Bar carts are back, and they've brought rituals of relaxation along for the ride

Cocktail Hour

Somehow it doesn’t seem to matter that we have more time-saving devices than ever. Our schedules just get busier and busier, while "self care" has become a buzzword that is discussed on end but not really practiced habitually. Finding time to sit and decompress at the end of the day seems like a luxury. So we’re here today with a recommendation that is both an investment in your wellbeing and a hot interior design trend: ladies and gentlemen, let's talk about bar carts.

Vintage Midcentury Bar Cart Photo © Zeitlos
Sure, the Mad Men-types might have overdone the whiskey consumption a bit, but an occasional evening drink (alcohol optional) with friends, great music, a good book, or just some peace and quiet is a completely different story. Adding a beautifully designed, styled, and stocked bar cart to your home—preferably next to a comfy lounge chair and accompanied by candles or mood lighting—is a lovely way to build a ritual of daily de-stressing into your life. And we’re so here for it!

Bar carts were all the rage for most of the last century, so there are lots of gorgeous vintage pieces to be had in a wide range of design genres. Plus, of course, there are a handful of tastemaking contemporary designers who are attentive to the renewed passion for mobile bars and serving trolleys. Basically, whatever your taste, you've got bar cart options for days. Check out our brisk guide to serving carts below. Just add drinks, a few well-chosen accessories, and maybe a plant or two, and you’ve got the perfect, chic oasis to unwind at home in the evenings.


The Modernist

The bar cart heyday was definitely the midcentury era. The huge variety of modernist bar trolleys in glorious woods like teak and rosewood range from organisational geniuses, in which everything gets packed neatly away behind a refined front, to open versions that allow you to display beautiful bar accessories, magazines, vases, or plants—whatever belongs in your personal relaxation domain.

Names to look for include many of the Danish design legends like Hans J. Wegner and Poul Cadovius, as well as modernist design manufacturers like CFC Silkeborg , Sika Møbler , Hundevad & Co , and Andreas Tuck. These chameleons-like beauties can be styled in a range of ways, from more classic to minimalist, or even with a cool boho vibe. They move fast, though, so don’t hesitate too long over your decision!


The Bauhaus

Photos © Antiquari & Zeitlos
The Bauhaus school of design is renowned for its intellectual and aesthetic rigor—and the serving trolley designs that were influenced by its "form follows function" ethos are no exception. Offering a cooler, more austere take on modernist refinement, Bauhaus drinks carts often incorporate tubular steel, aluminium, and glass. We particularly love the over-sized wheels on some of them; they remind us of Kandinsky paintings with their graphic shapes and lines.


The Art Deco

Photos © Oldenbeuving Vintage & DesignTwenty
In bothcontemporary objects and interior design, Art Deco influences are everywhere at the moment. And no wonder; the graceful curves and sumptuous materials like brass, chrome, glass, and walnut give the Art Deco style an unmistakable glam factor. Many of the Deco bar carts—or tea trolleys as they were more often called at the time—are round or oval in shape, which makes them an ideal centerpiece within a variety space. Beautiful from all angles! We're particularly loving the rare vintage pieces with original colored glass trays.


The Boho

Boho-style tea and drinks carts are all about an organic, relaxed aesthetic in wicker, rattan, and bamboo; pieces that feel homely, warm, and uncomplicated. No need to worry about coasters or spills, these serving trolleys can handle casual use and comfortably double as plant holders for the ultimate bohemian, indoor jungle look. Keep an eye out for beautiful vintage pieces from Italian brand Bonacina , Dutch manufacturer Rohé Noordwolde, and the Austrian designer Carl Auböck.


The Postmodernist

In the postmodernist era, the seemingly limitless malleability of plastics combined with boundry-busting creativity. What that meant for serving carts was an array of new shapes, from Space Age pieces that literally look like UFOs and colorful blocks reminiscent of lego pieces, to sleek minimalist numbers in smoky plexi or pristine white. Hard-wearing, fun, and full of retro verve, vintage postmodernist bar carts are a wonderfully unexpected take on a newly resurgent interior design trend.

The Italian designers and producers were really at the forefront of the movement. Anna Castelli designed the multipurpose Componibili Quadrati Trolley for Kartell—a piece that could easily be at home in the office, kitchen, or as a drinks trolley; legendary designer Joe Colombo created a purpose-built mobile bar, as well as several multifunctional trolleys. Italian avant garde design brands Guzzini and Artemide have some great bar carts in their back catalogues; even Alessi turned out a speedy-looking bar cart with large wheels in in the 1980s.


The Contemporary

Photos © Mingardo & Casa Botelho
Ever inventive and always looking for ways to re-shape existing typologies, contemporary designers are also trying their hands at serving carts. Metalwork masters Mingardo offer the Rollingin Trolley; a combination of minimalist chic and “primordial” functionality, with a eye-catching large roller in place of wheels. Talented Italian designer Lorenza Bozzoli created the timelessly charming Sushi Cart for Colé, apparently drawing on influences as diverse as Japanese lacquered wood boxes and midcentury plant stands. Meanwhile, London-based brand Casa Botelho has created a whole line of bar tables. While they lack wheels, we wanted to shout-out their uniqueness. Truly something for everyone.


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