The Best Bar Carts Make Room for More Than Just Bottles and Glassware
Cheers to these picks that work overtime.
Published Apr 13, 2022 1:25 AM
Reading up on Domino’s shopping guides is like having your own personal product concierge. We do the tedious part—deep-dive research, hands-on testing, and tapping experts for advice—so all you have to do is hit “add to cart.” That’s why we call them Simply the Best.
The best bar carts grow with you, through big (or small!) moves and changing tastes. They’re landmark “adult” purchases—inherently more mature than six-packs of warm beer or a shelf of boxed wine. A great one announces you as a practiced host; an even better one bends to the needs you have. If that’s to corral your bottles and cocktail glasses, perfect. But maybe you’re looking for a place to display all your fancy coffee gear, a landing pad for serving dishes, or just some extra storage for cookbooks or your favorite dinner party records. We’ve searched high and low for the best bar carts for whatever kind of night you’re hosting. Here’s how we picture our favorites in your home.
- For the clean-lines lover: Crate & Barrel Adina Black Cart
- For the budget-conscious bon vivant: Urban Outfitters Colette Bar Cart
- For the mid-century buff: Artek Aalto Tea Trolley 901
- For the forward thinker: Dims Barbican Play Trolley
- For the natural aesthete: West Elm Rounded Wood Bar Cart
- For the funky first-timer: Novogratz Penelope Outdoor/Indoor Cart
- For the rattan fanatic: CB2 Feliz Rattan Bar Cart
- For the small-space host: EQ3 Bar Cart
- For the polished class act: Williams Sonoma Beckett Bar Cart
For the Clean-Lines Lover: Crate & Barrel Adina Black Cart
Height: 34 inches | Material: Iron with black powder-coated finish and concrete | Shelves: 2 | Wheel count: 4
What we like:
- Wide enough for record player/vinyl storage
- Timeless colors
- Elegant and no frills
- Assembly required
Why we chose it: Simple in the best way and certain to outlast any design fad with a streamlined structure and edge.
Modernists and minimalists alike can rejoice in this solid bar cart from Crate & Barrel. The fixed concrete shelves are wide enough for an array of uses beyond storing beverages (hello, chicest vinyl storage ever). Straightforward lines keep the piece from feeling tied to any one decor style. Some light assembly is required, but nothing too advanced.
For the Budget-Conscious Bon Vivant: Urban Outfitters Colette Bar Cart
Height: 33.25 inches | Material: Iron, marble, glass | Shelves: 3 | Wheel count: 4
What we like:
- Dedicated wineglass racks
- Lots of storage
- Requires assembly
Why we chose it: Brass detailing and glass shelves complete this darling first apartment–appropriate bar cart.
Imagine you’re outfitting your very first bar cart. It might include wineglasses, a vase of dried flowers, paper napkins, and something bubbly. This option from Urban Outfitters is just the piece. Rounded edges give a sophisticated feel, and a tiny shelf breaks up an otherwise classic design.
For the Mid-Century Buff: Artek Aalto Tea Trolley 901
Height: 22 inches | Material: Solid birch frame, linoleum or laminate trays | Shelves: 2 | Wheel count: 2
What we like:
- Treaded wheels to protect the floor
- Visually interesting
- Recessed trays
- Availability subject to change
- Requires assembly
Why we chose it: The kind of bar cart you design a room around.
Made in Finland and inspired by Japanese woodwork and British tea culture, this gorgeous bar cart offers a timeless birch frame and slightly recessed surfaces. Originally designed by iconic duo Alvar and Aino Aalto, the Tea Trolley 901 was given a tonal twist by Dutch industrial designer and color expert Hella Jongerius, and now comes in light and dark colorways. While the cart isn’t the most agile of the bunch, it’s fantastic for arranging flowers or books, as long as you can wait a few weeks for delivery.
For the Forward Thinker: Dims Barbican Play Trolley
Height: 24.4 inches | Material: Fine-sand powder–coated steel | Shelves: 3 | Wheel count: 4
What we like:
- 10-year warranty
- Varying shelf height
- Black wheels in all colors
Why we chose it: The bar cart you’re most likely to find in a chic Brooklyn apartment.
