A Cartload of Entertainment

BY MARLA R. MILLER ON APRIL 4TH, 2016

Short on space for entertaining? No table or bar? No problem – wheel in the fun with a funky, festive and functional bar cart.

Spring and summer mean more outdoor entertaining, and serving carts are one of the must haves for 2015, says Chrissy Madison, a spokeswoman for Pier 1 Imports.

Indoor/outdoor carts are a great solution for someone looking to invest in a versatile piece that can be used all year long. The best thing about owning one – they are multipurpose and portable.

“Serving carts bring the party to the action, whether that’s in the living room, on the patio, or even poolside,” Madison says.

There are many styles and materials durable enough to be used outdoors, but stylish enough to showcase indoors the rest of the year. Besides their main use as a rolling bar, they work for kitchen storage and small appliances or as an accent table with a plant or other decorative accessories.

“The beauty of multipurpose serving carts are that their uses are never ending,” Madison says. “Layer your favorite hurricane, candles and accessories to create a beautiful vignette that can easily be updated each season.”

Prices for good, quality bar carts can range from $300 to more than $1,000 and there are plenty of styles to choose from at home furnishing stores and online retailers.

“Bar carts are a practical way to make a personal style statement in your home,” says Maria Hunt, market director for the home renovation and design platform Houzz. “And bar carts instantly let your guests know that you like entertaining and they’re in for a very pleasant evening.”

You can really put whatever you want on your cart to reflect your personal tastes or complement the room’s décor, Hunt says. She has a gold, faux bamboo bar cart in her kitchen, which has a vintage, French theme, and uses it to display boxes of specialty tea from Paris, hand-painted botanical mugs, silver flatware, and embroidered linens.

The bottom shelf holds special bottles of her favorite bourbon and gin, French picks like absinthe and crème de violette, exotic bitters, etched champagne flutes and Harry Craddock’s “The Savoy Cocktail Book” with an Art Deco illustration.

“Bar carts are a great place to display the special things you love and drinks that you want to share with your guests: the small-batch gin you just discovered, a fine sipping bourbon or aged rum, a sherry or Italian amaro you love after dinner,” she says. “Accompany your picks with the right glassware and any tools, like an etched cocktail mixing carafe, shaker, spoon and jiggers.”

Hunt says to consider what you plan to use it for, space and style issues and whether it will be indoor/outdoor when buying a bar cart and deciding where to place it. They are stylish and functional in a dining room, but work equally well in a corner of the living room, kitchen, or covered porch or patio.

If you put your cart in a focal point, such as in the living room or on a wall near the foyer, try to style the spirits, glassware and accessories into a vignette that is pleasing to the eye, she says. For outdoor entertaining, choose a sturdy cart made of acrylic or enameled metal to withstand the elements. Even those should be kept indoors or somewhere protected from the weather when you’re not entertaining so your glassware and spirits stay pristine, Hunt says.

Serving cart trends mirror other home décor trends, but pretty much anything goes, Hunt says. There are a wide variety of carts to choose from and it comes down to personal style, whether that’s industrial, vintage, traditional, modern or eclectic.

Even if you have a bar or liquor cabinet, they are perfect for showcasing a few bottles, mixers or fresh garnishes and snacks for a small gathering. And they are great to have on hand for a larger party, offering portability and freeing up table space to display desserts, appetizers or for guests to eat. Multiple tiers offer a convenient storage solution for backup napkins, bottles or ice, Madison says.

 

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