I love treating a bar cart like its own mini-party. Invite girlfriends or a couple over for casual drinks and wow them with a stunning bar cart on the patio.
Bar carts have become quite a trend, but they’re actually unbelievably practical! Most have wheels making them easily portable to move around your house—or outside. Plus, they are perfect for small, confined spaces, and make it easy to change up and style for the changing seasons or special occasions.
To start, I like to choose a theme. For a lovely summer afternoon, I decided on Lemons and Rosé. Choose a signature cocktail, like a Spiked Pomegranate Lemonade (recipe below), that way you don’t have to have a full cart of different liquors and guests can grab a cocktail as soon as they arrive. Have garnishes, glasses, straws, and ice, along with the pre-mixed cocktail (I served mine here in a beverage dispenser) available and on the cart, making it simple for guests to serve themselves. I also like to have an alternative to the cocktail option, like rosé, and a nonalcoholic offering, like sparkling water.
Styling and decorating the cart can be fun. Create height and visual interest with books, trays, and even cake stands. For this summer cart, I played on the theme Lemons and Rosé by using lots of bright yellow lemons and pink peonies cut from the yard. I made a special floral garland from ferns and draped it across the front of the cart—making for a beautiful summer statement.
Pulling together an exceptional bar cart like this doesn’t have to be difficult. A quick trip to the liquor store and grocery (for flowers and cocktail ingredients) is all you need to get started. Keep the styling of your cart simple by pulling accessories you already own from around your house. Don’t feel intimidated like you have to create a floral masterpiece—a simple vase of fresh flowers will do the trick. With a little effort, you can turn simple afternoon drinks with friends into a thoughtful mini-party they’re sure to never forget!
My Favorite Bar Carts & Where to Find Them
As I said before, bar carts are back “on trend,” so finding them is never too hard. Whether you’re not looking to spend too much (try this one at Target!), you’re searching for the best on the market (Serena & Lily), or you’re in need of something in between (try this one from Anthrolpogy in Green Hills), these will inspire you to throw a summer soirée.
Local Sources for Decorating Your Bar Cart
For the florals: Import Flowers on Murphy Road
To Drink: The Bottle Shop in Cool Springs, for those of you that live out that way!
Glassware and Trays: The Registry
Books: Parnassus in Green Hills
To invite your people: Rock, Paper, Scissors in downtown Franklin
Paper: Hester & Cook in West Nashville
Party decor go-to: Vroom Vroom Balloon in East Nashville
Vintage Barware: Scarlett Scales in Franklin
Spiked Pomegranate Mint Lemonade
Serves 8 to 10
1 cup sugar
1 cup water, plus 7 cups
½ cup fresh mint, packed
6 lemons, juiced
2 cups Vodka
Optional garnishes: fresh lemon slices and mint
To make the mint-infused simple syrup, roughly tear or chop mint leaves in half. Combine 1 cup of sugar, 1 cup of water, and mint leaves in a saucepan over medium heat, stirring gently and constantly, until all sugar is dissolved. Remove from heat and let cool completely. Using a fine mesh strainer, strain the mint leaves out of the simple syrup and transfer to a sterilized air-tight container. Use immediately or store in the refrigerator for up to one month.
To make the drink, in a pitcher or drink dispenser, combine the syrup, 7 cups of water, lemon juice, vodka, and ice.Stir to combine. Garnish with a splash of pomegranate juice, lemon slices, and/or fresh mint.
Make it ahead: Go ahead and make the mint-infused simple syrup and store in the refrigerator for up to 1 month. Slice and juice lemons up to a day in advance and make the lemonade just before guests arrive.