DIY a Bar, the Lazy Way

Problem: You like to host casual parties a few times a year, but don't have the space in your home for a 24-7-365 bar. Solution: A temporary, DIY setup that uses a piece of furniture you already have. Here's how to nail the basic bar.

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Photo By: Brklyn View Photography LLC

Photo By: Brklyn View Photography LLC

Photo By: Brklyn View Photography LLC

Photo By: Brklyn View Photography LLC

Photo By: Brklyn View Photography LLC

Photo By: Brklyn View Photography LLC

Photo By: Brklyn View Photography LLC

Photo By: Brklyn View Photography LLC

Photo By: Brklyn View Photography LLC

Photo By: Brklyn View Photography LLC

Photo By: Brklyn View Photography LLC

Bar Today, Gone Tomorrow

Bar carts are adorable and uber-trendy, but we don't all have room for a year-round drink station. Luckily, it's easy to turn a piece of furniture you already have into a one-day bar special. Here's how. 

Find the Perfect Spot

I always have this book shelf up in my living room. It’s a nice, big piece that is filled with colorful recipe, art and travel books. No bookshelf in the living area? A nightstand, ottoman or coffee table could work just as well. 

Keep It Simple

A minimal bar with the basic mixers and garnishes is all you need for a great party. For a fully-stocked basic bar, you'll need the following spirits: Vodka, rum, tequila, gin, bourbon or whiskey, red wine and white wine.

If your budget is limited, choose one dark spirit, one clear spirit and a couple of varieties of wine. Fill in the rest as your bank account allows. 

All-Purpose Mixer

Keep it easy with one type of juice, like a fruit punch you can make by mixing together equal parts orange, pineapple, and cranberry juice. Make it pretty by serving it in a nice pitcher or a clean liquor bottle with the label removed. 

A Selection of Sodas

Sodas do double-duty as mixers and beverages for the non-drinkers among your crowd. Three kinds of soda is enough variety; here, I chose a lemon-lime fresca, ginger beer, and basic sparkling water. 

Basic Cocktail Garnishes

Keep it to the big four: olives, lemons, limes, and cherries. I did the limes in wedges and the lemons in slices for visual variety. Beautiful olives for martinis and juicy cherries finish out the available garnishes. Display the garnishes in matching bowls to create a cohesive look. 

Add a Few Personal Touches

Swizzle sticks, straws and cocktail napkins are my favorite way to give your bar cart some personality.

Change them up according what kind of party you're having: A spring brunch might call for pastel straws and blush pink napkins, while a classy evening cocktail party could feature black cocktail napkins and shiny gold garnishes.

The Right Tools for the Job

An ice bucket, the prettier the better, and a basic cocktail shaker give guests the tools to mix up a frosty beverage. 

Mismatched Barware? No Worries

Don’t worry if you only own mismatched glasses because that will bring a homemade, warm, look to your bar. I like to offer three to four types of glasses: martini, wine, and rocks are the basics. Any other glasses you have will work will too, as long as they fit on the shelf.

Keep Everything Within Reach

Keep your barware, garnishes and mixers within reach of one another so guests can easily create their own sips.  Be sure to leave a spot on the top of or next to the cart where guests can work on cocktails. 

Cheers to Your Next Party!

I'll drink to that.