The truth is that any surface — from your kitchen counter to your nightstand — can become a bar.
But if you’re reaching for the alarm clock and knock over the Seagram’s, it’s time to get help.
You could blame the interest in home bars — from cabinets to carts and more — on AMC’s “Mad Men” or the guilty pleasure of sipping with a tiny umbrella.
More likely it’s the public’s nostalgia for the cocktail culture, cultivated to perfection in the 1950s and early ’60s and continuing to evolve from flavored vodkas to handcrafted drinks.
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Whatever the case, consumers are clamoring for shaken, stirred or straight up — and a pretty place to put all the accouterments.
The bar cabinet was the first piece to find its way back into the home. More recently, stand-alone bars and cocktail carts have crashed the party as well.
Every generation rediscovers what the last one already knew: Parties are more fun with a bar and a bartender behind it. Designer Celerie Kemble’s Art Deco-inspired, parchment-lacquered and leather-inlaid bar for Maitland-Smith has a silver eglomise top and brass accents that set it apart from your run-of-the-mill man-cave bar.
“A stand-alone bar or bar cart sends the message that there is always the possibility of glasses clinking, ice knocking and the chance to see a fresh bead of condensation roll down your glass. Even if you aren’t planning to partake, it adds spirit to the room,” says Kemble.
If space is an issue, there is a multitude of smaller cabinet-style bars on the market. Mitchell Gold + Bob Williams offers several, including the Ventura bar with a California modern two-tone exterior and the stylish LaSalle bar, which has Mozambique veneers and an interior red lacquer drawer with black felt bottom to store those sterling-silver olive picks. Both are versatile enough to be used for other purposes such as a nightstand.
“People often want to entertain at home but feel pressed for time. Having a bar that keeps what you need at the ready is a real timesaver and stress-reducer. Besides, it looks really cool, like in those classic old movies,” says co-founder Mitchell Gold.
Dorya, an upscale furniture manufacturer with Turkish roots and a U.S. base in Miami, is known for its exquisite lacquers and high-end pieces. The bar cabinet in a taupe lacquer offers ample storage for everything needed to get the party started.
If your place is small or you just want the convenience of a movable libation station, then the cocktail cart is the solution. Some come with removable trays, while others feature gallery rails and bottle holders, but all are on wheels.
Sophisticated versions include her leather-wrapped bar cart with glass shelves for Maitland-Smith, Theodore Alexander’s burled ash cart with gallery rail or Ralph Lauren Home’s polished stainless-steel with glass, which swings out for more serving area. Rowe Furniture’s more casual version in orange lacquer and glass is meant for indoors but could easily adapt to a covered outdoor spot for the season. Crate and Barrel actually makes one for outdoor entertaining in powder-coated aluminum, as do several other companies.