How to Put Together a Simple Bar Cart

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A bar cart has been on my project periphery for quite some time now. Early memories of inspiration include this Cupcakes and Cashmere post (keep scrolling to the bottom, if you fancy a bar cart nosy) and time spent whiled away on Pinterest pouring over things like gold rimmed glasses – so pretty! Marble surfaces – practical and beautiful! Paper straws – I must have them all! I’d been quietly coveting a bar cart for some time, storing pieces of inspiration away ready for when I’d have the space to have my own. Finally it’s coming together and I’m quite thrilled about it.

I’m not sure what makes the allure of a bar cart quite so strong. Jack and I rarely drink anymore beside the occasional gin here and icy beer there, so our well-stocked cart has already been the source of a few raised eyebrows, friendly laughs and ‘but… you guys don’t drink’ comments. But there is something about the hospitality of a bar cart that draws me to the concept – the impression it gives to a guest that you will be well cared for here, we’re ready to host you and excited to do so. It says welcome, kick off your shoes, have a seat and a sip of something refreshing and delicious. Granted I actually haven’t served any cocktails from the bar cart yet – I’m still too precious with the new glasses and neatly arranged bottles to let anyone use the thing (not quite the generous hosting attitude I was shooting for, but I’m working on it). But perhaps this weekend I’ll do a soft launch with a gin cocktail. Something simple, maybe mixed with homemade lemonade and sprigs of lemon thyme, but as the summer has decided to disappear on us maybe something more autumnal is fitting. Gin (I like the stuff, can you tell?) muddled with hedgerow blackberries and topped up with tonic. That sounds pretty lovely to me.

If you too have been considering a bar cart, below I’ll detail how I went about sourcing and putting together the components of mine (who knew I had 600 words to say on the subject…).

Much of my decision-making was based around the kind of space we had for the cart and our budget. There are some truly wonderful Gatsby-esque carts, but they cost more than I can bear to part with, not to mention they demand a much larger space than we were able to offer. So first you need to settle on your shape and size. Whilst I mooned over large, rectangular trolleys, realistically our space demanded a smaller, more accommodating size. At this point I’d also recommend earmarking the space you want to use for your bar cart. We’d imagined a few spots for ours, but then only two were actually feasible in the end.

So you’ve got your size and shape in mind, now it’s time to shop. If you’re not already, I’d make sure you’re using the both search terms ‘bar cart’ and ‘drinks trolley’, as different shops use different terminologies.

It took me a few months to land on our cart as it’s worth browsing items that surface on eBay and etsy as both have some really special second hand, vintage and upcycled carts. Over a couple of months I curated a shortlist. This urban outfitters cart made the list, but in the end was just slightly too sleek and modern for me. I briefly toyed with this gorgeous Halo Bar Trolley but it’s not really in keeping with our living aesthetic (again, a tad too sleek when I’ve unapologetically branded my interior style ‘farmhouse chic scandi’… whatever that means) and is a little pricy, I think. This Oliver Bonas Luxe Bar Table was a contender too, but the price point and lack of wheels made it a no-go in the end, although I loved the marble finish and the gold.

And then I found our bar cart. A left-field entry from Dunelm of all places that combined my love of marble with burnished gold and fell into our budget. Plus, romantic that I am, the ‘Bermondsey Drinks Trolley’ seemed to be a fated choice, Bermondsey having been part of our old, London neighbourhood. The delivery was a little slow, but I’m so pleased with the product. The marble feels quality and is reassuringly heavy and very beautiful, whilst the gold finish is both pleasingly rustic and somehow lavish at the same time. Very farmhouse chic scandi, if you ask me.

Then came the accessories, the selection and purchase of which I made much faster as they were very affordable and oh-so pretty. H&M Home came through with the gold-rimmed glasses, small citrus bowl and statement bumblebee bottle opener, Sainsbury’s Home provided the paper straws (although there are plenty of options for these online too, I particularly like these), and we sourced the small chopping board from Ikea. Alcohol (including four different types of gin…) and cocktail shaker are models’ own.

If I had more space (or if you do, and are looking for inspiration) there are a few other pieces that would find a home on my drinks trolley. I’d think about a quality candle – Oliver Bonas have a tasteful candle collection and they always smell delicious. I particularly like the sound of this Vetivert & Sandalwood candle and love the neutral, hand-glazed pot. A drinks trolley plant would also be a nice addition, I think trailing ivy looks gorgeous and you can purchase these cheaply from Ikea. Finally how about a piece of art? I’ve purchased a few prints recently from Society6 and have been thrilled with them – although watch out for the small customs charge as the prints come from the USA.

And then you’ve just got to arrange your bottles, glasses and accessories and eventually allow people to use the thing. Eventually.

Have you got a bar cart? What inspired you to make it a feature in your home? I wonder how many, like me, simply enjoy the message it conveys about the experience a guest is to have when they come over to ours. Also tell me your favourite cocktails! They can be non-gin based – I might just branch out.