Design 101: It’s Five O’clock Somewhere…

Making Entertaining Easier

“What can I do to make entertaining more convenient?  When should I start decorating for the holidays?” Interior designers deal with these and many other questions every day. This month’s column focuses on a simple option to make entertaining easier.

Is there something I can do to make having company over for the evening simpler?
Absolutely. One stylish option is to get and stock a bar cart. These space saving devices are significantly less expensive than putting in a full bar (especially a wet one) and being mobile can be brought out when needed and then put away. They are available in numerous styles and finishes, so coordinating with your decor is usually no problem.
Pro Tip: If you are concerned that your floor is not entirely even, look for a model with two wheels. This way when you stop moving the cart it shouldn’t continue to roll.

What if I am not a drinker?
Assuming that your guests are also not drinkers, there are numerous non-alcoholic libations that can be brought out on the cart as well.  There are fantastic and elaborate drinks that can be made with no alcohol at all under the heading “mock-tails.” These are normally served in the same glassware and use the same tools as any well stocked bar, so you’ll definitely want to have them on hand.
Pro Tip: A beautiful tea service is another option, and a good chance to show off heirloom pieces that otherwise might sit in storage.

What else is needed for a well-stocked bar cart?
It is important to remember a towel (often draped over the handle) in the event of condensation or accidents, an ice bucket, cocktail napkins, an assortment of the appropriate stemware and glasses, optionally a tray to present the items…and the often forgotten bottle opening device. For most of us it is a bottle opener and corkscrew, but we have seen sabers and other less conventional options.
Pro Tip: A silver champagne chiller is not only a functional item in this regard, but it makes a beautiful centerpiece when filled with greenery. Several of the local estate and second hand establishments have them in from time to time at extremely reasonable prices.

What about if I want something for the whole family?
While normally we don’t recommend anything involving fire “for the whole family,” we are going to make an exception.  There are personal sized indoor approved tabletop fire bowls. Grab a handful of bamboo skewers and marshmallows and when you wheel out the cart prepare for squeals of delight.  Mini s’mores made on an easy to clean tray is a sure winner, and vegan marshmallows work just as well if that means that everyone can participate.
Pro Tip: There are units that not only don’t smoke, but have built in tip sensors that automatically douse the flame in the event of an overly exuberant response.  And…you can operate them with your smartphone.

I like the concept, but I need more space than a cart.  What can I do?
In this case, we recommend getting a bar cabinet. Often mounted on taller legs to raise it to counter height, a bar cabinet is simply a larger immobile version of the bar cart.  Traditionally mirrored and often internally lit it houses all the tools, decanters, and assorted accoutrement that are needed to prepare your preferred potation.
Pro Tip:  If you purchase a bar cabinet, opt for “white-glove” delivery. This way it will be brought into your residence and set up for you.  Let someone else deal with the lifting and liability. You’ll thank us later.

Yaron Linett
About Yaron Linett 37 Articles
Yaron Linett is the principal designer of Formal Traditional, a full-service design firm located in Warrenton. To submit your interior design questions, drop him a note at or visit

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