Bar Cart
Bar Cart
Trolley from Cox and Cox
Snug Before
Snug Before
Before shot of Snug
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Is This The End Of The Bar Cart?

Author: Lauren Coleman

The lovely Lolly and I both have similar plans for our snugs; a versatile, stylish space to work and play. You can catch up on Lolly’s inspiration post for her gorgeous room (with lots of handy comments on lighting too) in our archive.
Back at our house the snug alcove cupboard has been built and undercoated, the custom fire surround has been requested and the sofa has been ordered too. James has fashioned me a desk out of scaffolding boards and I’ve had one mega clearout of all my craft supplies. My parents are down this week and my Dad is very kindly wallpapering the inside of my old cabinet with palm tree paper. We’re making progress. Very, very slow progress.

I’ve added the before shot of the room into the header to give you a reminder of the space. I’ve measured where all the furniture will go and so far there’s a rather large gap underneath the adorable porthole window.
Anyway as you may have guessed from the title, the purpose of this post is to talk bar carts. Those gorgeous wheeled contraptions designed to be a companion to your cocktails. They had their hey-day in the seventies but made a very chic come-back a few years ago.
The gap is crying out for a pretty yet practical bit of furniture and my heart is saying, “Do it, do it, splash out on a trolley for your drinks and be done with it. You need an elegant Rowan and Wren cocktail station in your life.’ Then my practical head tells me to stop being so frivolous and invest in something that isn’t a flash-in-the-pan trend. There I was banging on earlier this week about my low budget and strict expenditure. How hypocritical.

On the trend front though, I remember pinning a drinks trolley to my Pinterest board about five years ago. In the grand scheme of interior trends, shouldn’t this one be over and done with now? Based on their maturity you’d think they’d have become a bit cheaper. Maybe it’s because they’re practically a modern classic these days or perhaps I haven’t been privvy to the world shortage of castors which makes adding wheels on to a bookcase a pricey affair.

William Morris would be proud. Looking at the gallery of bar trolley images above they are so darn beautiful and so useful too.
I’ve got a bar tray in my dining room so I’m used to the level of dusting such a display involves and I’ve got any amount of pretty glassware and a few bottles of gin. Heck I’m halfway there. As the budget for my house redecoration runs thin perhaps I should just grab another tray and style one up instead. I particularly like the set-up in the gallery below via Elle Decor, especially the cockatoo. Oh, but the wheels! I think I need wheels. And I’m not sure an Ikea hack cuts it.

Has bar cart fever peaked for you? (Did you ever really care?!) Any furniture finds you’d like to share with me to stop me parting with the best part of £400? The Oliver Bonas circular one below one is calling me…

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Lauren likes Paris, Prosecco and Paint Charts
Follow Lauren on instagram @mrslaurencoleman

44 thoughts on “Is This The End Of The Bar Cart?

  1. I bought an old lady tea trolley from a charity shop a couple of years ago. It was gold rimmed but had a fake wood veneer on the trays, a layer of marble contact paper (available from Amazon) and it’s the perfect (£390 cheaper than Oliver Bonas) bar cart!

    1. Perfect Ellie. How do you find the shelves hold up on the tea trolley? I had my eye on one last year for our old summer house (I think it was about £15) but the one I found was really flimsy. Maybe I need to start the second hand search again x

      1. So far there’s been no issue with flimsiness; it’s held 20+ bottles leftover from cocktail parties plus all my plates. Maybe you were just unlucky with the one you found?

        1. Oh that’s quite a collection Ellie. This one definitely wouldn’t have held up to that. Yours sounds brilliant x

    2. I have one of these tea trolleys too! We spray painted the whole thing but have also used the marble contact paper for other house projects and its fab!! We picked ours up for a fiver from a charity shop and looks great. The West Elm ones are stunning but im not sure I could justify the price. Tea trolleys are a fab cheaper alternative! Holds the numerous bottles of gin and rum perfectly 😉 x

  2. Yep! I have a bar alcove – takes up far less room. I’ve posted a pic of said alcove on IG #rmstuesdaytreats

    1. Oh my, I definitely need that tray Kate. With a toddler trashing around I’m firmly in the bar tray camp for a while yet….at least I can continue to shift it out of reach.

