Drinks trolleys and bar carts – a modern-vintage classic

home stylists styling decorative antiques stylists perspex clear drinks trolley table cabinet bar cart brass glass marble

brass circular drinks trolley bar cart marble brass glass cocktail cabinets

I have always wanted a drinks trolley in the lounge. Since reading Gatsby at school, the Art Deco fixation has gathered momentum and will only be quelled with a beautiful brass piece on wheels. Now that we have a lounge you would actually want to lounge in (I kid you not… No, it was worse than you think) a bar cart is my next must-have house-purchase. They’re so versatile – not simply a piece of occasional furniture, not just for Mad Men super-fans and not only for happy hour.  Forget Abigail’s Party cringe-worthy furniture and say chin-chin to the cocktail cabinets and chic brass tables of the roaring ’20s and glamourous 50s (those boys and gals knew how to party).

gin cocktail cabinet drinks vintage trolley bar cart
Good grief, I do believe its Martini o’clock ?

The trolleys of today are a little more relaxed and not just for mixing martinis. You can add a bar cart and a lamp to your favourite corner for reading for example.  Think of all the faffing opportunities for endless styling and re-styling! (Then have a martini…)

brass gin cocktail cabinet drinks vintage trolley bar cart glass marble
Green marbled drinks trolley from Mia Fleur – SO.MUCH.GLAMOUR.

Available at Rockett St George and Mia Fleur this pleasing circular beauty would really up the wow factor in any room. I love how its classic vintage feel still looks great in this contemporary setting with exposed plaster walls and wooden floors.

brass gin cocktail cabinet drinks vintage trolley bar cart glass marble
Circular drinks trolley with a nod to a bygone era

Mixing materials to the max with marble, metallics and smoked glass, the Kenzi from Swoon Editions ups the ante of the drinks trolley in an Art Deco style. The clean lines and less ornate design make this a good option if you want to style yours in different rooms in the house.  A well priced bar cart too, currently on sale (at time of writing).

brass gin cocktail cabinet drinks vintage trolley bar cart glass marble
Kenzi trolley from Swoon Editions

The humble drinks trolley, originally invented for practicality, has become something of a stylist’s stalwart.  Now  firmly established in the interiors sector, it can be styled in just as many different ways as a coffee table or console depending on the feel of your room and your needs. Incorporate one into your living room as an end table  or in the hallway with a lamp and suitably glamorous receptacle for keys and sunglasses etc. If you have a large bathroom, how decadent to have one with all your favourite lotions and potions and a cut glass vase of exotic blooms and cold champagne ice bucket….? (sorry, completely carried away).

drinks trolley acrylic perspex furniture design material
Clearly very cool, the CB2 drinks trolley of the future…

At interiors more modern and cutting edge, bar carts are still de-rigueur but crafted in less traditional materials like Perspex or glass…I love this one from CB2.  A fantastic piece of occasional furniture which can be wheeled from room to room, in a bang up to date contemporary material.

perspex clear drinks trolley table cabinet bar cart brass glass marble
Peekaboo contemporary bar cart

Available widely now from the cooler interiors stores and websites, you’re also quite likely to be lucky with a vintage bar cart find. You could try Etsy or eBay.

brass gin cocktail cabinet drinks vintage trolley bar cart glass marble
Vintage gold & glass drinks trolley at Lisa Dawson’s cool and eclectic home

Don’t know where to start? Specialists in furniture styling and staging often know where to lay their hands on a specific piece if you’re not looking for a replica.  Instagram legends like Lisa Dawson and Pencil Tree Interiors are a great place to start and often have bar carts or cocktail cabinets in their troves. These stylish folk know interiors like the backs of their hands and if they haven’t got one, can probably point you in the right direction.

perspex clear drinks trolley table cabinet bar cart brass glass marble Pencil Tree Bath
Original cocktail cabinet from Pencil Tree Interiors

Once you’ve purchased, there are loads of great sources of inspiration for styling. I just love the way Jade Wilce (another Instagram interiors maven) styles hers…..simple but striking.

perspex clear drinks trolley table cabinet bar cart brass glass marble
Bar cart brilliance

If like me, you are quite happy to go the vintage route then consider heading off to a specialist fair (you’re unlikely to pick one up at a boot fair or house clearance shop…these beauties are in demand).  The Decorative Antiques Fair events ( Bath, Bruton, Cotswolds and coming soon Battersea Park) are exactly the sort of place you might track down an original.

decorative antiques stylists perspex clear drinks trolley table cabinet bar cart brass glass marble
Decorative Antiques – no dusty vases here… #stylistsdream

The Antiques Atlas website has details of lots of events like these so you can visit one near you.   The stands at the decorative antiques fairs are always super-interesting (warning: you will almost certainly come home with more than a bar cart) and, if you’re not lucky this time, some of the dealers will take your details and let you know if they come across one.   Online, you could try any of the following depending on your dimensions and budget requirements:

drinks trolley bar cart cocktail cabinet marble glass brass Perspex Gatsby art deco
The Gatsby from Rockett St George

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bar cart cocktail cabinet drinks trolley brass glass perspex table west elm oliver bonas
West Elm at John Lewis
amara drinks trolley bar cart coktail cabinet brass glass perspex plastic modern contemporary
Normann Copenhagen Block table from Amara

The great thing about the humble trolley is its enduring appeal. Its timeless and season less.  Gorgeous styled with grouped candles, fresh greenery and decanters at Christmas, delightful with frames, flowers and bud vases in the summer. If you’re still stuck for inspiration, search ‘bar cart’  or ‘drinks trolley’ on Pinterest and say goodbye to a couple of hours…..   Adventures in styling… if you like ’em, share ’em…click the small BLACK icons

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