Ease Of Entertaining: The Classic “Bar Cart”

The Classic Bar Cart
The Classic Bar Cart

The “Bar Cart”. The classic mobile unit (typically on wheels) that is used to hold an array of beverages, bar ware, stemware and all of the trimmings needed to serve a guest or yourself! Used for the sole purpose of the ease of entertainment, the bar cart or “Trolley” is a classic addition to our interior spaces, particularly during the Holidays or social gatherings we hold within our homes. The destination within our interior spaces that the bar cart finds itself depends largely on the design of the bar cart. In fact, whether the bar cart makes its appearance throughout the year or is a staple structure within our interiors, its addition (or a grouped area of service elsewhere) is essential to entertaining. The classic bar cart is often rectangular or round with four rolling casters on each end. A well-stocked bar that rolls in style, indeed. Whether crafted from metal (brass seems to be a classic material for this detail in entertaining), wood, lucite or stainless steel, the ease of movement throughout our interiors through the use of the castors cannot be denied. Portable style for those of us with smaller spaces, indeed. The most basic bar cart typically has a low shelf at the bottom and a top shelf that allow you to corral stylishly the grouped bar of varied bottles, embellishments, barware and stemware. Perfection in entertaining! Some carts even have the added feature of racks along the outside, in which a ‘bar towel’ is ready for the inevitable spill or to soften the spray of the uncorked bubbly. Again, everything for the guest at-the-ready. Alas, self-serve on wheels! How comforting to our special guests that fill our interiors during moments of our host & hostess bliss!

Perhaps when one thinks of the “bar cart” thoughts travel back to the indelible images of classic Hollywood black and white movies from the 1950’s and 1960’s. I grew up watching these noir films in the company of my mother. She certainly knew the classics and returned to them often. The inspirations I took from these classic Hollywood films as a young girl have remained. Recall the time, captured on the countless reels of the films of Hollywood, where the debonair and elegant set seemed to never be without a bar cart for their carefree whims of entertaining! Indeed, the “Cocktail Hour” was prevalent in the glory days of Hollywood. The perfected elegance of what was once a permanent fixture in the living rooms for social entertainment generations ago, the bar cart has returned to center stage.

Cinematic Inspirations:  The "Cocktail Hour"
Cinematic Inspirations: The “Cocktail Hour”

Perhaps the glamour of these images brought the “bar cart” or “bar trolley” to the living rooms and parlors of the American households across the country. During the 1970’s, however, architectural history saw a rise of new homes that included built-in-bars. It can be derived that the bar cart faded away as the installation of “wet bars”, complete with running water, diminished the need of the cart with rolling style. Actual “bars” were also installed in lounge areas of homes, further rolling the bar cart out of the interior design forefront. But alas, it has returned in recent years with force! An elegant addition to entertaining with elegance and ease, indeed. A return to etiquette, perhaps, in which the guest is presented with an array of choices to meet their whims and everything at-the-ready. And for the guest that you were not expecting? You are ready! As if you were expecting them! Again, if you are without a cart to hold your gathering of entertaining bliss, any surface will surely do. Tabletop displays or improvised groupings are a stylish alternative to the bar cart. Another option of creating an “Entertaining Central”. Rethink, indeed.

Rolling In Style:  The "Bar Cart"
The Bar “Cart”
The Well-Stocked Bar
The Well-Stocked Bar
The Stylish Bar
The Stylish Bar
"The Bar"
“The Bar”
The "Makeshift" Bar
The “Makeshift” Bar

Consider a return to the classics, if you will. And of what to display and have available on these stylish “Bar Carts”? Well, that is perhaps another topic all together. Rolled out with style and personal flair, they are stocked with an individualized assortment of personal preference, for certain. A stack of cocktail napkins are a must (I adore white cloth napkins, as it is the little luxuries of life that make moments even more outstanding). Of course, one should always be ready for a celebratory moment with a bottle of champagne. Alas, perhaps a champagne bucket is an essential! Stocked With Style. Of key is to not forget to replenish after your guests have departed! Corkscrew at the Ready to decant the next bottle of wine, as always, for the next soiree or an unexpected visitor. Alas, a stocked bar will certainly bring the “sommelier” out in all of us. Don’t forget a bottle or two of sparkling water. Stemware ready to fill and a filled candle to add instant ambiance at a moments notice are also key elements. However you “stage” it, it is a no-fail answer to “Stress-Free Entertaining”. The ease of entertaining, indeed….

Kristin

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4 thoughts on “Ease Of Entertaining: The Classic “Bar Cart”

  1. I love a vintage bar cart! I have just a stand-in set up for the holiday until I can find one that I adore. There is something classy and upscale about them. Love this post, Kristin! xo Kristin

    1. Thank you so much, Kristin! I am sure you will stumble upon the perfect vintage addition, one day! So true- the bar cart certainly has a “Classy” and “Upscale” attitude about it. One with great service, indeed.
      Kristin

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