How to Style a Bar Cart

Vintage chair and bar cart,  sunburst mirror from Shine Mirrors .

Vintage chair and bar cart, sunburst mirror from Shine Mirrors.

A bar cart is something I've always wanted in my home. In 2013, I was on the search for one and instead found options of creating my own bar without a cart - have a read here.

Last year I inherited my grandmother's cart. It's more of a tea caddy rather than a bar cart, you can tell from the tiered shelving is not very high, but I use it as a bar cart.

While a bar cart isn't a must-have piece of furniture, it adds style to a room and is a practical piece if used well. So below, my step-by-step guide on how to style the perfect bar cart.

Keep It Simple

Don't over clutter your bar cart. Your cart should be clear for you to make and serve cocktails from. Plan what cocktail or drinks you will serve ahead of time. Only place the necessary spirits, mixes and garnishes on the cart (store away olives, for example, if you're not making martinis).

Then, group items by theme: hard liquors, mixers, glasses, et cetera. Use trays as dividers, this keeps your cart looking organised.

The Cart Itself

Finding the right cart is a difficult mission. If you haven't found the right one or decide you don't need a dedicated bar cart, you can get creative. An end table or part of your mantle works well.

If you are willing to make the investment (the bar carts I've seen can be pricey), here are a few things to look for:

  • Ensure there are wheels to make moving around the bar cart a breeze.

  • Multiple shelves are useful. Divide up your equipment on each shelf, top one for serving and bottom ones for storage.

  • A lip or rail prevents bottles and glassware from sliding off.

  • Specialty glass storage spaces (i.e. wine glass racks) are perfect for those looking to use the bar cart to store glassware.

Bar Cart Placement

Your bar cart should be situated in a prime position for accessibility. But not in the way so it could easily be knocked. Bar carts with wheels can be moved around the space easily from pre-dinner drinks to post-dinner drinks in the lounge.

A cart in the entry hall is also a wonderful way to welcome guests into your home.

How to Style a Bar Cart

The Basics

If you are planning to offer a full bar on your cart, there are some essentials to have on hand:


  • Vodka
  • Gin
  • Rum
  • Tequila
  • Whisky
  • Vermouth
  • I always like to have a bottle of wine and/or Champagne ready to put onto ice.
  • Lillet, Cointreau and bitters are always helpful to have on hand as they appear in many cocktails.


  • Soda water
  • Tonic water
  • Lemons and limes for juicing and garnish
  • Cocktail cherries, olives, and simple syrup (a ratio of 2 parts water to 1 part sugar you can make at home and keep it in a jar or bottle on your cart)


  • Cocktail shaker
  • Mixing glass
  • Spoon
  • Strainer
  • Cutting board (unless you have pre-sliced limes, lemons)
  • Jigger
  • Cocktail sticks
  • An ice bucket
  • Juicer
  • Muddler
  • Bottle Opener
  • Corkscrew


  • Highball
  • Lowball
  • Martini
  • Old Fashioned
  • Wine glasses
  • Champagne flutes
  • Pilsner

Beauty is in the detail

Fresh flowers in a vase, greenery or fruit and garnishes in pretty bowls can make all the difference to the look of your cart. A cocktail recipe book is also both an attractive and practical addition.

Lei xx