Last week the folks at Chairish asked me to participate in their October Blogger Challenge. I tried to play it cool but it took me all of one half nano second to say, “YUH-HUH!”

This month’s Blogger Challenge is all about bar carts (heyo!). So my super-fun homework was to choose one of Chairish’s vintage bar carts and style it up with the hotness.

modern memphis group bar cart styling essentials

1/ Ice Bucket 2/ Kosta Boda Decanter 3/ Bottle Opener 4/ Striped Leaf Bowl 5/ MCM Vase
6/ Smokey Gray Cocktail Glasses 7/ Chrome Bar Cart 8/ Corkscrew 9/ Cocktail Shaker
10/ Lucite Tray 11/ Bar Cloth 12/ Cocktail Napkins 13/ Cocktail Jiggers 14/ Lemon Juicer
15/ Brutalist Sculpture 16/ Framed Art 17/ Modern Decanter 18/ Celery Platter 19/ Wine Charms

Chairish is my joint. They’re an online marketplace for vintage and gently used furniture and they have it all figured out. As a buyer, I prefer shopping Chairish because the price point is reasonable and there is an option to ‘Make an Offer’ on any piece. Their inventory has been vetted by a staff of stylists and interiors experts so you can cut right to the good stuff. As a seller, I love Chairish for listing large pieces of furniture because they take care of the shipping. GENIUS. YAS. THANK YOU.

Because Halloween is in full effect I’m feeling inspired by the set design of Tim Burton’s Beetlejuice. Lately I’m also really feeling the comeback trend of the Milan-based Memphis Group  movement of the 1980’s. My style concept is a mashup of the two – here’s a visual of my inspiration in case that sounds like snooty design jibberish to you:

beetlejuice memphis modern inspiration board bar cart styling raised by design

Beetlejuice /// Ashley Hastings /// Shape Up Lighting by Ladies and Gentlemen Studio – Photo by Charlie Shuck via Yellowtrace /// Ettore Sottsass Jr’s Carlton Shelf

How to Stock a Killer Bar Cart for your Next Event:

Having tended bar for most of my twenties, I know a thing or two about whipping up some dranks. Now that I’m hosting parties and holidays in my home, I’ve learned that setting up a well stocked bar cart for guests to help themselves is the best trick to hosting a great party. Nobody likes to play conversational double dutch and wait for their opening to ask for another Manhattan.

Here’s a checklist of everything you need for a fully stocked bar cart. Just add booze and you’ll be wowing guests with your artisanal mixologist skillz in no time.

stocking your bar cart essentials checklist

Pick the Right Spot: If you don’t have a bar cart, you should head over to Chairish and get one! If you’re waiting for that perfect piece, you can set up a bar on almost any tabletop, bookcase or sideboard in the meantime. The best location for the cart is in a transitional space like a large entryway or off to the side in your main gathering space. You want it to be easy for guests to spot so pick a place that people will walk by often. Folks will probably linger there, so if you can give it some breathing room even better. Word to the wise: definitely keep it out of the kitchen! There’s enough going on in there and you want to give people an excuse to hang elsewhere.

Simplify your Drink Menu: I like to choose a seasonal cocktail (spiced whiskey in fall, citrus-y vodka fizzes in summer…) and make a large batch ahead of time. Pour it into a pretty pitcher, punch bowl or beverage dispenser. Offer garnishes in small bowls and write the name of your drink on a place card. This way people can pour their own and you don’t have to fiddle with all of the complicated (and sticky!) steps on demand. To keep things simple I always offer beer in a large bucket with ice and wine in a carafe or wine cooler alongside. Don’t forget a small bowl for bottle caps next to your opener and a bin for empties.

Jeuge the Presentation: Have a little fun and infuse some personality into your setup by choosing vintage glassware, bold flowers in an interesting vase, framed art or something sculptural. If you don’t have good lighting in the space, pull a lamp over or light a votive candle to warm the space.

Over time, you’ll build a collection of beautiful barware and tools and a shelf of quality display-worthy spirits. Next thing you know, you’ll be throwing parties just to try out that new cocktail recipe!

BTW: Although Chairish did approach me to write this post, it is not a paid sponsorship and all recommendations and opinions are my own. 

2 Comments on Bar Cart Essentials /// Chairish October Blogger Challenge

  1. dede
    10/15/2015 at 8:06 PM (2 years ago)

    Love your ideas! You’re like one of three people I know that is all over the Memphis Group. I was so into it at the time… I even named a cat Memphis. I’m sending you a little present that is original Memphis. Love ya, kid. d

    • Maggie Natarelli
      10/16/2015 at 10:52 AM (2 years ago)

      That’s what I’m SAYING!! Isn’t it crazy how everything (even the stuff you thought was gone for good) comes back around? This is why I called this blog Raised by Design in the first place…you all paved the way for us, and your parents before you.

      Memphis totally reminds me of you! …And the eighties, and my warm and fuzzy childhood in Chicago. Can’t WAIT to receive a fun package! You are lo maximo. Miss you much! Love you! xoxo


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