Fun or Faux Pas? Liquor Bottles on Display

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A well-stocked bar is a lovely thing to have in the house, but is it a beautiful thing to have out on display where everyone can see it? Opinion appears to be divided.

Many of my friends keep attractive vintage bar carts with a few cocktail glasses and the requisite bottle of Hendricks gin on display. The lucky ones have full bars, with plenty of liquor lined up to choose from. The benefit of this is that guests can see everything you have at once, which makes it easier to provide cocktails for people. Another benefit is that a well-stocked bar is like a set of well-stocked bookshelves: people are going to peruse your selection and decide what it says about you. Whether that’s a good thing or a bad thing is up to you, but it's possible for a determined person to turn a bar cart into an expression of one's taste and knowledge about wine and spirits.

But there are those who think the liquor bottles should be hidden away, even if you have nice ones. Not everything has to be displayed for company. (Your lingerie might be La Perla, but it probably doesn’t live in the living room.)

My parents’ liquor for the most part lives in cabinets in their bar area, but there are a few bottles out that either don’t fit on the shelves or are particularly artistic, like hand-blown bottles of grappa and ancient bottles of Poire William containing whole preserved pears. One day their decorator was walking through the house, saw the bottles on the bar, and turned and gave my mother a bit of eyebrow.

“You know, liquor bottles are not objets d’art,” she said.

The bottles still live on top of the bar, but ever since then I've found myself wondering where exactly mine should live.

Do you like to see pretty liquor bottles on display, or should they be tucked out of sight until needed?

(Image credits: Marina's NYC apartment, photographed for Apartment Therapy by Dylan Chandler)

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