by Marica Fick
The bar cart and drink cabinet is back and back in a big way. Never mind taking a “shelfie” for your Instagram feed – rather take a snap of your trendy perfectly-curated bar cart.
Strange as it may sound, the perfect bar cart is not all about the booze. In this recent revival the concept of a bar cart or drinks cabinet has become a far more decorative element than in decades past.
The original bar cart was actually nothing more than a dressed-up tea trolley – we can thank the Victorians for that novel idea.
The end of Prohibition in the 1930s ushered in a drinks revolution. Silver screen heavyweights like Cary Grant and Grace Kelly were often seen stylishly sipping an Old Fashioned next to a stocked bar cart. Hollywood glamour at its finest.
The bar cart reached the apex of its popularity in the 1950s, when hosting was an art and cocktail hour a daily occurrence observed by chic ladies and dapper gents.
Then, somewhere down the line, the idea of booze on display became a little tacky and passé. Bar carts were left empty to gather dust in the attic.
Today, the bar cart / drinks cabinet has seen an unexpected revival, some say in no small part thanks to the handsome Don Draper of Mad Men. Well, whatever the cause, the bar cart can serve as a lovely decorative focal point in your home.
source: the everygirl | styling: Alaina Kaczmarski
Here Are Our 10 Tips for Creating the Perfect Cocktail Station:
Find the Sweet Spot:
Not only is it functional, it can also be just the accent piece your entertaining space was missing. It tucks effortlessly into small nooks or awkward corners. Find a spot in your living space that can easily serve multiple areas when entertaining guests – somewhere between your lounge, dining, and outside braai / patio area.
Cart or Cabinet:
You can go either cart or cabinet. The benefit of a cart is that you can move it around as needed, whereas the cabinet is more streamline and can stow a lot more items and keep your glassware dust-free. Either way, you don’t have to fork out huge amounts of cash to find the perfect piece. Flea markets and second-hand shops are a good kick-off point. An old mid-century dresser or inherited cabinet can also be transformed into a decent drinks cabinet. If all else fails you can always “hack a cheapie”.
Divide and Conquer:
As with all display units or open shelves, keeping your bar cart organised is of utmost importance. Divide your cart into various sections – devote each section to a particular necessity, be that glassware, bottles, cocktail-making items or decorative elements.
Less is More:
In keeping with the tip above, it is essential not to overstock or clutter your cart. Keep only the most-used and prettiest liquor bottles on top, the rest can be stowed away until needed.
All That Glitter Is Glass:
Add an elegant sparkle to your bar cart with a collection of pretty wine glasses, cut crystal tumblers or rimmed champagne glasses. Once again, don’t overload your cart – a few of each type of glass will do. Want something eye-catching? Then forget about buying a matching set of everything, an eclectic yet coordinated blend of glassware is far more interesting!
Gadgets and Doodads:
Every bar cart worth its salt should contain some tools of the cocktail-making process. Bottle openers, coasters, cocktail shakers, bottle stoppers, jiggers, strainers, muddlers, drink stirrers, cocktail picks, and whiskey stones can all find a home on your cart. Beautiful and ornate cocktail tools in finishes like copper and gold can add a further decorative layer to your drinks cabinet.
Pretty It Up:
As I mentioned before, the bar cart is not just about booze anymore. Fresh flowers, decorative objects, candle sticks, framed art, pot plants, lighting – add a personal touch on and around your cart that will unify it with your chosen interior style.
Add Some Reading Material:
Break the monotony of your drink-centric bar cart with some lovely coffee table books or cocktail recipe books. Not only will it come in handy when you are searching for the perfect method for making a Moscow Mule, you can also leisurely page through your favourite publication while sipping your after-work drink.
Stock It Up:
The trick is to have a selection of basic liquors. No need to fill your bar cart with what you think you should have – rather carefully think about what you like to drink and what you most probably will be serving. You can always fill it out for special occasions like New Year’s celebrations or parties.
Vignette and a Tray:
Now that you have all the necessary functional and decorative items to create a good-looking drinks trolley it is time to style it. The best way to do this is to create a beautiful and balanced decorative arrangement or “vignette”. If you need some tips on creating a perfect vignette, see our post: here. Oh, and don’t forget to use the decorator’s organisational best friend – the tray.
source: Therese Winberg
source: vtwonen | photo: Rolinda Windhorst | styling: Leonie Mooren & Liza Wassenaar
source: BrittanyMakes (The Vintage Rug Shop)
source: Domino | photo: Michael Wiltbank | styling: Jessica Hendricks Yee
source: Tina Ramchandani