Arielle and Archer Holley and Elayne at the Chattanooga Choo Choo


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Style Inspiration:  Bar Cart Styling for a Classy New Year's Gathering

Style Inspiration: Bar Cart Styling for a Classy New Year's Gathering

A Step by Step Style Guide for Styling your New Year's Bar Cart

Nothing can make a New Year's gathering more festive than a well-styled bar cart with all the accouterments your guest's might need to whip themselves up a cocktail or grab a little snack. Since I live in a smaller space, I used my tray table and two totally different pieces of art; one an oil painting, to create an Elegant Low Country feel and the other, a fun piece of Mad Men-esque Graphic Art.

Bar Cart Art Created by Arielle and Archer Just a Little Old Fashioned

Art is an amazing catalyst to spur your imagination and can add a beautiful pop of color or set a refined tone. There is not a secret formula for creating a beautifully designed display, but there are a few basic ideas that I would love to share with you here.   


In my styling, I used a tray table, but I can't sing the praises of using a tray enough.  If you have a rolling bar cart, a tray can easily coral items and keep your styling cohesive and beautiful.  If you have a rectangular bar car, an opposing shape, such as round tray looks great and if you have an oval-shaped cart, a rectangular tray gives you a contrast in shape and keeps things interesting.


I admit that I am a crystal decanter lover and I cannot lie! Waterford is my crystal of choice, and nothing shines quite like it.  There are many available at great places like Home Goods that are cut glass and look equally beautiful.  I saw some there the other day for less than ten dollars each!  Add a couple of these to your bar cart in various shapes and sizes and it will look stunning.  If you can find them, decanter tags made of silver or pewter add an extra special touch.

Crystal Decanters add a lovely sparkle

Beautiful Liquor Bottles

I love, love, love beautiful bottles and there are so many on the market that you could spend a King's ransom on liquor bottles alone (not necessarily for the content, but just the bottle)! I'll share a few of my favorites here:  1) Blanton's Gold Edition Bourbon has four distinctly different racehorses on top, and being a Southern Girl, this one always speaks to me. 2) Chambord's Black Raspberry Liqueur has a stately red bottle with a gold crown on top, stunning.  3) St. Germain's Elderberry Liqueur comes in a beautiful Art Deco-style bottle that is lovely! 4) Blag Fig Vodka's bottle is classic and will add an elegant touch to your collection. My favorites list could go on and on, there are truly endless options for any style.

Waterford Crystal Rocks Glass with Bourbon Cherry Ginger Fizz Cocktail

Gorgeous Glassware

I have a number of weaknesses and pretty glassware is way up there on the top of the list. I have my Grandmother's crystal, which is beautifully etched and delicate.  I have the Waterford crystal that is featured in this style story, and many more.  It is always difficult to choose because they are all so lovely.  Much of what I have has been either passed down or bought at antique shops or online.  And if vintage is not your cup of tea, then there are many beautiful options available in your local shops or online.  Williams-Sonoma and Pottery Barn have a wide selection that is sure to fit most any need.

Bar Cart Munchies, Sparkly Cocktail Picks, Honey Stir Sticks and a Mint Julep cup with White Roses

Ice Bucket with Scoop or Tongs

A bar wouldn't be a bar without a beautiful container of ice on display.  Ice buckets come in every shape, size and color imaginable and can be found at every price point.  From Sterling Silver to colored acrylic, they are all beautiful and genuinely a must have! I chose a cute pineapple by Tommy Bahama for this year's bar cart.  I wanted a classic Southern symbol and it works nicely with most any glassware and can be easily dressed up or down!

Tommy Bahama Pineapple Ice Bucket, Crystal Decanters, Original Oil Painting with Palms and Marsh


A piece of artwork will give your bar cart some visual height and allows you to pull in any accent color to set off your styling.  I created a set of three graphic art prints that you can download below if you like.  They are, as I mentioned previously, Man Men-esque, in a classic kind of way.  I hope you enjoy them!  I included a beautiful Low Country inspired oil painting in my styling of the bar tray this year as well, for a bit of Southern charm.  Choose whatever makes you happy and fits with your theme.  It will be beautiful!

White Roses in a Mint Julep Cup, Gourmet Olives, Wine Dipper Bread Straws

A Living Thing

Whether they be fresh or faux, a beautiful flower arrangement will give an air of life to your bar top.  If you aren't a fan of flowers, choose a plant or a bowl of fresh fruit.  It adds a "breathing" element and most often, an additional color to play with.  For my floral in the styling this year, I chose a simple Mint Julep cup with white roses.  

A Few other Thoughts

Try varying heights to create visual interest.  I used a footed cake pedestal and a small footed plate to give the goodies a place to land that is visually appealing.  The pineapple ice bucket proved to be just the right height to even things out and the honey stir sticks and sparkly drink picks added some interest as well.  

A Mixture of Garnish and Snack Containers, Candied Ginger, Cake Plate, Footed Plate, Spiced Pecans, Cocktail Spoons

I like an eclectic mix of containers and bowls, all in the theme of crystal and silver.  I'm not a very matchy, matchy kind of girl, so I like a collected look.  I used an odd Julep cup, a crystal rocks glass, a mercury glass highball and an old crystal creamer to hold my garnishes and munchies. Go shopping in your cabinets and I'm sure you will find the perfect mixture of items!

Add a few coasters, napkins and your favorite stir sticks, cocktail forks and spoons. There really is no right or wrong answer, fill up your holiday bar cart with whatever makes you smile!  Stay tuned this week for the recipe for my Bourbon Cherry Ginger Fizz and a traditional Southern New Year's day dish!

I hope you have enjoyed this post on bar cart and tray styling!  Do you have any great tips and tricks for styling a gorgeous bar cart?  Please share them with me below in the comments.

Until next time...Godspeed!

Bar Cart Styling and Ideas for a Classy New Year's Eve Celebration
Food & Drink:  Bourbon Cherry Ginger Fizz Cocktail for a New Year's Eve Celebration

Food & Drink: Bourbon Cherry Ginger Fizz Cocktail for a New Year's Eve Celebration

Celebrate:  A Gracious Southern Home on Lake Chickamauga

Celebrate: A Gracious Southern Home on Lake Chickamauga