A Pocket Guide to the Best Bar Carts, Plus How to Set up the Perfect One

2 bar carts on a designed background
Images Courtesy of Wayfair
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Whether you’re an established bartender or a budding at-home mixologist who likes whipping up cocktails, a bar cart is an absolute must.

Not only does a bar cart allow you to organize your spirits, glassware, barware and anything else you may need, but the right one makes for beautiful decor in your home as well.

Here, industry experts break down the best bar carts on the market, plus a few tips and tricks on how to stock your bar cart.

The Best Bar Carts

1. Colette Marble Bar Cart

“In college, I kept my bottles (both empty and full) lined atop the kitchen cabinets as if it were a rendition of boozy chic. Though part of me enjoyed climbing the counter for a sip, it wasn’t exactly a cute look. Now, I prefer something more refined and functional. I love the sleek design of this gold and marble bar cart from Urban Outfitters. Plus, the decorative wine glass rack and removable wheels make for easy hosting in small spaces.” —Sam Sette, Digital Web Producer

$499 Urban Outfitters

2. Beaminster Octagon Bar Cart

“I love this vintage-inspired bar cart by Everly Quinn. Its mirrored shelves add some Great Gatsby class, while the rose gold adds a touch of fun.  It’s the perfect addition to a city apartment, or to add a beautiful accent to your dining area.”  —Sherrill Flaum, Advertising Director

$370 Wayfair

3. Feliz Rattan Bar Cart

“If you have a lot of hanging plants, some cozy oatmeal cushions on rattan or bamboo chairs and a bunch of macrame wall art, then you may just be cottagecore to the bone. And while that sounds a lot like something Henry Rollins and Ian MacKaye might do on weekends at the lake house in between planting tulip bulbs with Martha Stewart and Snoop Dogg, we assure you it is a real legitimate home décor trend. If that’s your style, you need this bar cart to properly house your rum and exotic bitters collection alongside the homemade botanical extracts you keep in apothecary bottles.” —John Capone, Managing Editor, Print 

$599 CB2

4. Gold Leaf Metal and Glass Rolling Bar

“We just bought a bar cart from Home Depot last year, and we really like it. This gold finished cart is sleek and simple, classy and modern. The design is streamlined, but the gold palette is a touch of Gilded Age indulgence meets Midcentury Modern in simplicity and subtlety. The two glass shelves offer more space for creative display than it may first appear, with abundant real estate for bottles, an ice bucket and a display tray with retro glassware (perhaps some coupes with gold leaf accents?).” —Amy Beth Wright, Freelance Drinks Writer

$159 Home Depot

5. Mid-Century Bar Cart

No matter where the party takes you, this bar cart can follow. With two spacious shelves, you’ll have ample room to store everything you need. Not to mention, its minimalistic build with tasteful gold accents will make the perfect addition to any room.

“It’s got that Herman Miller/Eero vibe I haven’t been able to get enough of since I stayed at the TWA Hotel.” —Laura Feinstein, Freelance Drinks Writer

$399 West Elm

6. Wayfair Bar Cart

“I’m all about simplicity and functionality, which is why this bar cart is ideal for me. It’s perfectly sized for my NYC-apartment while still being spacious enough to hold all my bottles, bartender tools and even a plant or two. Not to mention, the sleek, reflective shelves add an extra level of glamor.”  –Kristen Richard, Digital Editor

$170 Wayfair

7. Alsace Aged Bronze and Travertine Bar Cart

Yes, your personal collection of wine and spirits is worthy of a grand entrance. This chariot-style bar cart from Wine Enthusiast boasts stone dating to Ancient Rome and a bold bronze finish that is sure to make a statement in any living or entertaining space.

$495 Wine Enthusiast

FAQs

How to Set up a Bar Cart

Now that you have the perfect bar cart, it’s time to stock your home bar. Thankfully, you don’t need to spend a fortune as a few basics are all you need to get started.

Liquor

Consider the types of drinks you like, and start with the basic ingredients found in a wide range of cocktails. So, look for good bourbon, gin and vodka. You’ll also want some best bottles that aren’t base spirits to round out your drink, like an amaro and a bitter like Campari. For a sober bar, purchase non-alcoholic spirits like Lyre’s, Seedlip and Three Spirit.

Tools

Depending on how you plan to use your cart, you may need more or less tools. But, a great start is stocking up on the necessities.

Start with a jigger. It may seem like a simple tool, but don’t overlook it as it allows for consistent measurements, which is key to a good cocktail. Next, the all-important shaker. Choose between the two-piece Boston, tin-on-tin, Parisienne or three-piece cobbler cocktail shakers. To help you find the perfect option, check out our best cocktail shakers.

For drinks that aren’t shaken, you’ll also need a mixing glass and bar spoon at the ready. Of course, you can always opt for the standard pint glass to mix up some drinks. Finally, be sure to pick up a strainer for smooth drinks.

Glassware

If buying additional glassware isn’t in your budget, you can always use what you already have. However, stocking your cart with martini, lowball and highball glasses is worth the investment as they can be used for a wide array of drinks.

Mixers

Start with the tried-and-true Angostura bitters. It’s also a good idea to have simple syrup, tonic and citrus options like lemon and limes (of course, some of these will need to be refrigerated) on hand.

How to Style a Bar Cart

Now, it’s time to make your bar cart really pop. Much like drink preferences, styling is entirely up to you., but looking for funky and fun tools can help make the cart feel unique.

“The finish colors of shakers, tongs and other necessary tools can add gorgeous patina, interest and character to the overall vignette,” Marie Flanigan, interior designer and founder of Marie Flanigan Interiors, told Insider.

Another tip? Buy some local spirits for some extra personality. But above all, make sure your bar cart doesn’t get too cluttered. Not only does it ensure you’re always using the best/freshest ingredients (we see that jar of opened Maraschino cherries that’s been sitting there for months) but it will ensure a sleek presentation.

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Published on January 6, 2023