Entertaining with a Well-Styled Bar Cart

The bar cart is having quite the moment

Small in size and sophisticated, the home bar has gone from hiding in a cupboard to being a front-and-center showstopper. (And it has never looked better.) Stocked with local spirits,
swell bar accessories, mixology books and your most charming glassware, a well-styled bar cart adds polish and panache to your everyday—and party—décor. How to steal this look? We tapped Sheena Kalso, founder of North Lake Union–based party prep and event coordination company The Invisible Hostess (theinvisiblehostess.com) for her advice on effortlessly mixing a stocked bar cart into your abode. (Cat optional.)

Placement is key: We played up the gold-leaf finish on this wheeled wonder by opting for a position under a Diem Chau painting with gold-toned accents. As an alternative, Kalso suggests hanging a mirror over your bar to draw the eye (and for a quick hair check, too). Show your pride in local spirits with favorite made-in-Washington liquors, such as Ballard-based Captive Spirits Distillery’s Big Gin or something from Woodinville Whiskey. “I like my bar area to engage my guests,” says Kalso. Incorporate eye-catching color via vibrant trays, glassware, and patterned plates and napkins. She adds, “You can’t own too many old fashioned glasses. These [lowball glasses] are great all-purpose-style glasses that work well for your cocktails as well as any nonalcoholic drinks.”

Top shelf: Bar cart ($850), tall martini pitcher ($48) and large blossom vase ($73) from Madison Valley’s home décor haven Maison Luxe (2806 E Madison St.; 206.405.2828; maisonluxe.net). Greek key highball glasses ($250/set of four) and orange tray ($150 for 16-inch square) from Veritables (Bellevue, 10220 Main St.; 425.455.8335; veritablesdecor.com). Match pewter-and-glass ice bucket (and tongs) ($370), shot glasses ($44 each) and rocks glasses ($71 each), and napkin holder ($14) from Hedge & Vine (Bellevue, 10028 Main St.; 425.451.7872; hedgeandvine.com). Ribbed Champagne flutes ($12.50 each) and napkins ($5.95/24-pack) from West Seattle décor shop Capers (4525 California Ave. SW; 206.932.0371; caperscapers.blogspot.com).

Bottom shelf: From left: Small geometric vase ($42) from Maison Luxe. Horse origami sculpture (behind bottles, $30), orange martini glasses ($40/set of four) and Greek key decanter ($215), all from Veritables. Dessert coupe glasses ($9.95 each), Rosanna Portico appetizer plates (round set of four, $44; square set of four, $33) and geode bookends ($100 per pair) similar from Capers.

When in doubt, Kalso advises, opt for less variety but higher quality, and don’t stress about hunting down hard-to-find tools or garnishes (who really needs brandied cherries?). Stick to the basics that will satisfy everyone, such as sparkling water or a batch of artisan bitters like Dram Hair of the Dog ($22), Scrappy’s ($22) or Bittermens ($24) from SugarPill (pictured left; 900 E Pine St.; 206.322.7455; sugarpillseattle.com). Also shown: Match pewter bottle opener ($65) from Hedge & Vine and Iacoli & McAllister hexagon brass bottle opener ($48), at Totokaelo (1523 10th Ave.; 206.623.3582; totokaelo.com).


The essential cocktail library: Ginger Bliss and the Violet Fizz: A Cocktail Lover’s Guide to Mixing Drinks Using New and Classic Liqueurs ($19.95) and In Their Cups: An Anthology of Poems About Drinking Places, Drinks, and Drinkers ($9.95) by Seattle magazine columnist A.J. Rathbun; and The Best Shots You’ve Never Tried: 100+ Intoxicating Oddities You’ll Actually Want to Put Down ($14.95) by Andrew Bohrer, of Vinum Importing in SoDo. All from amazon.com