


Try both masculine and feminine details in a bar cart display especially in your drink choices… show off some personality and style.

blantons (1)

Always have a favorite bottle ready for any occasion.

fruit ice cubes

Consider taking your cocktails a step further by using fun shaped ice cubes or by freezing colorful fruit in your ice cube trays. It will make for a stunning display on your cart when serving.

Think about both color and quality when selecting spirits. In the photo above, a collection of all blue liquor bottles compliments the styled stack of books on the lower shelf. If your favorite spirits come in less attractive bottles, scour vintage stores for beautiful decanters.


Now that your bar is beautiful, it’s time to make it functional. I suggest mixing the practical with the unexpected. Have a selection of basic liquors: vodka, gin, bourbon or whiskey and vermouth. (Some of my personal favorites include: Hendrick’s Gin, Maker’s Mark whiskey, Ketel One vodka, Antica vermouth) 

Add a few bottles of liquor with different shapes for visual appeal.
Precious Vodka 6 IIHIH

Experiment with some new labels and tastes… you just never know what you might stumble across when you are being a little adventurous in your choices.

A stylish bar cart needs to be functional as well as beautiful, so be sure to add items in moderation. You will also need a little surface space to ‘work’ the mixology magic. Keep soda and tonic in multiples. Several of the same bottles will keep the bar looking welcoming and not overly cluttered. Part of the appeal of serving cocktails (as with food) is the visual, so keep your bar cart pretty rather than overburdened with bottles.


Think of all the rooms in your home that you could use to set up a bar for a party. Try dressing up the top surface of any piece of furniture (see the desk in the above photo) by creating a bar. 

Try rolling a chic metallic framed bar cart into the living room to serve dual purpose (end table and bar). It’s a great way to free up space while adding a pretty element to the room.


Can't spare space for a fully-stocked bar? When guests are about to arrive, quickly set-up your bar on a living room or entryway table.

Or use a glamorous retro cart as one part console table and one part cocktail tray.


Just don’t have the room to keep the bar sitting out Twenty Four/Seven?

Here’s a quick and easy way to set up a bar in minutes:
1. Place a tray on top of any table to hold the liquor bottles.
2. Line-up glasses beside the spirits.
3. Fill an ice bucket (or a bowl) with ice.
4. Fill a small bowl with lemon/lime wedges and another with olives.
5. Top-off the glamorous spread with a vase of fresh flowers, foliage or add just a task lighting lamp.

vuitton trunk.001

Now all you have to do is enjoy!
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