Move Over, Bar Carts—Here’s Why I Love The “Bar Dresser”

published Nov 12, 2019
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Credit: Liz Finn

There’s nothing not to like about a good bar cart. They come in so many beautiful styles and have so many different uses—compact bathroom storage, anyone? But lately, we’ve also become big fans of what we’re calling the “bar dresser.” Lucky for you, this setup is super simple to recreate at home, and it’s exactly what it sounds like. All you need is a dresser or credenza, a decorative tray, some bottles of booze, and a little bit of good old-fashioned styling.

The bar dresser is an excellent solution for anyone who’s short on space or looking to create a more formal bar setup at home. Best of all, it’s easy to stash entertaining accessories like cocktail napkins, coasters, and drink stirrers in the drawers below, which means everything you need to host guests is in one place. Take a look at some of the smart and stylish bar dresser setups we’re crushing on lately.

Artist Josh Young turned a traditional dresser into a darling little entertaining station using a sleek chrome tray, clear glassware, and one of his own prints to complete the look. Drawers of all sizes keep table linens, barware, and other essentials handy. Even better, all of your cocktail gear doesn’t have to match perfectly, since it’s out of sight.

With its rustic wood and retro bin pulls, the above bar dresser, which Kaitie Moyer styled, is a vintage lover’s delight. Artfully arranged bottles, a well-placed sconce, and a touch of greenery make this area feel extra welcoming. As Kaitie’s display demonstrates, even a weathered, worn piece of furniture can make a cheery statement when paired with the right accents.

Credit: Ryan Liebe

Designer Emily Henderson was ahead of the bar dresser trend when she decorated her Los Angeles living room a year ago. Instead of using a bar cart, she placed a tray of bottles and mixers on top of her sleek mid-century modern credenza. The bar area only takes up part of the piece’s tabletop, but it still is a convenient spot for guests to help themselves to a cocktail. There’s even space to put down a drink, a big advantage bar dressers have over bar carts, which tend to be smaller in scale.

This image from a Boston house tour served as the inspiration for my own bar dresser setup, which also features a woven tray and classic bottles of Hendricks gin. A mirror propped against the wall adds a sophisticated touch and also helps reflect natural light.

Credit: Liz Finn

Liz Flinn of Brass Pineapple Interiors styled this eclectic, collected bar dresser. Layered art prints and a tin full of wine corks make for instant conversation starters as guests mix drinks and mill about.