3 Chic Bar Cart Setups to Try at Home


Instead of roaming around town looking for a bar that makes you feel at home, set up a bar cart in your own space and customize it to match your style. Whether you’re starting from scratch or building on what you’ve got, consider your design aesthetic, the types of gatherings you want to have, and the drinks you hope to serve from your bar. Then, it’s time to have fun with it.

Hadley Keller, House Beautiful’s Digital Director, helped us create 3 luxe bar setups using Johnnie Walker’s iconic catalog of Scotch whisky as inspiration. Read on for Hadley’s styling tips, a recipe for a signature Johnnie Walker cocktail to serve from each, and plenty of product recommendations so you can recreate the look in your own home—or, as we like to think of it, that place where everybody knows your name.

mid century

Christian Harder

Mid-Century Modern

Cocktails were king during this time period, which makes it an ideal design style for a home bar. Achieving a mod aesthetic boils down to the right styling for your accessories, liquor, and glassware. Hadley suggests treating your bottles like art: “If you have multiple shelves, spread your bar across them for extra visual interest,” she says. “Mix in art and accessories so your bar becomes part of your design.”

modern

Christian Harder

With its clean lines and simple embellishments, Johnnie Walker Black Label inspired this mid-century modern living room. The label’s timeless, sleek black and gold palette is a natural accompaniment to the bar’s pristine cream-colored coat and built-in shelves, polished bar tools, and smoky black accent pieces. When setting up your bar, don’t be afraid to mix metals. “No need to stick to brass or stainless here,” says Hadley. “An assortment of metals makes for a more layered look and gives you versatility in designing your drinks setup.”

Speaking of drinks, our favorite to serve at this setup is a Blood and Sand, a classic mixed drink that dates to the 1930s. A timeless cocktail, it’s best enjoyed with a few friends, sipped from era-appropriate coupe glasses with a twist of orange peel.


americana

Christian Harder

American Classic

If one of the things you love about cocktails is the way they hearken back to a slower-paced era, Hadley suggests embracing the old. “Antique and vintage elements are a must on this bar,” inspired by the details of antique American homes. “I particularly love etched glassware and small bowls, which can be used for everything from bar snacks to matches—and are always easy to find at thrift shops or estate sales.”

americana

Christian Harder

Johnnie Walker High Rye is the drink of choice here, with the label’s deep, velvety green and the liquid’s rich gold leading the barware and styling choices. Bring those touches of warmth and texture to the area surrounding your bar to tie it all together, and don’t be afraid to think outside the box—the classic Americana vibe is all about luxurious yet attainable accessories. “You don’t have to stick to bottles or utensils on the bar,” Hadley says. “I love adding small frames, ceramic art, or even books to my bar cart and the wall behind it to break up the glass.” She also likes to keep the lighting moody. “Set the ambience for evening entertaining with low lighting,” she advises. “Everything looks better in candlelight.”

What more fitting cocktail to sip beside this stunning bar area than a Manhattan? The go-to, elevated with Johnnie Walker High Rye, is perfect for those occasions when you’re in the mood to serve something familiar but luxe.


al fresco

Christian Harder

Indoor Al Fresco

Bringing open air inside is simple with this al fresco-style bar cart. Layer natural materials like wood, wicker, and ceramic for that outdoors feeling, and be sure to incorporate plenty of plants. “A touch of greenery lives up any space,” Hadley says.

Johnnie Walker Red Label is our star here, with its iconic red and gold label and the liquid’s signature spice serving as a bold accent to the mellow greens and organic textures of our earthy bar setup. Collect accessories that tie in the label’s shining gold and vibrant red, and finish the look with fluted highball glasses and a wooden serving tray. Houseplants add a touch of green, but they’re not the only way to incorporate nature’s bounty. “Arrange fresh citrus in a bowl for a colorful pop that also makes a fresh garnish,” suggests Hadley. A small pot of herbs would be handy to have on hand, too.

al fresco

Christian Harder

For a larger gathering, Hadley likes to mix pre-batched cocktails from a pretty, antique pitcher. That way, she says, “guests can serve themselves while you mingle.” A Lemon Highball is easily made in batches ahead of time and one taste of the bright, tart drink will have guests feeling like they’re at a cocktail party in a citrus grove.


Photographers: Christian Harder; Wardrobe Stylist: Emmy Briggs; Prop Stylist: Rebecca Bartoshesky; Hair & Makeup: Julianna Grogan; Art Producer & Director: Mandi Hayes; Food Editor: Carson Lombardi

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