Weekend Project

Build Your Bar Cart

The ultimate home bar cart DIY project.

A rubber bar mat is a pro move to bring to your bar cart. It holds in spills and makes the perfect resting spot for wet or sticky tools. $35 by Izola

Upgrading your cocktail game is one thing. But stepping up your bartending game? That requires stocking the right bottles at home. Now, what you stock depends entirely on what you and your guests drink. But we do have some thoughts on where you should put said bottles. And, in case you were wondering, on top of the fridge is not a viable place for a grown man to store his booze. A bar cart is a legendary addition to any bachelor pad (or even a den of domestic bliss). The classic looking cart can be tucked into the corner of a room and it not only keeps all of your booze, tools and glasses organized, but it adds a dash of rakish charm to the interior design of your place. And makes one hell of a conversation piece for visitors as well. While most can be pretty pricey, there are ways to keep the cost down if you're willing to put in a little work. So we're presenting you with a weekend challenge: Build yourself the perfect bar bart to suit the style of your home, then stock with your favorite alcohol and vital accessories.

Affordable Bar Cart Ideas

Vintage bar cart

The Vintage Option

Interior designer Leah Harmatz of Field Theory unearthed a dusty, beat-up bar cart at a flea market and immediately saw the potential. She unscrewed the trays and spray painted them black for a cleaner, more modern look. She then polished up the brass (Bar Keepers Friend works wonders) and put it all back together.

DIY bar cart

The DIY Option

If you like that rugged industrial loft style, Ben Uyeda, founder of HomeMadeModern, offers a simple and straightforward video guide on how to make your own bart car using oak boards and iron pipes, all of which you'll be able to purchase form your local hardware store. Most will even cut the boards to your exact measurements, if you don't happen to have your own power miter saw.

Steel tool cart bar cart

The Hardware Store Option

Bartender and contributor to Valet., Luke Andrews, assembled his bar cart from a steel tool cart he found at Harbor Freight Tools for just $38. "It's mobile if it has to be, but it mostly just sits there and holds the bottles that get used the most ... and my old trumpet," he says. "I try to keep flowers on it during the day and a candle at night."

The Non-Booze Essentials

Ikea Faux Crystal Glasses

Faux Crystal Glasses

These old fashioned glasses have a generous shape and a weighty feel, which makes them pleasant to hold. Plus, the facets give them a cool crystal look for an unbelievable price.

$2.99 at Ikea

Cocktail Kingdom Classic Jigger

A Classic Jigger

An essential tool for any cocktail mixer, this brushed stainless steel version has all the charm of one passed down from your grandfather.

$8 by Cocktail Kingdom

Jack Rudy Cocktail Co. Garnishes

Proper Garnishes

Don't settle for the run-of-the-mill garnishes procured at the grocery store when you can step up your game with California olives brined in flavorful Vermouth and Oregon cherries steeped in Kentucky bourbon.

$32 / $28 by Jack Rudy Cocktail Co.

Mixologist Mixing Glass

Mixing Glass

When paired with a long, swirled teardrop bar spoon, this large, diamond cut mixing glass makes for a fool-proof cocktail making kit. Plus, it looks great sitting atop your bar cart.

$13.99 by Mixologist

Swissmar Hawthorne Strainer

Hawthorne Strainer

When you want to keep ice and other roughage out of your drinks, you need to strain them after mixing them. This simple Hawthorne stainer is durable and fits most shakers and glasses alike.

$10.32 by Swissmar

Franmara Wine and Bottle Opener

Wine & Bottle Opener

Bar carts double as work stations, so make sure you're stocked with the right tools for the job, namely opening bottles. This handsome winery style opener has a sturdy corkscrew and a durable rosewood handle.

$8.33 by Franmara

Dundry Hill Merino Wool Coasters


Coasters are one of those home accessories that sound boring until you realize just how many incredibly cool options are out there. Like these hexagonal coasters cut from soft, quiet and absorbent merino wool.

$18 by Dundry Hill

Root 23 Simple Syrups

Simple Syrups

You could infuse your own simple syrups, but that's another weekend project. For now, try these delicious small-batch syrups made from pure botanicals and natural extracts.

$30 (for four) by Root 23


Bar carts evolved from the tea trolleys of the Victorian era and took off in America during the 1950s (until the '70s when built-in wet bars started showing up.)