Can you really call your man cave a man cave without a way to easily access your favorite spirits whenever you feel like it? No. The answer is no. Sometimes, you just don’t feel like getting up and crossing the room to get another dram of whisky from your home bar. That’s why you need to invest in a bar cart. Not only are you clearing counter and cabinet space, but you’re making your booze mobile (most of the time).
Level-up your inner sanctum and have your visitors thanking you for the privilege of the mere sight of such a beautiful piece of furniture with one of the best bar carts on the market (we included the pros and cons for each). Once your cart arrives, play with placement and of your bottles and glassware. Pro tip: Add a small jar of fresh herbs and fruit to juxtapose the glow of the spirits. And be sure to practice your apartment bartending a couple times before impressing a date or friends. And if you need suggestions for stocking your new bar car, check out the winners of The Manual Spirit Awards 2018.
Best for: Beginners and small apartments
Pros: Easy to clean, simple, and to-the-point
Cons: Small; technically a kitchen rack
For those men ill-prepared for the $300-plus ticket cost of adding a bar cart to your apartment, this stainless steel Ikea kitchen cart is a gentle entryway. At only $149, there’s plenty of room to store your bottles, glassware, and even mixing accouterments in the pull-out drawer. The stainless steel is both modern and elevated, and space-wise you can’t beat this bar cart for cramped starter apartments. After gaining your sea legs, you can upgrade to a big-boy bar cart and move this one to the kitchen.
Best for: Industrial design lovers who entertain small groups of friends
Pros: Wine and stemware storage
Cons: Fixed height shelving
This Mercury Row bar cart takes a modern approach to cocktail serving by juxtaposing wood and metal piping (very manly). This cart is a great bet if you’re looking to upgrade from a bookshelf or starter bar cart, especially if you have just discovered the wonders of wine (rosé anyone?). With both wine and hanging stemware storage, this bar cart will help you expand from hard liquor and grow TF up.
Tiered Bar Console
Best for: Design-focused social dudes who drink a little of everything
Pros: Three-tier storage with space for tall bottles; ample mixing surface
Cons: Limited wine storage; no wheels
The mix of walnut and antique brass on the Tiered Bar Console from West Elm achieves a look that is both vintage and classic. Defined by its airy design (simple lines reduce the look of a cluttered cart), this bar cart is great for the guy who has a lot of bottles to display. He dabbles in gins, whiskeys, tequilas, wines, and more. With plenty of room to mix and match your bottles on the bottom level, while leaving the middle side tier for, say, glassware, you’ll still have ample space on the top to show off your home bartending skills at your dinner party.
Hanoverton Bar Cabinet
Best for: James Bond and people who don’t need bar mobility
Pros: Extendable serving top, removable wine storage
Yes, this is a cabinet, not a cart, but it’s one of the most versatile home bars (yes, it feels like a full bar) at this price point. An innocuous cabinet when closed, the Hanoverton transforms into a stylish bar when you open the doors. The top expands, secured by the open doors, and the inside houses a removable 16-bottle wine rack, door storage, and a utility drawer. Although there are no wheels, the legs are adjustable, in case you want to add a foot rail. DIY-ers can take advantage of this and add their choice of wheels. The cabinet comes in black, cherry, and mahogany.
Best for: Tiny homeowners
Pros: Folds up for a small footprint in a room when not in use
Cons: One would think it could be made of more than fiberglass, metal, and nylon
If you’re short on space, but still need a bar cart in your life (which, you do, as we’ve already established), then this folding trolley by Gastone is perfect. When not in use, you can fold it up and slide it in a crevice until the next time you’re ready to entertain. Scratch-proof tops ensure that your work surface will stay looking pristine for a long time.
Best for: Summer, outdoor entertainers, and the chef/bartender
Pros: Ice basin; outdoor use
Cons: Zero wheels, takes up space, and no glassware storage
Speaking of big-ass bar carts, the Regatta Natural Console from Crate & Barrel is a summer cocktail mixers dream. This multipurpose outdoor bar and workstation is made of sustainably-sourced teak, but more importantly, has a sliding top that opens from the middle to reveal an ice basin. Perfect for the chef-bartender that looks at their cocktail creations as intricate meals instead of simple shake-and-done drinks. Add a basket of lemons, bottles of spritzer, and entertain through the fall, because a drink outside tastes better sometimes.
Best for: Future supervillains
Pros: Just look at it, it’s gorgeous
Cons: Not a ton of space
If you’ve ever thought, “You know, Darth Vader has some good points,” then this bar cart is probably for you. Made from wood with a matte black finish, this mid-century Italian design-inspired bar cart is lined with smoked mirror so that whether it’s open or closed, it’s great to look at. There are three hinged sections that open up, allowing you to mix drinks or display your latest bottles of whiskey.
Best for: Gatsby, garnish lovers, and people who crave customization
Pros: Adjustable shelving, discreet towel racks, removable wooden tray, and a customizable finish
Cons: Only two omnidirectional wheels, the cost
This beauty can be made-to-order in walnut, maple, or oak using whatever finish you like. The top wooden tray can be removed for cleaning after you zest a ton of lemons or some drunken mixology. For at least $1,000 more, you can get Bar Cart No. 1.2 with copper handle accents and an optional built-in ice bucket. The cost is on the higher end, but it’s more reasonable than, say, $13,500. This is definitely the best bar cart for you if you have a kidney to spare and you’re serious about entertaining in style.
Best for: Lovers of the 1960s
Pros: Plenty of space
Cons: The price is a bit high for the materials used
While some were out protesting the Vietnam War, others were home, mixing up martini after martini thanks to bar carts like this. Featuring plenty of space on both levels, this mobile bar is made of metal and smoked glass for a classic midcentury modern look. You might not be out fighting the man, but you’ll be fighting the need to get up for another drink with this cart.
Best for: Experts
Pros: Butcher block-like bar top inspired by real bars, side bottle shelves, leather-matted low cabinet, and wheels
Cons: We’re stumped on this one
Draped in leather (t0 help deaden the sound of the bottles within), The Sidecar is a masterpiece bar cart for expert apartment bartenders. This perfect wood-crafted at-home bar was a collaboration between Moore & Giles and barman Jim Meehan, who wanted to produce a piece of “working furniture.” If you’re a bartender by trade, this piece of cart magic will give you the chills with its thoughtful design and perfect execution.
Article originally published April 26, 2017. Last updated on January 2019.