  3. oh I am in complete agreement about this post, so can offer no practical advice because I run the same dilemma. We currently have a bar tray on the sideboard in the lounge but when we move house next year, we will have more room which I feel total warrants a full on bar trolley, but the other half thinks they’re dated and old fashioned and I suspect believes they belong back in the 70s (he doesn’t appreciate they are now Pinterest-worthy again) and I thought the exact same, “will I want to get rid in about 6 months and regret the purchase”. But then I thought, what about parties?! So I’m on the hunt for a cheaper, second hand, project to do up which I don’t think will be part of our new lounge (probably safer with a toddler running around) perhaps one that can be folded down and kept in the garage but I can bring it out at Christmas or for summer barbeques and then maybe it will find a place in the house if I can persuade the husband and I fall in love with it, I really don’t think he’ll buy into me dropping hundreds of quid on a stylish one *sobs* (I’m fine) 🙂 x

    1. Claire. I love this idea of a fold-down party version! Let me know how you go finding a second hand version x

  4. When we moved into our house last year I wanted a bar cart but (rightly or wrongly) my husband didn’t see the point! We bought the Fabrikor cabinet from Ikea – http://www.ikea.com/gb/en/catalog/products/00242278/ – and store our “fancy” glasses, tea set and gin/whisky/champagne in it. It’s a bit more practical and takes up less room. I have also adorned it with fairy lights which makes everything look better! Everyone comments on how lovely it is, and I have to agree 🙂 Not sure this helps at all Lauren?!

    1. What a gorgeous cabinet Marianne. I bet it looks fab with the lights and fancy bits inside. I think it might be a little bit too tall for the space as the TV (grrr) has to go on the alcove behind it). Very tempted to use in the dining room though. You naughty lady ;

      1. We have it in our dining room…do it! 😉 If you follow me on Instagram (mrsmariannesarah) you’ll be able to see it! 🙂

  5. I would LOVE a bar trolley. We got some beautiful (and I mean seriously spoiled) decanters as wedding gifts and wanted to display them. I bought a grey butler tray table from Cox and Cox http://www.coxandcox.co.uk/provence-butlers-tray-table-in-dove-grey (when it was in the sale at half price – but then I loved it so much I bought a second one!) and display the decanters and some booze on there. It is super sturdy and they look great. Maybe a cheaper option? Plus if the bar cart ever then does go out of fashion, you can re-use the tray table for something else?!

    1. Thanks Milly. I had looked at a few tray tables, as you say, much more versatile and cheaper too. It’s just I really like the wheels on a trolley… I feel a hack coming on! x

      1. To be fair, what other piece of furniture in your home will have wheels??? Therefore, the wheel element is the way to justify this purchase!! x

  6. I love the bar carts! They’re so pretty. I’d love one but the dusting (especially with two dogs), the price (i’d never have got it past the husband) and the temptation to have a glass or two every night because it looks so pretty & well… it’s just there so why not, means I’ve opted for a drinks cabinet instead.
    At £25 for a retro 1930 cabinet seemed like a bargain (very similar to this one http://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/252503316409?_trksid=p2055119.m1438.l2649&ssPageName=STRK%3AMEBIDX%3AIT).
    I’m in the process of painting it up, replacing the glass, handles and light. Stupidly I thought it would be a great idea to jazz up the inside with a cool pattern, which has taken forever to paint! Meaning i’m still nowhere near finished, but i’m sure it will be fabulous once it’s finished.
    Maybe once all the work on the house is done I might find a multipurpose trolley to use at parties… 🙂

    1. This is immense Victoria. What a find! You must share pics when you’ve done your version – would love to see x

  7. I was also on the prowl for a budget bar cart but failed in my mission. Then as luck would have it Next had a lovely mirrored cocktail cabinet from their Hex range in the Xmas sale. I like it because although it does take up a bit of space it stores loads (all my glasses and bottles) and it keeps the dust off them and is more kid friendly than a tray or cart. But to be honest if the right cart came along and stole my heart I’d probably have to get it too!!

    1. So chic Corinne and the dust-free aspect is very appealing after I’ve had a few breakage incidents with over-zealous feather dusting…

  8. My bar cart is my pride and joy. Wanted one for years and then randomly saw one on Facebook that someone was selling for £15. It was a wooden vintage one and I love it.
    Have since spent time looking for various items. Star find was a vintage 60’s soda dispenser.

    I love it and guests always comment.

  9. I have a round marble and brass number from Swoon.

    My head tells me it’s utterly frivolous and impractical especially with a baby imminently joining our ranks……but my heart thinks it is just so pretty and makes me so happy (even whilst currently abstaining from the collection of gin it holds).

  10. This is hilarious as my mum is moving house and is head over heels in love with the circular Oliver Bonas one – I think it’s pointless, frivolous and soooo expensive but she just can’t stop thinking about it! She’s hoping the sale goes through before they’re out of stock. And don’t even get me started about the two chairs and matching parlour table she wants from Loaf. Ehem best part of £800 (!!!!) so this is an on point topic for me today! Xx

  11. I have a beautiful mid century bar cart but sadly all the bar goods have moved to a high shelf and it’s now been used as a (very stylish) kitchen for my toddlers pots, pans and tea set! It’s so depressing!!!

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