Best Bar Carts of 2018
A bar cart can be used as a home bar, additional kitchen storage, or even as an end table. Our shopping guide is here to help you find the best bar cart for your specific needs.
Fancy Another Soiree? Your Guide to the Best Bar Carts
Whether you entertain frequently or simply like to pour yourself a glass of wine after a hard day, a bar cart is an attractive way of storing liquor and accessories, allowing easy access for you and your guests.
It can be challenging to select the perfect bar cart, especially if you're not sure what you're looking for. With so many options available, how do you pick the one that would best suit your needs?
If you want straightforward information that will help you make your purchase, you've come to the right place. At BestReviews, we specialize in creating fair, thorough product evaluations you can trust. To do so, we gather feedback from existing customers, consult experts, and even test products in our dedicated labs.
Check the matrix above for our top choices, then read on for our full guide to bar carts. You'll soon be enjoying your nightcap in style.
What Should I Look for in a Bar Cart?
Bar carts come in a range of styles; you'll find everything from vintage to rustic to modern on the market. Choose a style you like that matches your current decor. If you live in a minimalist modern home, a distressed wood bar cart is going to look out of place, no matter how attractive it might be.
You can find bar carts in a rainbow of color choices, from brightly painted options to unfinished wood or metal designs. Decide what color goes with your decor and work from there.
Open vs. Closed
Most bar carts are completely open; you can see everything that's on and in them. However, there are some closed models with an open top shelf and lower cabinet doors that hide the shelves behind them.
What Should I Stock on My Bar Cart?
Once you've got your bar cart, you'll need to decide what to put on it. Here are some common items stored on bar carts. You can pick and choose from this list, stock the whole lot, or come up with your own ideas.
- Liquor: Choose your favorites, or start with the basics; gin, bourbon, scotch, tequila, white rum, dark rum, vodka. Add specialty spirits as you need them.
- Tools: A jigger, cocktail shaker, strainer, bottle opener, corkscrew, ice bucket, and tongs are essential.
- Glassware: You might prefer old-fashioned glasses, highball glasses, wine glasses, or other another type of glassware that strikes your fancy.
- Mixers: Make sure you have plenty of tonic, soda water, and fresh juice ready to go. Any open juices will need to go in the fridge, however.
- Snacks: Peanuts and other sealed snacks can be stored permanently on the cart, but you may also choose to put out some perishable nibbles when you're entertaining guests.
- Decorative items: A vase of flowers, stylish cloth napkins, figurines, and so on liven up any bar cart.
Are There Alternative Uses for a Bar Cart?
Despite the name, a bar cart doesn't have to be used as a home bar. These are several common alternative uses for bar carts.
- You can use a bar cart as additional kitchen storage for pots and pans, tableware, and pantry items.
- A bar cart in the bathroom serves as a holder for towels, soaps, and other toiletries.
- A bar cart makes a nice end table in a living room, with plenty of room to keep books and magazines on lower shelves while providing a place to set drinks and the TV remote.
- If you have a dedicated laundry room, a bar cart can be a useful spot to place your detergents and clean laundry.
How Much Should I Spend on a Bar Cart?
Here's what you should expect to pay for a bar cart, and what you'll get for your money.
$30 to $100
Don't expect these basic bar carts to be particularly stylish. However, a bar cart in this lower price range should do what it's designed to do.
$100 to $250
You can find some attractive and well-made options in this price range, though they're not all gems.
$250 to $500
These high-end bar carts should be durable, well-made, and attractive to look at.
$500 and Up
Designer bar carts are even more expensive and can cost several thousand dollars. They're not necessarily better quality than high-end models, but they may be especially stylish or come from a sought-after manufacturer.
Tips for Getting the Most Out of Your Bar Cart
- Consider where you'll place your bar cart. Make sure you have room for it in your chosen location.
- Think about what you want to put on your bar cart. If you have a large collection of liquor, it may look messy if you put everything on your bar cart—unless it's a very large one. You could store less frequently used spirits in the pantry and get them out as needed.
- Look for a sturdy bar cart. A bar cart is not much good if it has rickety wheels and shelves that threaten to break if you put more than a couple of bottles on them. Opt for a sturdy bar cart that can hold a decent amount of weight.
- Figure out how many shelves you'll need. Think about what you intend to store on your bar cart, and figure out how many shelves you'll need—and of what size. There's no point buying a bar cart that doesn't have room for everything you want to put on it.
Q. I don't have enough space to keep my bar cart out at all times. What are my options?
A. Many people would like a bar cart for occasional use, but they don't have enough room to keep it out full time, or they simply wouldn't use it enough to justify keeping it out 24/7. The good news is that you can buy a folding bar cart that can be packed away and easily stored in a closet when not in use.
Q. What can I do to keep my kids out of my bar cart?
A. Owning a bar cart can be a concern if you have young children who might get into liquor bottles without knowing what it is, or if you have teenagers who might be tempted to raid the cart deliberately. You may wish to buy a closed bar cart with locking cabinets to keep alcohol stowed away when not in use.
Q. What's the best material for a bar cart?
A. You can find bar carts in a range of materials, but metal and wood are the most common. There's no "best" material; it ultimately comes down to personal preference and what kind of style you're going for.