How To Choose A Bar Cart

A bar cart is guaranteed to elevate the style of your entertaining area and add a sophisticated touch to your next dinner party. The bar cart should coordinate with your home décor and match your stemware and glassware for a cohesive look.

There are a few things to consider in order to find the right cart for your home. Here is our guide full of tips and tricks to choosing the perfect bar cart for your space.

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What is the Best Material for a Bar Cart?

The material you choose for your bar cart determines the durability and longevity of the piece and has a significant impact on how well the cart blends into your design aesthetic. The type of material also decides whether you can use the cart indoors or outdoors. Find the perfect balance of strength and style by selecting a cart built from a combination of materials such as:

  • Wood

Wood can be used for both indoor and outdoor carts and adds fantastic texture to country, industrial, and modern homes. Avoid unfinished, raw wood designs as they are prone to staining from spilled drinks.

Choose a wood finish that coordinates with your other furniture. This does not mean that your bar cart must match your other décor exactly. You will create more depth and dimension in your room if your cart does not match.

Simple Wooden Bar Cart
Industrial Wooden Bar Cart
Industrial Bar Cart with Brushed Copper Accents
Horowitz Glass Door Wooden Bar Cart
Wooden Wine Bar Cart
Two Door Wooden Bar Cart
  • MDF

Manufactured wood (MDF) is an affordable alternative to solid wood. It is low-maintenance, stain and scratch resistant; however, it does not have the same durability as solid wood or the same aesthetic appeal.

Manufactured Wood Industrial Bar Cart
Manufactured Wood Outdoor Bar Cart
Manufactured Wood Wheel Bar Cart
Simple Manufactured Wood Bart Cart
Manufactured Wood Rustic Bart Cart
Black Manufactured Wood Bart Cart
  • Metal

Many bar carts use a metal frame for stability and toughness. However, the metal can be an important design element that contributes to the overall style of the piece.

Choose easy to clean stainless steel for outdoor areas and the kitchen. Or wrought iron or heavy-gauge steel for a more industrial look. Metal carts in glossy gold or brass finishes are the perfect addition to vintage or traditionally styled rooms.

No matter which metal finish you choose, ensure the cart is coated in a sealant to protect against corrosion.

Elegant Gold Metal Bar Cart
Round Silver Metal Bar Cart
Three Levels Silver Metal Bar Cart
Chic Silver Metal Bar Cart
Black Gold Round Metal Bar Cart
Chrome Silver Metal Bar Cart
  • Glass

Bar carts with tempered glass or mirrored shelves are ideal for creating the illusion of space in your living area. They make a chic addition to retro, mid-century modern rooms and reflect the facets of glasses and bottles to show off your collection in its best light.

Round Three Levels Glass Bar Cart
Gold Round Glass Bar Cart
Clear Glass Bar Cart
Glamorous Clear Glass Bar Cart
Modern Glam Silver Glass Bar Cart
Gold Trolley Glass Bar Cart
  • Plastic

While plastic may not sound like the most stylish option for a bar cart, high-density thermoplastics such as Lucite offer the durability of plastic with the clarity and visual appeal of glass.

Got a mod loft sprinkled with graphic prints? Consider a Lucite cart in a novel Pop Art design. Or use the clear plastic cart to keep a cramped entertaining space feeling open and airy.

Black Plastic Bar Cart with Drawer
Simple Red Plastic Bar Cart
Plastic Bar Cart for Food and Drinks
Plastic Serving Bart Cart
Black Gold Plastic Bar Cart
Three Levels Simple Plastic Bar Cart
  • Stone

A popular choice for outdoor entertaining areas due to its weather-resistance, stone bar carts are often constructed with a combination of materials such as wood or metal for the frame and a smooth marble or granite top and shelves.

Stone bar and metal bar carts make the perfect addition to an Art Deco style home or romantic French country living area. If you are planning to use the cart indoors and outside, look for polished marble or granite that is scratch resistant and shows off the depth of the stone to its full effect.

Geometric White Marble Bar Cart
White Marble Stone Bar Cart
Stone and Wood Bar Cart
Gold Marble Round Bar Cart
Stone and Metal Bar Cart
Elegantly Shaped Stone Bar Cart

When it comes to choosing the right material for your bar cart, the main thing to check for is stability. No matter how chic the cart may look, if it can't hold the weight of your glassware and bottles, it won't be able to serve its purpose.

Look for bar carts with reinforced struts in the frame and underneath the surfaces. For wooden and MDF, examine the quality of the joinery and make sure that all pieces fit flush and secure.

