Whether you live in an apartment or a home, a good bar cart can contribute to the right atmosphere of hospitality. But not just any bar cart will do. It has to have all the right details. First off, it needs to make a style statement that either blends well with your decor or contrasts it as a focal point. Also, it should be made with good materials and solid construction so you’re not replacing it after just a couple of years. Third, it should have the capacity to hold an arsenal of top-tier spirits and accompanying barware. Finally, a good bar cart must have free-rolling wheels so you can move it from room to room and even outside to the deck or patio.
How to Stock a Bar Cart
Once you acquire one of the bar carts below, the first thing you’ll need to do is stock it. We recommend starting with a quality cocktail set. You can buy a complete bartender set or build your own with the basics: a decent jigger, cocktail shaker and strainer, and a solid bar spoon.
You’ll also want to get yourself a decent glassware set. Make sure to invest in the glassware you’ll be using on a regular basis. For whiskey and bourbon, rocks glasses are key. Get yourself a set of tekus for your favorite beer and some wine tasters for your favorite reds and whites.
And of course, you’ll need some booze. We recommend prioritizing the spirits and liqueurs you’ll be enjoying on a regular basis. So, if you like crushing negronis on hot summer days, keep a good amaro, vermouth, and gin in rotation. But, you should also have at least one each of the basics: bourbon, whiskey, rum, vodka, gin, and tequila.
What About Vintage Beverage Carts?
While this list is comprised of a selection of modern bar carts, there’s nothing quite like rustic, vintage bar cabinets to add a touch of class to your home. eBay, Etsy, and 1st Dibs are great sites for discovering unique and quirky vintage bar carts.
The Best Modern Bar Carts
We’ve selected eight excellent bar carts that will change your hospitality game and upgrade your home bar setup. Bring happy hour home with these beverage cabinets. And the best part? You can purchase all of them on the web. (Some assembly required, of course.)
Franklin Bar Cart and Wine Rack
You don’t have to spend hundreds of dollars to pull off a statement-worthy bar cart that also happens to be the right size for smaller spaces. The Franklin is made with riveted distressed steel and finished and burned pine veneer for the right blend of steampunk and industrial. The top tray has solid depth to keep bottles in place, and there’s even wine glass storage underneath. The four locking swivel casters and the push handle make for easy mobility, and the small footprint means it’ll fit just about anywhere.
West Elm Mid-Century Bar Cart
This simple but truly refined piece of bar furniture is made with solid eucalyptus wood and Acacia wood veneer that’s all FSC-Certified. Two trays have ample capacity, and the antique-finish brass rails provide an extra measure of security, as well as style. The two round, brass casters and the elegant wood handle allow for quick transport. The entire bar cart also happens to be built in a Fair Trade Certified facility that improves the lives of locals and strives to protect the environment.
Tibo Bart Cart
This metal and glass beverage cart harkens back to the ’50s with its refined look and versatile layout that provides a large serving surface and three storage shelves. The wine bottle rack and glass caddy mean you don’t have to go back to the kitchen for barware. Its aesthetic will give your dinner guests an excuse to stay longer, and it might just turn your patio into a haven for the weary. Two locking casters keep it secure, and the four wheels making rolling it out a cinch.
Harold 3-Tiered Industrial Mobile Metal Bar Dining Cart
If Bruce Wayne keeps a bar cart in the Batcave, this might just qualify. The no-nonsense matte black metal cart is robust and stealthy. But, its tapered pillars have an artistic simplicity that separates it from those audio-visual carts from your grammar school days. Three levels of shelving provide ample amounts of both storage and mixology magic, and swivel wheels let you turn on a dime if you’re still sober while serving. It’s certainly one of the sleekest pieces of bar furniture we could find.
Dofurnilim Industrial Bar Cart
This beauty looks ready to rumble because it’s constructed with 1.1″ thick solid wood and plenty of hefty vintage metal water pipe. Although this bar cart’s robust look is aimed more at the beer/bourbon/whisk(e)y set, you’ll still be able to pull off champagne pours when absolutely necessary. Each of the two big shelves can support 400 pounds, but we’d recommend you don’t allow your guests to cart-surf, even if all four of the locking casters are secured.
Adina Brass Cart with Silver Leaf Concrete Shelves
The Adina bar cart strikes the perfect balance between sophistication and industry with the contrast of brass-finished iron rails and thick concrete shelving clad in silver leaf. The open frame construction is airy, but the addition of concrete prevents it from looking too frail for the much-needed in-home Happy Hour. Handles at each end are convenient but should never be used for a drunken tug-of-war.
Reclaimed Wood and Steel Kitchen and Bar Cart
While it might look like a Game of Thrones ice-cream truck, this beast is just right for transporting and serving up a slew of adult beverages for a big crowd. The top shelf is a 1.5″ butcher block with a 1″ overhang, and thick reclaimed wood makes up the cabinet door which just so happens to be a convenient trash bin compartment. The beverage cabinet can also be customized with smaller drawers or shelving upon request. Open shelves with metal grating provide additional storage, and the trolley-style casters round out the look of this customizable beauty. This might be ideal for the full bartender setup. Use the butcher block for garnish prep and whip up your favorite cocktails with a clean, roomy surface.
Keter Patio Cooler and Beverage Cart
This one’s strictly for the outdoors due to its size and capacity, but it’s no slouch when it comes to service. The large cooler holds tons of drinks, while the twin deployable shelves and inner storage lid with its own fold-down shelf allow you to mix and serve all day long. There’s a large bottom shelf, as well, and a built-in bottle opener. The rugged metal and resin construction, four locking casters, and the thick metal handle should keep this moveable thirst quencher performing its duties for years to come. Plus, it’s easily one of the best outdoor bar carts we could find.