Nothing screams "adult" more than having a chic — and fully stocked — bar cart. Wow your guests and set the bar high with our guide of must-have picks. From an assortment of boozy options to suit every taste to gorgeous glassware and stylish accents, here's what you'll need to create a perfectly styled bar cart that's ideal for entertaining friends and family.
Start with a great base. In addition to providing sensational style, your bar cart needs multiple levels of shelving to be the most functional. With so many breakables sitting on top of it, choose a cart that has higher sides all the way around its surface to keep your breakables from slipping off when jostled.
Choose pretty bottles — and arrange them artfully. Place the taller bottles in the back and the shorter ones in the front, so everything is easily viewable and accessible. Opt for decorative options, like these fashionable limited edition bottles of Disoronno, for added appeal.
To please your guests, stock your cart with single serving-sized mixers. Make sure to have a few cans of Coke, ginger ale, and club soda handy. While opting for single-serving cans or bottles versus their larger 2-liter counterparts isn't as economical, it cuts down on clutter and avoids you having to refrigerate or toss the leftovers.
Take your bartending prowess to the next level by having a few decadent garnishes handy. For martini drinkers, a jar of blue cheese-stuffed olives like these from Filthy ( $15.80 ). Or, if margaritas are more your speed this hickory-smoked sea salt creates a tasty rim. But if your after-work drink of choice is a bourbon old-fashioned, a bottle of aromatic bitters like this from Angostura ( $9.99 ) is a must-have. And don't forget lemons, limes, and oranges for colorful embellishment.
Show off your personal style and add a touch of interest to your bar cart by selecting a stylish, eye-catching shaker like this cool airplane-shaped gem. Not only is it functional, it'll add a decorative touch to your set-up — and looks just like an art piece.
To make drink preparation easier, keep a small ice bucket on your bar cart that you can fill once — rather than having to run back-and-forth to the freezer each time your guests need a refill.
Show off a decorative set of glassware atop your bar cart like these gold-rimmed palm tree glasses. Store them upside-down to keep them from collecting dust. Get a few styles to suit your preferred beverage choice.
Corral your barware on a stylish serving tray. In addition to being an organizational tool, it serves double-duty, since you can use it to tote drinks to the back porch, when you want to move the party outdoors.
Always have a bottle opener and corkscrew available. Instead of rummaging through your junk drawer to find the trusty classics you kept from college, get a grown up opener (or a quirky one — your pick!) that can live on your bar cart at all times.
Show off your personal style. Whether it's with flamingo-topped swizzle straws or an edgy skull-shaped decanter like this one, pay homage to your personal decor style by adding at least one item that embodies your unique flair.
To help your cart look perfectly polished and make it feel like a cohesive part of your space's decor, give it a designer touch. You can achieve this by hanging a framed piece of art on the wall behind your bar cart or by topping it with a pretty vase of flowers.
Set the bar high by having a few bonus bartending tools available. Depending on your personal preference, you might choose a muddler like this one to make refreshing mojitos. Or keep your Macallan cool without watering it down with these steel chilling balls ( $29.95 ). And last but not least, every respectable bartender has cocktail stirrers for martinis that are stirred, not shaken.
Stash your muddler, ice tongs, swizzle sticks, and more in a decorative container to keep them organized. You can use just about any type of vessel that strikes your fancy — a decorative ceramic vase, sleek metal tin, or even a geometric glass terrarium, like the ones above from.
Have cocktail napkins on hand. For an added touch of class, have a stack of decorative cocktail napkins available like these black and white serviettes. They're perfect for accompanying a served drink and give a nice hostess-like touch.
Once you try this artisanal Islay dry gin you will never go back. This delectable treat is crafted by combining 22 hand-foraged Scottish island botanicals, and undergoing 17 hours of distillation. The result is a rich and distinctive finish that surprises and delights the palate.
Finally, finish off your classy drink trolley with a few small bar bites. A covered dish of peanut butter-filled pretzels or a glass container of flavored nuts will be a delightful treat for your guests to indulge in while sipping their apéritif. Keep the full-sized containers in your pantry for easy re-stocking.
Maryn Liles, a former NYC magazine editor now living in sweet home Alabama, is obsessed with all things home decor. She believes people's spaces should reflect their personalities — which is why you can find lots of hand-painted furniture, sentimental wall art and playful decor accents around her place.