Utilitarianism isn’t quite the right descriptor for it, but this bar cart does serve endless purposes. Thanks to its varying shelf heights, taller items can live alongside books, papers, or just general overflow. Available in white, forest green, and black colorways, the black wheels can feel a bit pronounced, but the overall aesthetic is that of a true design chameleon.
For the Natural Aesthete: West Elm Rounded Wood Bar Cart
Height: 33.5 inches | Material: Hand-wrapped rattan | Shelves: 3 | Wheel count: 4
What we like:
- Hand-wrapped rattan over mahogany wood
- Tempered-glass shelves
- Made with FSC-certified wood
- Quite tall
Why we chose it: This bar cart commands attention in the most natural way.
West Elm hits a home run with this three-shelve bar cart. The curved detail of the hand-wrapped rattan feels fresh and different from that which was popular in the 1980s (in a very good way). Made with responsibly sourced wood, this piece is the kind of furniture you count on for a media center, a drinks HQ, or a little extra room for the design books you keep buying.
For the Funky First-Timer: Novogratz Penelope Outdoor/Indoor Cart
Height: 30.6 inches | Material: Alloy steel | Shelves: 2 | Wheel count: 4
What we like:
- Durable for indoor or outdoor use
- Comes in 4 colors
- Utilitarian wheels
Why we chose it: Striking in bright, bold shades, this versatile bar cart works poolside to deskside.
New to bar carts? Start here. Under $100, this steel alloy cart is as durable and practical as they come. Two wheels lock to secure the cart in place, but also offer an easy transition from indoor to outdoor. The weather-resistant finish gives the piece a bit of a utilitarian feeling, but with the right glasses and enough bottles of orange wine, it will fit right in.
For the Rattan Fanatic: CB2 Feliz Rattan Bar Cart
Height: 32 inches | Material: Rattan and plywood | Shelves: 2 | Wheel count: 4
What we like:
- Designed by Barcelona-based Mermelada Estudio
- Antique brass casters
- Vintage feel
- Coasters recommended
- Extra length from handle
Why we chose it: Get the feel of a French flea-market find without the inordinate shipping fees.
This bar cart is surprisingly affordable for the amount of personality it packs into 35 inches. Details like antique brass casters and woven shelf bases give the piece lots of individuality. Of course, keeping a cart this special immaculate, especially when alcohol might be involved, is paramount. Cleaning with a damp cloth is recommended, as well as coasters. And the curved handlebar makes positioning the cart in a tiny apartment a touch complicated. Think of it as just another delightful design challenge.
For the Small-Space Host: EQ3 Bar Cart
Height: 27 inches | Material: Wood | Shelves: 2 | Wheel count: 2
What we like:
- Available in black oak, natural oak, and walnut
- Removable top tray
- Serving cart and mobile side table in one
- Only 2 shelves
Why we chose it: This bar cart is cool enough to serve double duty as a portable side table.
Designed by Montreal-based Thom Fougere Studio, this bar cart is every host’s best-case scenario. A removable top shelf allows the piece to function as a single surface. Lift the back leg, wheelbarrow-style, for easy movability. The single wood tone feels cozy in a Nordic way. It’s not the most spacious bar cart on the market, but it might be the most charming.
For the Polished Class Act: Williams Sonoma Beckett Bar Car
Height: 35.5 inches | Material: Welded steel, leather, glass | Shelves: 3 | Wheel count: 4
What we like:
- Eligible for white-glove or doorstep delivery
- Hand-polished finish
- Nonscratch wheels
- Indoor use only
Why we chose it: This brass bar cart will look brilliant decked out with your favorite cocktail books and coasters.
Classic in the best way, this stunning bar cart from Williams Sonoma is sure to be something you’ll keep forever. Three spacious shelves and two locking wheels check all the boxes for practicality. Details like rolled leather handles and die-cast metal joints elevate the piece.