How to Choose the Right Size Bar Cart?

Finding the right-sized bar cart is about striking a harmonious balance between storage and style in the space you have available. To find the perfect size bar cart for your home follow these three simple steps.

  • Consider Its Function

Are you planning to use your bar cart for preparing and serving snacks as well as drinks? If so, you will need added countertop space for easy access to food and beverages. If most of the preparation is going to occur in the kitchen, and your bar cart will be used primarily for decorative purposes, you have a wider selection of sizes to choose from.

Is it going to be a focal piece in your living area? In which case, you may need a larger bar cart, so it is not overwhelmed by the rest of your furniture. Features such as large handles and wheels contribute to the overall size of the bar cart, so to take this into account when measuring your piece.

  • Assess Your Collection

Before selecting a size for your bar cart, determine the size of your glassware and liquor collection and how much storage space you need to accommodate it. You do not need to store every single item in your collection on your cart. Overstuffing can give the cart a cluttered, unappealing look.

Choose your best stem and glassware and a selection of your favorite bottles for display and base your size assessment on the dimensions of these items.

  • Measure Your Space

While bar carts are mobile and can be moved around a room, decide on a dedicated place to store your bar cart when not in use. The amount of space you have available determines the size of the bar cart you choose. Measure the height, width, and depth of your space, ensuring you leave approximately 2-3 inches clearance around the cart for access.

A standard bar cart measures around 3-4 feet tall and 28-48 inches wide. If you are tight on space, look for carts that extend vertically, not horizontally. For smaller homes and apartments, look for circular styles with multiple tiers - to take advantage of no-fuss vertical shelving space.

What Features to Look for in a Bar Cart?

  • Shelves

Storage is an essential feature to consider. Look for ample shelf space that can be adjusted to suit the height of your bottles and glassware. The bottom shelf should have a rail or barrier to prevent items from falling off.

  • Handles

To easily maneuver your bar cart around the room, you need handles for a better grip. Long, wide handles offer better control while smaller handles give your cart a more compact design suitable for small spaces.

  •  Locking Wheels

Bar carts are designed for mobility as well as storage and display. Choose a cart with wheels that can glide easily over your floor surface. If you have plush carpets or rugs, you may need a cart with larger wheels, and for homes with hardwood floors consider soft or rubber wheels to prevent scratches. Regardless of the wheel style, make sure your wheels are lockable to prevent the cart from moving while you are mixing drinks.

  •  Stemware Racks

Top-heavy stemware can easily topple and break if not stored securely on a bar cart. Choose a bar cart with built-in stemware racks that stores your glasses upside down to maximize the storage space.

  • Drawers

Drawers are ideal for organizing small bar accessories such as mixing tools and napkins. Look for smooth gliding drawers that sit underneath the main counter space on your cart for fast, easy access to the essentials.

  • Cabinets

Cabinets are ideally suited for bar carts that are primarily used for storage rather than display purposes. Cabinets allow you to store a wider variety of beverages, mixers, and glassware regardless of their visual appeal. However, this doesn't mean that your bar cart cabinets can't be stylish. Choose a cart with cabinet doors that feature stylish hardware or have a luxe wood grain finish to add a touch of sophisticated style to your space.

  • Countertop

If you prefer cocktails, make sure your bar cart has some kind of countertop or flat surface for mixing. Also, ensure there is enough storage space for the tools you need (mixing glass, bar spoon, jigger, peeler, bottle opener, and a julep strainer). Look for a countertop with a high vertical lip to prevent bottles from slipping off when moving the cart.

How Can I Store Wine in a Bar Cart?

If you have multiple bottles of wine to store, look for a cart with a built-in wine rack. This enables you to store your bottles horizontally, which keeps the cork moist, keeping your wine fresher and tasting better for longer.

Wine bottles with screw-top caps don't necessarily need to be stored horizontally, but this storage method takes advantage of open space and offers better access to your favorite wines. Horizontal storage also prevents your bottles from clinking together and stop them from falling off the cart.

Quick Tips

  • Choose a material that finds the right balance between style and functionality. Combinations of materials that work well together include metal and tempered glass, wood and stainless steel, and marble with a gold-finished frame.

  • Measure your space and determine precisely what you what to store and display in your cart to find the right size.

  • Choose a cart that features ample and varied types of storage from lipped shelves and cabinets to drawers and built-in stemware racks.

  • To store wine correctly in your bar cart, look for horizontal wine racks that store wines on a slight angle to keep corks moist and prevent sediment build-up.