Jay McInerney, literary author but also scribe of three books on wine, recalls his friends' disappointment when he decided to abstain from alcohol for the month of August a couple years ago. He writes in his blog

"More of my friends seemed distressed than impressed when I quit drinking for August. The feeling seemed to be that I was letting the team down at the height of the season. 'Why the hell would you pick August of all months,' asked one friend."

The reason for their offence, it turns out, is that—in the Hamptons at least—August is a month full of cocktail parties, clambakes, and semi-formal dinners.

It's true: August lends itself well to the pastime. The heat and the end of summer's imminent end make perfect conditions for drinking cocktails, which often have plenty of ice as one of their key ingredients. Friday night after a hard and hot week, who doesn't want to sling back a cold, well-made Negroni? The day stretches late into the gloaming, but the sun is sinking earlier and the temperatures dropping toward evening. It all makes for an atmosphere that invites one to drink, especially with good company. 

Whether having an intimate cocktail party or mixing one for you and your special someone, a bar cart sets the stage. All the pretty bottles, glasses, mixers, muddlers, ice-buckets, and citrus fruit and herbs, all lined up in a way that both complements and adds to the room's aesthetic. They were out of fashion for a while, but thanks in no small part to shows like Mad Men, these vintage charmers have returned to our hearts and homes.

Design by Nicole Gibbons / So Haute for Redbook

While they have their critics, bar carts and their attendant charms support a fact universally acknowledged: alcohol and its accoutrements are pretty, especially when lit right.

Beyond that, they seem to announce, “Welcome home! You have worked hard. Why don’t you make yourself a drink, sit down, and put your feet up?” (Maybe this has something to do with the lovely French custom welcoming dinner guests with aperitifs.) We have made a board over at our Pinterest, where we are collecting some of our favorites, from the drinking tray to the bar cart to the home bar. Images like the ones we've collected there and below are exemplary and evocative, but they seem to ignore a simple fact about our drinking and entertaining lives—they tend to occur nocturnally.

Before you and your guests get lit, make sure your libation station is well-lighted.

The lamp below may not be one of ours, but we love it for both the way it complements the room's black and grey and brass scheme, and how well it demonstrates what putting an elegant lamp atop a bar card adds to it. 

This delicious bar cart setup is from Brooke Inabnett's home office. Check the whole thing out in Rue Magazine by clicking on the picture.
Photograph by Emily Hart.

We recommend either positioning your bar cart next to or between wall sconces or sacrificing a little of that precious cart space for a well-placed table lamp that complements the style of the piece. Opting with the latter choice, consider your cart a carefully curated collection of intoxicants, freeing up the space for a table lamp in the style of our Girard family.

Or, if you’re mixing a martini (shaken, not stirred), perhaps a counter-weighted Aston model will better illuminate your explosive cocktail-mixing station.

While this bar decided to hang our Glendale pendant, you may not have the space for it with a bar cart. Given the space you place your bart cart in, a slender ceiling-mounted pendant or cluster of them hanging a judicious distance above it both enlighten and enchant. Consider our wine-bottle-shaped Colebrook or Masonville. Or, if you're knocking 'em back in cut-crystal tumblers like the one below, lattice-cut Marlow makes a perfect complement.

Hobstar Pattern Double Rocks Whiskey Glass by Libbey


Here's a bunch of bar carts and rooms in various styles we're crushing on. From industrial vintage to Hollywood Regency to lucite to lust for, they're all sweet in their own right.

Booze and books—why do they go so well together? | Via Lonny

Verpan Barboy, available through Danish Design Store

Design by Emily Henderson | Putting a work of art over the cart is a great idea. You can pull colors from it to match with flowers and alcohol or bottles and glassware.

This lucite bar cart would pair well with an acrylic fixture.


Which one do you like best? Not sure? Take our Style Quiz to figure out what your sweet-spot is.

(Featured Image from "12 Stylish Bar Carts With Amazing Design" on decoist, via Shop Society Social)