Best Bar Carts

Updated September 2021
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BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We only make money if you purchase a product through our links, and all opinions about the products are our own. Read more  
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We buy all products with our own funds, and we never accept free products from manufacturers.Read more 
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How we decided

We purchase every product we review with our own funds — we never accept anything from product manufacturers.

30 Models Considered
8 Hours Researched
3 Experts Interviewed
154 Consumers Consulted
Zero products received from manufacturers.

We purchase every product we review with our own funds — we never accept anything from product manufacturers.

Buying guide for best bar carts

One of the more iconic and lasting fixtures of the mid-twentieth century is the bar cart. These simple yet elegant carts are must-haves for people who like to entertain in various rooms of their home. Embracing styles from vintage to industrial, bar carts are not only used to store and serve alcohol, they can also double as bathroom storage, extra table space, or even as a mobile plant stand.

Before buying a bar cart, there are some questions to ponder. For example, what size cart should you buy? Do you want one that can also be used outdoors? You may also be wondering how much bar carts cost, what style would work best in your home, and which features are worth the money.

In this guide, we present the answers to your bar cart questions. We also offer information about some of our favorite bar carts on the market. The next time you’re ready to enjoy cocktails or other scrumptious drinks at home, we hope you do it in style with your perfect new bar cart.

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Bar carts can be loaded with appetizers, sandwiches, and snacks to create an all-in-one party cart.

Key considerations

Size

Bar carts tend to be 3 to 4 feet high and 2 to 4 feet long. While a larger cart holds more bottles, glassware, and other bartending staples, it can be cumbersome to move around, and it takes up more space. Consider how you plan to use your bar cart: will you pull it out for the occasional nightcap, or will you entertain with it every weekend? Consider, too, the amount of space you have for these activities.

Weight

The weight of a bar cart depends on its size and what it’s made of. While a heavier bar cart may offer more stability, it can also be more difficult to move around, especially on carpeting. The average bar cart weighs 20 to 30 pounds, though some can reach 40 or 50 pounds.

Indoor vs. outdoor

Some bar carts are strictly meant for indoor use. Others boast a finish that could hold up to adverse weather if you were to use it outside. If you plan to use your bar cart on a deck, be sure it is up to the task.

Appearance

Bar carts come in a variety of styles, from art deco to industrial to vintage. Some deviate from the traditional rectangular shape, and some come in a choice of colors. Consider the décor of your home as well as your personal taste when evaluating the look of a bar cart.

A decorative accent such as a vase filled with flowers or an attractive candle can help dress up a bar cart and make it shine.

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Features

Materials

Bar carts can be made from a variety of materials. Vintage-style bar carts tend to feature wood, whereas industrial carts favor chrome or metal. Glass and wood are popular shelving materials, as are wire and mirrored glass.

Storage

While some bar carts include cabinets, this is rare. Storage on a bar cart is usually in the form of two or three shelves. As mentioned, wood and glass are popular shelving materials, with glass allowing you to see everything at a glance. Some high-end carts include a cutting board on the top shelf for your convenience.

Racks

A bar cart may include a glass rack or a wine rack.

Glass racks: A glass rack can help you keep glassware for drinks handy yet out of the way. These racks usually attach to the underside of the top shelf. To hang a glass, simply flip it upside down and slide it into the rack.

Wine rack: Some bar carts include a wine rack where you can store several bottles of wine. The rack may feature compartments that hold bottles upright or grooves that allow you to store bottles lying down.

Handles

The majority of bar carts have one or two handles so you can easily push or pull the cart to wherever you are entertaining. The ideal handle is rugged and ergonomically designed.

Wheels

The majority of bar carts have four wheels. Wheels that lock will keep your cart from rolling off on its own.

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DID YOU KNOW?
If limited space is an issue, a folding bar cart may be the right solution. You can easily break out the cart when needed, and you can fold it up and out of the way between get-togethers.
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Bar cart prices

Inexpensive: Bar carts under $100 are smaller and less durable than more expensive carts. These tend to be made of lightweight metal and glass and feature few extras. If you are in search of a simple cart for personal use, start here.

Mid-range: If you occasionally entertain, consider a bar cart in the $100 to $200 range. These offer a stylish, rugged build in addition to extras such as a wine rack or glass rack.

Expensive: Bar carts over $200 are for people who are seriously into entertaining and like keeping an elegant, well-stocked bar. Often made of fine wood or heavy metal, these carts tend to be on the large side with deluxe features such as a cutting board and storage cabinet.

Because they move on wheels, expect your bar cart to be less mobile on carpeted floors.

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Tips

  • Add a decorative lamp. If you plan on mixing drinks directly on your bar cart — and why wouldn’t you? — add a decorative lamp to the top shelf to throw a bit of light on your work area.
  • Balance the décor. If you plan to do a fair amount of decorating on your bar cart (by adding flowers or other accents), go with a cart with a more modern appearance. Vintage carts have a raw appeal which can quickly be lost if they are overly cluttered.
  • Be ready for spills. They happen. Some bar carts include a handy built-in towel holder. You could also use the cart handle as a towel holder.
  • Outfit your cart with the essentials. In addition to a cart to hold your liquor and mixers, don’t forget to add a bartending kit to shake it all together just right.
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A classic approach to outfitting your bar cart is to keep the primary liquor on the top shelf and mixers and other supplies on the bottom.

FAQ

Q. How easy is it to assemble a bar cart?

A. Except on rare occasions, some assembly will be required when you first receive your bar cart. Often, assembly is simple and requires no tools. If you are worried about the difficulty of an assembly, be sure to read the product specs before making a purchase.

Q. I’m not much of a drinker. Do I really need a bar cart?

A. A big advantage of a bar cart is its versatility. If you don’t wish to use it to store alcohol, you could use it as a living room side table or bedroom night stand. You could load it up with towels and personal products for the bathroom or add a fruit bowl, dishes, and cookbooks for use in the kitchen. Some people use a bar cart as a plant stand or a place for a printer and office supplies. You are only limited by your imagination.

Q. What type of alcohol should I stock?

A. While you should focus on what you enjoy drinking, don’t forget to stock other liquors to provide options for guests. Some standard liquors to consider include vodka, whiskey, gin, rum, and tequila. Extras such as vermouth and flavored liqueurs will expand your menu, as will a selection of soda, juice, and tonic water. A couple bottles of wine and a selection of beer will help round out your bar cart’s libation offerings.

 

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