The essentials: 20 of the best cocktail carts

The bar cart is a multifunctional support that is great for storing both food and accessories. In some cases, it is a piece of furniture with a clear alcoholic vocation, as well as an accomplice to a specific gesture and an out-and-out domestic ritual.

As well as being a multifunctional piece of furniture, the bar cart is also and above all an object of tradition. The first versions of the wheeled bar cart were created between the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, and became an ancillary item for the new culture of aperitifs and wine drinking, thus contributing to institutionalising and democratising this new way of enjoying a break at home.

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It was modernism, and its experiments with curved tubes - and perhaps also its appreciation of sociality, such as the one that Bauhaus had always cultivated and infused into their objects - that kick-started a season of bar carts in which handles and wheels, which were often the sublimation of the industrial world, made it possible to easily grasp and move furniture around according to the occasion. 

In 1930, Alvar Aalto wrote that “movable and foldable furniture enlarge a limited dwelling”, and the bar cart seems to be no exception. Some models made it very difficult to define the dividing line between a food trolley and a simple display cabinet. Others, on the other hand, made their functional specialisation undeniable, thanks above all to the fact that they protected the most important element to be stored, that is, the bottle, and that they ancillarised another essential item: the glass. 

In recent years, many historic models have been reissued and included in the catalogues of major furniture brands. This newly rediscovered interest suggests that the bar cart is rediscovering its qualities in order to embody the new zeitgeist: mobility, versatility, and above all an increasingly domestic intimacy that invites us to take a break and, why not, enjoy ourselves.

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