Monday, April 30, 2012

Mad Men Inspired Bar Tray

Being the only male in a home with three ladies isn't always easy.  The house tends to be taken over by lots of pink, flowers, and craft projects.  Ross is a good sport when it comes to all this, but for his birthday a couple weeks ago I wanted to surprise him with his own manly corner - a well-stocked bar tray for his favorite scotches, Mad Men style.

Quite awhile ago, I had tested the idea with him of carving out space on our dining buffet for a bar tray.  Until now, it has served as my (very girly) plant table.  Let's just say he showed a great deal more interest in that suggestion than any other home decor idea I've floated by him in the past. ;)  However, we'd both kind of forgotten about the idea, until his birthday came around and I had this set up for him when he finished work for the day:

Retro / vintage bar

The bar tray came together after I had some fun searching on Etsy for some retro barware.  I wanted to go with a primarily gold theme to match the gold tray I already had and blend well into our living room decor.  I found these 60's harlequin diamond rocks glasses:

60s harlequin diamond cocktail glasses

This set of six vintage gold plated bar tools:

Vintage barware coat of arms

And some old brass varnished mint julep cups:

Brass varnished mint julep cups

I played around with what to put on the bar tray and how to lay it all out to get the right look.   There is something about a bar tray or cart that adds a welcoming touch to a room when coming home from a long day at work or entertaining guests.  However, I think there is a delicate balance to making it look chic vs. alcohol overload / college frat house.  For what it's worth, here are a few tips for setting up your own bar tray:

Home bar essentials


Tip #1: Just select a few of you favorite (prettiest!) bottles to put out on display.  Luckily all of Ross's scotches come in pretty cool bottles.  Maybe store the giant bottle of Bacardi elsewhere. ;) We have extra storage in the buffet underneath the bar tray:

Retro / vintage bar

Tip #2: Set out a couple of colorful swizzle sticks.  They are a fun addition to a cocktail, and add a pop of color to the bar tray. I found these at Target for just a couple bucks and put them in one of the mint julep cups:

Retro / vintage bar

Tip #3: Invest in some nice barware tools and have some on display.  Some of the essential pieces include: jigger, strainer, bottle opener, corkscrew, muddler, and bar spoon:

Retro bar tools

Tip #4: Incorporate different containers, like this decanter or a fun cocktail shaker, to add interest:

Vintage / retro bar tray

Tip #5: If you have the space (and no toddlers at home!), why not go all out and get a retro bar cart. I have seen versions along these lines at Salvation Army and on Craiglist for around $50.

Source: Design Sponge
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