How to Set Up a Bar Cart in Style
Your bar cart is your blank canvas. If you’re stuck, pick a theme. Not in a dusty, holiday-ornaments-in-a-hurricane way, but more like a baseline. Welcoming guests in a spare bedroom? Wheel in a bar cart outfitted with a water carafe, tissues, clean towels, and a candle. Hoping to impress a date? Stock wine recommended from your neighborhood shop and plenty of colored stemware from Etsy. As with most things, less is more when it comes to decorating a visually compelling bar cart.
How We Chose These Products
Choosing the best bar carts on the market is no simple task. We ask a lot of them, certainly more than to just store booze. We considered the ways owners get creative with the extra storage, the bar cart’s agility, and the number of shelves. Providing options in every price range is just as important as covering our design bases. Rattan is just not for everyone. A brass bar cart could feel stuffy to one person and delightful to another. Powder-coated steel might suit your style and feel off-putting to someone else. That’s why we included all kinds of materials and shapes in our list.
Our Shopping Checklist
Personal taste wins at the end of the day, but for designer Emily Ruff of Cohesively Curated Interiors, some motifs are a little oversaturated. “The brass and wood two-tray bar cart is a bit overdone at this point. Look for pieces that have some closed storage or texture like rattan to add visual interest,” advises Ruff.
Watch the wheels—or lack thereof—when looking for a bar cart that feels fresh. Think of materials you might not picture right away, such as steel or maybe a light wood like birch. According to Sanayi313‘s cofounder and interior architect, Enis Karavil, “A bar cart can be repurposed for functions other than serving alcohol, such as a nice display unit, a bedside table, a chic storage space, or a place to serve food, particularly when the tablespace is limited.”
Scale the size of your bar cart up or down, depending on the space you find yourself designing. Trying to fill an empty corner in what feels like a sprawling dining room? Go big. Looking to repurpose the last free corner in your one-bedroom apartment? Spring for something small and potentially round.
Ruff suggests optimizing shelf space within your bar cart creatively. “Many options have glassware storage added in, such as notches that the bottom of wineglasses can slide into,” she says. “With bar carts or credenzas that have closed storage, you can store table linens and serveware that aren’t used as often.” For those who’d like to shut away from the clutter: Bar cabinets, anyone?
While two shelves are customary, three can add visual interest in a way that feels modern and a little less intimidating. If you plan to store bottles of wine, make sure at least one shelf on the cart is spacious enough to proudly display your loveliest labels.
Unless you’re trying to store the free weights you can’t seem to find the right place for, to put them out of sight between workouts, most bar carts are capable of holding a good amount. Keep things evenly distributed, which means heavier objects should go toward the bottom. By allowing the top shelf the lightest load—flowers, carafes, monogrammed napkins—the whole piece will be less cluttered.
Ask yourself: Will I be moving this bar cart? If the answer is even remotely close to yes, it makes sense to prioritize a cart with wheels. In most cases, at least two wheels lock to ensure the cart stays right where you want it.
Q: Help! I’m new to this. What should go on a bar cart?
Beverages belong on a bar cart, generally. On top of that, spruce up your selection with beverage-adjacent offerings, like cocktail stirrers, glass straws, and cocktail books. Can you tell the options are pretty much endless?
Q: Can you tell me what…a rolling bar is?
A rolling bar is a bar cart on wheels! This is essential if you’re planning any sort of routine with your piece, like, “Let’s move from the parlor to the dining room,” and want to bring the cart with you. Wheel sizes can range from discrete to exaggerated.
Q: If I don’t drink, should I get a bar cart?
Curating a nonalcoholic selection on your bar cart has never been easier. Try opting for gorgeous glass bottles of your favorite seltzer, lots of limes, and the latest nonalcoholic beverage on the market, like Aplos.
The Last Word
It’s old-fashioned to think of a bar cart as just an extension of a bar itself. These wonders of versatility are the cornerstone of some of our favorite rooms—stacked full of books, bursting with crafting supplies, or meticulously organized for WFH ease.
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