Holiday season right around the corner, which at my house means more family and friends, more dinners and more merriment all round. Since I’ve been banned from setting up the Christmas tree before December 1 and I’ve already busted out the winter throw blankets and pillows, I’ve decided to channel my November decorating energy into getting the house drop-in (aka party) ready. Enter the bar cart.
I’ve been coveting a bar cart for a while, mainly because I love how glamorous champagne flutes and classic liquors look set up on a gilded surface, but also because I love hosting and my small kitchen and lack of cupboard space would benefit from an alternative serving space. Bar carts come in many different shapes, sizes and styles from rustic industrial to high end glam.
I am fairly deeply in love with the Madison Mixer by Society Social, but West Elm, Ikea (check out the Raskog, Bygel & Grundtal kitchen utility carts) and CB2 all make much more affordable options. Craigslist is also an amazing source for vintage carts; and dressers, change tables and kitchen carts can all be readily re-purposed to meet your entertaining needs.
Even easier, if you’re lacking space to add another piece of furniture, simply add a tray to an existing surface. At my house, we’re planning on moving the television upstairs for the winter months and setting up a bar on the armoir we currently use as a media console.
Once you’ve got your bar, you’ll need a few essential tools. What will get used most often in your house will depend on your poison of choice, but for a full bar I’d recommend an ice bucket, a martini shaker, a cocktail pitcher, some stirring utensils, a wine aerator and a decanter, along with the obvious – glassware. Stemless wineglasses are a great versatile option that can also be used for cocktails, but it pains me to see champagne in anything other than a proper flute. Martini glasses look fantastic and can be used to display garnishes (olives, citrus, etc.) as well as for serving. Holiday money saving secret: Dollarama sells awesome wine and martini glasses as well as champagne flutes for, you guessed it, about a $1. They are super solid (and thus can survive being knocked over and thrown in the dishwasher) and actually look like (relatively) high quality glassware.
CB2 is a great source for bar decor and tools, but for the hardcore bartender, B.Y.O.B. Cocktail Emporium on Queen West in Toronto can’t be beat. B.Y.O.B. is like your favourite home design store dedicated exclusively to your home bar. The shop sells vintage and new glassware, design heavy bar tools, cocktail guides, serving ware and awesome industrial glam bars that I’ve had my eye on for some time. Although provincial law means that the shop can’t actually sell alcohol, they do have an incredible collection of bitters that is sure to impress the most hardcore of cocktail junkies.
Stay tuned to see my home bar in action and for some awesome holiday cocktail recipes!