Cocktail carts are back in vogue. Dolce & Gabbana has included one in its first home appliance line. Meanwhile at the luxury design e-commerce site 1stdibs, sales increased by 30%. 1stdibs editorial director Anthony Barzilay Freund said: “People are trying to recreate the experience of happy hour like at home. “And who doesn’t need ‘happier’ hours these days?”
The original portable beverage cart was a pretty sober affair designed to serve Victorian ladies their afternoon tea. It wasn’t until the 1950s, and the post-war boom in home entertainment, that the cocktail trolley became a success – inspiring a host of designs that combined theater with practicality. Modern – mid-Middle Ages – particularly Brazilian and Scandinavian pieces – are “especially coveted”, says Barzilay Freund, pointing to the “noble lines” of a cart, says Barzilay Freund. in 1959 rare bronze and wood by Brazilian designer Jorge Zalszupin (€35,840, 1stdibs.com). Another key piece is Atelier Mategot’s Devil Tea Trolley, which features three tiers of perforated metal in red, black and white (€2,759, 1stdibs.com).
The almost childlike simplicity of a 1940s wooden and lino stroller by Finnish designer Alvar Aalto will speak to minimalists (18,000€, 1stdibs.com). As well as the 1986 Manhattan Stroller by Ettore Sottass (1,860€, memphis-milano.com) But if I were to shake a drink, it had to be an octagonal red snakeskin trolley full of glitzy garbage by 1970s designer Karl Springer ($7,200, 1stdibs.com).
Paul Middlemiss, Founder of Classical Experts Merchant & Found, there’s “a bit of a fetish” to the stroller. His current favorite is a pair of 1960s aluminum examples he picked up from a plant nursery in Eastern Europe (£475 each). Rattan has also grown in popularity thanks to a ’70s revival. “It’s eco-friendly, it’s got a holiday vibe, and it’s tactile.”
Cabinet worker Small Halstock create a custom cart (POA). “You can have dedicated spaces for spirits and glassware, a built-in silver cooler and a concealed drawer for bar supplies,” says director Luke Wycherley. “Sometimes a customer asks for a suitable cigar humidifier.” It is also possible to incorporate a rolling shutter – known as a tambour door – which can also be incorporated. “We recently did a project that was decorated with a marquetry night scene,” says Wycherley.
If space is short, Italian furniture company Kartell some sleek designs in chrome and colored plastic (from £645). But really, this piece of furniture should be for show only. The ice white Chariot table by contemporary designers Horm & Casamania has large wheels that I’m sure rarely move (£1,459) amara.com). But the joy of a cocktail cart is simply knowing that you can swing it if you want to – or even better, someone can bring the bar to you.